Chocolate lovers, take note: A review of studies published in 2017 in the Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives found that cocoa may help prevent type 2 diabetes (T2D) and improve insulin resistance. It may also help stave off cardiovascular complications in people with diabetes.
Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, and research shows that these nutrients reduce insulin resistance, improve insulin sensitivity, drop insulin levels and fasting blood glucose, and blunt cravings. One caveat: most cocoa products or chocolates on the supermarket shelf contain low amount of flavanols and are rich in sugar and calories that may aggravate glycemic control in T2D patients, according to a study published in 2017 in the journal Antioxidants.
Broccoli is an anti-diabetes superhero. As with other cruciferous veggies like kale and cauliflower, this diabetes-friendly food contains a compound called sulforaphane, which triggers several anti-inflammatory processes that improve blood sugar control and protect blood vessels from the cardiovascular damage that’s often a consequence of diabetes. (Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for people with diabetes, so this protection could be a lifesaver.) Sulforaphane also helps flip on the body’s natural detox mechanisms, coaxing enzymes to turn dangerous cancer-causing chemicals into more innocent forms that the body can easily release. Not a broccoli lover? “Prepare until al dente—cooked through, yet still firm—and add to a stir-fry of ingredients you enjoy, like chicken, bell pepper, and peanuts,” says Jackie Newgent, RDN, a registered dietitian, chef, and the author of The Clean and Simple Diabetes Cookbook. “If raw, consider serving with a dip, like hummus.” And if that’s not enough to have you crunching on the super veggie, here’s why all type 2 diabetics should be eating more of it.