I want to talk about what some of the Best Vegetables For Diabetics are because they are extremely important when you have diabetes. The diet of a diabetic is one fraught with caution. From ubiquitous beverages, to every day whole grains, to your regular option shelf food, everything in a diabetic nutrition has to be scrutinized and monitored with surgical precision.
What Are the Best Vegetables for Diabetics?
That puts your blood sugar level on close monitoring and ultimately ensures your health is secured against any complications. Of course, being a diabetic patient restricts you from consuming certain types of food. But that’s okay because you can work around it.
But does this habit of caution and selectivity mean that diabetics should miss out on great tasting, delicious food? OF COURSE NOT! Having diabetes does not necessarily equate to refraining from food that is delicious. It shouldn’t be a reason to encourage a boring lifestyle.
No doubt about it ,correcting your blood sugar level requires lots of sacrifices and determination. Even with such level of determination, you still need to include some meals into your dietary plan.
The most important thing to consider is how healthy a diet is. Matching the pair of great tasting food selections with positive health benefits is of utmost priority when it comes to the eating lifestyle of a diabetic, and on this note, I introduce the often neglected maestro of healthy food, The Humble Vegetable.
The Humble Vegetable
The main goal for anyone with diabetes (either type one, type two or gestational diabetes) is to keep blood sugar levels low. There exist a number of ways in which this can be done ranging from carb-cutting, rationing, food class substitution and a host of others.
However, one very efficient way of maintaining blood sugar levels, avoiding blood sugar level spikes and preventing complications that may arise as a result of diabetes lies in the consumption of the humble vegetable. They are the best foods you can eat to be healthy and especially for your diabetes.
Vegetables have, for centuries, provided human civilization a balanced and wholesome food choice to satisfy hunger, provide energy, protect the immune system from external attack, and most importantly sustain life.
Particularly, vegetables have played an appreciable role in the area of blood sugar regulation and control for diabetics as we will soon see. The nutritional value of vegetable has been tested and affirmed to be helpful in improving the health condition of a diabetic patient.
But how exactly do the nutritional constituents of vegetables help to achieve such effect? In what ways do vegetables support a diabetic’s immune system? What are the best vegetables to consider? All these and much more tumbles around in the mind of the diabetic. Lucky for us, the answers we seek aren’t so encumbered from our grasp.
If you can invest your time to read this article to the end, you will get the answers to those questions and understand how they can be beneficial to your health. More knowledge is power!
Vegetables and Glycemic Load
The word Glycemic is a ubiquitous term in the average diabetic vocabulary list. Glycemic generally means a measure of the presence [or the level] of glucose contained in a person’s blood at any given point in time.
Glycemic index is a number from 0 to 100 assigned to a food, which serves the primary purpose of ranking the food based on the amount of carbohydrates in the food and how these foods consequently affect blood glucose levels.
The glycemic load is a component of the glycemic index which takes into consideration every component of the food as a whole.
Foods with relatively low glycemic loads keep the blood sugar levels consistent, meaning you avoid experiencing the highs and lows that can be caused by blood sugar that jumps too high and drops quickly.
Taking into consideration the glycemic loads of your foods can have a more than appreciable impact on your health in a wide number of ways including: helping with weight loss, keeping blood sugar levels consistent, burning calories, help prevent insulin resistance and regulate diabetes, and lower the risk of heart disease and allied complications.
Their impacts are wide-ranging and inexhaustible. But as a diabetic patient the aforementioned benefits matters a lot.
It is of vital necessity to realize, however, that you can easily calculate the glycemic loads of your foods relatively easily. The glycemic load is simply:
Glycemic index Carbohydrate content per portion ÷ 100
The results typically give a value between 0 and > 20. This is a very important tool to predict and plan the daily diet requirements of diabetics.
Vegetables in general typically tend to have very low glycemic loads, which is excellent news for the diabetic person. Kidney, garbanzo, pinto, soy and black beans, Fiber-rich veggies like carrots and green peas, bran lentils, cashews and peanuts and beets are some examples of vegetables which possess relatively low glycemic load values.
