7 Low-Carb Vegetables for a Diabetes Diet
All vegetables are nutritional superstars—with essential vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals—but these seasonal picks can also help keep your blood sugar in line.
Whether or not you savor the flavor of broccoli, this vegetable is a nutritional powerhouse and a top cancer-fighting food, according to New York-based dietitian Martha McKittrick, who specializes in nutrition for diabetes patients. Of all the veggies, broccoli boasts the highest amount of the compound sulforaphane, which boosts the body’s enzymes and helps eradicate harmful, potentially carcinogenic chemicals. If you can’t stomach the taste, consider other cruciferous vegetables, including cauliflower, cabbage, and kale. Check out the tricks for making these superfoods even healthier!
Brussels sprouts are chock-full of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects against free radical damage, and vitamin B1, which helps with digestion.
Not only do cucumbers add a tasty freshness to drinking water, but they’re also 96 percent water themselves, so they can help you stay hydrated. They’re also less caloric than pretty much any other food, while still supplying antioxidants that fight free radicals and protect against chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. Since cucumbers also provide potassium, they may help lower blood pressure, too. These other healthy foods can also help lower high blood pressure.
It’s a good idea to eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies daily, as each color offers unique nutritional benefits. Red and orange veggies in particular provide a lot of vitamin C, which aids the immune system and facilitates iron absorption, according to McKittrick. In fact, red peppers deliver over twice the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, in addition to being a good source of vitamin B6, folate, vitamin A, and antioxidants. As cold and flu season revs up, consider eating more of these other vitamin C-rich foods, which also happen to be natural fat burners.
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Technically a fungus and not a veggie, white mushrooms deliver copper and phosphorus for strong bones, vitamins B2 and B5 for digestion, plus antioxidants for fighting free radical damage throughout the body.
Chicago-based dietitian Judy Manisco recommends spinach as a go-to low-glycemic vegetable for her patients with type 2 diabetes, as the dark leafy green is very low in carbs and very rich in folate, iron, and vitamins. Using spinach as the base of your salad or green breakfast smoothie may help your body with everything from oxygen circulation to tissue replacement or repair. And don’t forget that spinach can help you see better, too, as its dark green color conveys its high levels of chlorophyll, a phytochemical that fights macular degeneration and cataracts. These vitamin-packed recipes will boost your eye health and protect against macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss among older adults.
Leafy Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Like spinach, its relative, Swiss chard delivers heaps of vitamins A, B and K, calcium and iron, and even has a slightly higher vitamin C content than spinach. So while either leafy green is an excellent choice, reach for chard at times when your immune system could use a boost. Check out the 15 best superfoods for diabetics, and start lowering blood sugar, burning fat, and reducing inflammation today.