If you’re dealing with a diabetes diagnosis, you’re probably wondering if you can turn back time. The good news is regular exercise and a healthy diet have been shown to reverse the effects. But there are certain foods that should be a part of all of your diabetic recipes.
The most recent studies show a link between lifestyle changes and a reversal in the effects of diabetes. This means some people are able to get off of their diabetic medications. They do it by committing to a lifelong exercise and diet plan.
So, if you’d like to get more diabetic-friendly dishes on your personal menu, be sure to include these foods in all of your diabetic recipes.
Diabetic Recipe Ingredient: Beans
Beans are high in fiber. Fiber provides health benefits like:
- Helps you feel full, longer
- Steadies blood sugar
- Lowers cholesterol
Beans are also low in saturated fat, and a good source of calcium and protein. In fact, a recent study found getting your protein from beans instead of red meat may also be good for the environment.
Beans are a great diabetic recipe ingredient in salads, soups and chili. And with so many to pick from, you could conceivably have beans everyday for a week and not eat the same kind twice. Navy beans, garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas) and black beans are just a few examples.
Diabetic Recipe Ingredient: Lentils
Consider lentils a cousin of beans. They’re small, round, lens-shaped and come in many colors. One cup of lentils can get you around 16 grams of fiber, so you will want to work them into as many diabetic recipes you can find. They also provide protein and are full of folate. Studies link folate to a reduction in cardiovascular risk among people with Type 2 diabetes.
You can get lentils into your diet by adding them to soups and pastas.
Diabetic Recipe Ingredient: Barley
Another great diabetic recipe ingredients is barley. That’s because it is also adds fiber to your diet, which improves digestion and helps to control your blood sugar levels, but it is rich in a specific kind of soluble fiber called beta-glucan.
The grain comes in two forms—pearl and hulled. Hulled is the more nutritious option, but requires a longer cook time. You can boil it and eat it like you would oatmeal. Or try incorporating barley into your salads, soups, and stews.
Diabetic Recipe Ingredient: Oats
Oats are a great addition to any diabetic recipe because just one cup of instant oats provides 8 grams of fiber. Oats provide some of the same health benefits as barley. They’ve also been shown to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and improve insulin resistance.
The easiest way to eat oats is to boil them and eat them from your cereal bowl (oatmeal). You can also sneak oats into all kinds of diabetic recipes from pancakes to porridge.
Diabetic Recipe Ingredient: Berries
Berries are loaded with fiber and antioxidants called polyphenols, which makes them a great diabetic recipe ingredient. Not only do polyphenols decrease your risk for heart disease, but they also provide a boost in "good" HDL cholesterol.
You can stir berries into oatmeal, salads, or enjoy them by the handful.
Diabetic Recipe Ingredient: Greens
Lettuce probably tops your list, but don’t stop there. There are many options like:
- Beet greens
All are outstanding sources of fiber and folate. A folate deficiency can contribute to anemia, which develops when blood does not have enough healthy red blood cells.
You can use greens in many diabetic recipes from entrées, to sandwiches and salads.
Diabetic Recipe Ingredient: Flaxseed
Flaxseed is tiny, but can be easily added to diabetic recipes like:
- Cottage Cheese
- Fruit Smoothies
Flaxseed lowers your risk for heart disease and bad cholesterol and helps control your blood sugar because of its high-fiber content.
Being diagnosed with diabetes is not a death sentence. Making simple lifestyle changes can help to save your life. Exercise plays a role, but a menu full of diabetic-friendly recipes will go a long way to helping you live a much healthier lifestyle.
If you’d like more information on living with diabetes and diabetic recipes, download our free diabetes guide.