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What are the Best Foods for Diabetics to Eat (Part 1)?

If you are a diabetic, you may already know that high blood sugar levels cause destructive changes in your body leading to various serious medical conditions.  A few of these are plaque in the arteries and heart disease, as well as damage to the eyes, nerves and kidneys.  Eating a variety of extra nutritious foods can help prevent and sometimes even reverse the destructive effects of high blood glucose spikes.

This list of the best foods for diabetics includes some of the healthiest foods anyone can eat based on recent scientific research (as of 2012).  Many doctors and medical authorities recommend these foods to everyone for health and longevity.  If you want a real health building diet, include all of these foods regularly in your meals.  Several people I know have tried this and found that their health improved and they felt better than they had in years!

So here are the best foods for diabetics to eat: 

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables – What made Popeye so healthy?  Why do they always tell you to eat your spinach?  Maybe it’s because spinach, along with chard, bok choy, beet greens, watercress, mustard greens, kale, romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, cilantro, parsley and collards are very high in nutrition and very low in carbohydrates and calories.  Eat as much as you want, in at least one meal daily. 

Raw Veggies/Salads – Some medical authorities recommend a raw diet for diabetes.  Raw foods are generally lower glycemic because the fiber in them helps to moderate blood sugar increases.  Not only that, raw food is higher in nutrients than cooked food.  Boiling your vegetables can decrease nutritional value by as much as 70%.  Even steaming food for 5 minutes reduces nutrients by 40%.  So, raw foods can be a very healthy alternative compared to those that are cooked.  But even if you’re not ready to “go raw”, eating lots of raw fruits, vegetables and nuts every day is a very good idea, whether you’re diabetic or not.   

Here is a list of some good vegetables to eat raw in salads or with dips (note - if you're diabetic, avoid carbs in salad dressings):  dark green lettuce (romaine, red), bean sprouts, spinach, baby greens, cucumber, celery, bell pepper, carrot, beet, arugula, turnip, shredded red or green cabbage, green or red onions, garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms, parsley, cilantro, jicama, jerusalem artichokes and watercress.  For salad dressing, use lemon juice or vinegar with a little olive oil and herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, onion powder, garlic, shallots, tarragon).  Add a few fruits such as chopped apples, blueberries, orange or tangerine segments or pomegranate seeds.

Walnuts and other nuts – Have you been reading about how healthy raw nuts (note:  baked or cooked nuts have lost a lot of their nutritional value) are for you?  It seems a new article touting nuts as health food comes out every few months.  Nuts have high nutrient and antioxidant levels.  Walnuts, the one type of nut that contains omega-3 fatty acids, are considered the most nutrient rich nut of all.  Hazelnuts come in a close second, but do not have omega-3’s.  Nuts do have more fat than many other foods, so moderation is recommended (a small handful per day is good).

Oatmeal – One of the healthiest grains outside of barley is oatmeal.  Interestingly, it is also one of the few grains that helps to feed your intestinal bacteria (which produce vitamins for your body).  Oat bran, which cooks much more quickly than regular oatmeal and tastes great (not gluey), is another alternative for this cholesterol lowering food.  The flavor of oat bran, which is similar to cream of wheat, is preferred by many people over regular steel cut oats.  If you use regular oatmeal, choose the longer cooking whole oats, rather than quick or instant ones, which have less fiber and other beneficial elements.  To add additional fiber to your oatmeal, add one or two tablespoons of wheat bran while cooking plus stir in some ground flax seed at the end.

Omega 3 fatty acids – The one essential fat that most Americans do not get enough of is Omega-3’s.  We get plenty of saturated fat and cholesterol from animal products and omega-6 and omega-9 from most vegetable oils, but omega-3’s in the US diet are rare.  Since they are critical for health, especially for the brain, it’s necessary to go looking for sources of these important fatty acids.  They are only found in a few foods, such as fatty fish (salmon (wild), sardines, mackerel, herring), flax seeds, omega-3 eggs, walnuts and a few other foods. 

You can add more omega-3’s to your diet by using ground flax seeds (best if not cooked).  If you decide to use ground flax seeds, be sure to keep them refrigerated or in the freezer as they oxidize quickly.  Fish is a good choice, but make sure that the salmon you buy is “wild caught”, not farmed.  Farmed salmon are fed food coloring instead of nutrition rich krill and they are often fed antibiotics as well.  When cooking your fish, be sure to cook at low temperatures (sautéing or poaching).  Frying foods creates carcinogenic chemicals and partially destroys the important fatty acids.
What are the Best Foods for Diabetics to Eat (Part 2)?


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