DIABETES symptoms can be controlled with the help of a healthy, balanced diet according to Diabetes UK. However there are certain foods which can particularly help with blood glucose.
Yesterday it was revealed that a daily glass of broccoli juice could help lower blood sugar and even prevent the condition.
Additionally, early in the week another study recommended a plant-based diet to control symptoms and promote weight loss.
To coincide with Diabetes Week, here are a number of other diabetic ‘superfoods’ that could also help.
Dr Sarah Brewer, a GP and medical nutritionist for Healthspan, explains which other foods work to stabilise blood glucose levels.
She recommends eating three to five of them every day.
“Eat a handful of nuts and seeds every day – they contain monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids that help to improve insulin levels and glucose control.
“This may help to protect against heart attack and stroke – for which people with diabetes have an increased risk.”
“Dark chocolate has been shown to decrease insulin resistance – when cells of the body don’t respond properly to the hormone insulin, and the driving factor that leads to type 2 diabetes.
“Chocolate with higher amounts of cocoa solids – meaning dark chocolate – is best, as the sugar and fat content will often be lower as a result.
“Cocoa extracts can significantly lower not only glucose levels but blood pressure, too. This is because they contain chemicals called flavanols, which are thought to widen blood vessels, causing a drop in blood pressure.
“For most people with diabetes, chocolate is best restricted to a few squares to prevent too much of an increase in sugar levels.”
“The fruit provides as much as 80 per cent of its energy content in the form of oils, of which most are beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids.
“Replacing some of the carbohydrate in your diet with monounsaturated fat can significantly improve your glucose control and lower your ‘bad’ LDL-cholesterol to lower your risk of diabetic complications such as heart disease and stroke.
“ They contain substances that promote secretion of insulin from cells – helping to improve diabetes control. Just one gram per day can improve blood glucose levels by 10 per cent in people with type 2 diabetes. A great way to eat it is to sprinkle it onto porridge.”
“These are a better option than white potatoes for people with diabetes. Reducing your intake of excess, rapidly-digested (high glycemic index) carbohydrates – such as regular potatoes and white bread – can improve insulin sensitivity
“Sweet potatoes are also high in fibre – and a high-fibre diet slows absorption of dietary carbohydrates and cholesterol to improve glucose control and blood cholesterol balance.
“Wine – especially red wine – is a rich source of antioxidants, such as resveratrol. This can improve insulin resistance and decrease high insulin levels in type 2 diabetics.
“Not only that, wine is the only alcoholic drink for which moderate intake has been shown to protect against development of type 2 diabetes rather than increasing the risk.
“A daily intake of 150ml can lower your risk of coronary heart disease by 33 per cent. But beware – more than this reduces the benefits.
“Resveratrol can also improve poor kidney function – another complication of diabetes – by neutralising the effects of oxidative stress.
“Tea – especially green and white tea – contains antioxidants that increase insulin sensitivity.
“A study involving 38,000 women found that those drinking four or more cups of tea per day were 27 per cent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those drinking none.”
Spinach and kale
“Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, help to protect against age-related macular degeneration – a common cause of reduced vision in people with diabetes.
“Cabbage, beans and some tubers such as Jerusalem artichoke contain substances that lower glucose levels, making them particularly beneficial for people with diabetes.”
“Many food supplements can also improve blood glucose control and reduce your risk of diabetic circulatory, eye, kidney and nervous system complications in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
“For example, chromium (found in Brewer’s yeast, egg yolk, red meat, cheese, fruit, wholegrains, vegetables, black pepper) or in a 200mcg Healthspan Chromium supplement may help to improve insulin resistance in your muscle cells.
“Magnesium (found in seafood, meat, eggs, dairy products, wholegrains, pulses, nuts, green leafy vegetables) or a 300mg supplement may also help with the side-effects of diabetes.”