Each year, the month of June hosts Diabetes Week (11-17 June), an event aimed at raising awareness of this lifelong condition. Almost 3.7 million people in the UK have been diagnosed with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable with the right diet and regular exercise, accounts for as much as 90 percent of these diagnosed cases. If we don’t begin adopting a healthier lifestyle soon, this number could rise to 5 million by the end of 2025.
To mark Diabetes Week 2018, we have compiled a list of our top 6 superfoods for preventing and fighting diabetes. Try adding them to your diet today and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
There’s a lot more to this delicious vegetable than meets the taste buds. Garlic contains more than 400 compounds, many of which are known to treat a myriad of conditions, diseases and illnesses. Among them are allicin, allyl propyl disulfide and S-allyl cysteine sulfoxide, chemical compounds that can raise insulin levels in the blood and regulate your blood sugar levels.
A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that beans can help to control glycemic levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It is believed that this is because beans have a low glycemic index (GI) score. The GI rating system was designed to show which foods raise blood glucose levels quickly, moderately or slowly. Foods with low scores (55 or less) are digested and absorbed much slower than foods with a high GI score (70 or more), meaning they will not cause blood glucose levels to spike.
Black beans score 30
Kidney beans score 29
Baked beans score 40
Dried chickpeas score 10
There are two reasons why whole grains deserve a place in our list of top 6 superfoods for fighting diabetes. The first is that they are loaded with fibre, which not only aids digestion but also regulates blood sugar levels. The second is that they contain a type of phytonutrien called polyphenols. Found in plant-based foods, polyphenols regulate your blood glucose levels by lowering the increase of blood glucose after you eat starchy foods.
Studies suggest that eating oranges, grapefruits, lemons and other citrus fruits can lower the risk of diabetes. It is believed this is due to the fruits’ high levels of fibre, which has been proven to help control blood sugar levels, lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and even reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Plain Low-Fat Yoghurt
In addition to being packed full of vitamin D and calcium, yogurt is also a great source of potassium. Whilst it is unclear how potassium affects insulin and glucose levels, research has shown that low potassium levels can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Other potassium-rich foods include potatoes, leafy green vegetables and fish.
Okay, so water isn’t a superfood as such; however, it certainly deserves a mention. Staying hydrated is at the heart of every healthy diet – but it is especially important if you are diabetic or at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. When blood glucose levels are high, our bodies respond by attempting to flush them out. This is why thirst and excessive urinating are two of the main symptoms of diabetes. Replace your sodas and other carbonated drink with water to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 99 percent.