Here’s the Best Way to Lower Your Blood Sugar
Picking the Right Kind of Vegetables
The right kind of vegetables for diabetics encompasses all those vegetable classes that substantially reduce or help to stabilize the blood sugar levels of diabetics. Leafy vegetables in particular are a class that consists of a wide variety of nutrients that specifically play a part in helping to stabilize blood sugar levels. These nutrients include:
Dietary fiber or roughage is the portion of plant-derived foods that cannot be completely broken down by human digestive enzymes. Dietary Fiber acts by changing the nature of your gastrointestinal tract and altering how other nutrients and chemicals are absorbed.
In the case of diabetics, dietary fibers change (or at least alter to a large extent) the rate at which glucose forms and is utilized in the body. This is good news as this translates to regulating the amount of blood sugar in the body of a diabetic at any given instant in time.
Added to this, dietary fibers lowers cholesterol levels in the body and speeds the passage of foods through the digestive system which eliminates the risk of constipation.
Excellent sources of dietary fibers from vegetable sources include: Beans, Carrots, Beets, Broccoli, Collard greens, Swiss chard, Artichokes, Split peas, Lentils, Edamame, Soybeans, Asparagus and Avocados. These vegetable sources can contain anywhere from 4 grams of dietary fiber to up to 15 grams of dietary fiber per serving.
The general consensus is that the darker the veggie, the healthier it is. Most Dark-colored leafy greens are healthy enough to be incorporated in ANY diabetic diet.
Consistently incorporating these vegetables into a diabetic diet is the key to ensuring that that blood sugar level remains at a safe minimum.
Nitrates are chemicals that occur naturally and can be found in the soil, air, water, meat and in plant-based sources like vegetables.
Diabetics struggling to keep their blood sugar levels low and battling the risks associated with diabetes such as cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure will benefit from consuming foods that are rich in Nitrates.
However, it is important to realize that benefiting optimally from Nitrates will depend strongly on where you get your Nitrates from.
It is important to realize that not all dietary nitrates have the same beneficial influence on the body. Nitrates from animal-based sources such as processed meat are harmful to the immune system and are known to be carcinogenic.
Plant-based sources of Nitrates, on the other hand, help to ensure healthy blood flow for efficient oxygenation of tissues and organs which is very important for diabetics as most diabetics are prone to diabetic wounds which do not heal properly as a result of retarded oxygenation.
Plant-based nitrates also have powerful antibacterial potential, which boosts the immune system to equip the diabetic to fight off foreign pathogens, help to maintain physiological homeostasis, and also to suppress inflammation.
Plant-based nitrates also help to normalize blood pressure and protect against strokes and heart attacks. These benefits are of immense benefit to the diabetic to ensure that the risks associated with diabetes are managed and reduced to as minimum a level as possible.
Arugula and Beets are the powerhouses of plant-sourced Nitrates you can have. Arugulas average around 480 milligrams of nitrates per 100 grams, while fermented beets contain about 2-3 grams of nitrates per 100 grams.
Cilantro, Butter Leaf Lettuce, spring greens (like mesclun mix), Basil, Oak leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, Celery, and Rhubarb are also excellent sources of plant-based nitrates, averaging about 150 – 280 mg of nitrates per 100 grams.
In addition to high-nitrate content, these vegetables are equally high in antioxidants (such as Vitamin C and polyphenols), potassium, Magnesium and Calcium, all of which play a very important role in keeping the heart in prime shape.
I’m pretty sure when the word ‘Protein’ pops up in your head, you don’t necessarily think of veggies. The more traditional line of thought strays towards meat, chicken or eggs as ideal sources of protein.
However, what most people don’t know is plant-based sources of protein found in vegetables are a gem when it comes to eating healthy, especially for diabetics. Combine the rich dietary fiber, nitrates, antioxidants and protein, and you have yourself a health party.
Protein-rich foods help you feel fuller for a lot longer which prevents you from over-snacking and by extension, helps you to maintain a healthy weight. Daily protein recommendations depend on a person’s size, weight, gender, activity level, body chemistry, and a fleet of other factors.
Veggies with a higher than normal level of protein compared to other vegetables include: Turnip greens, Okra, Mushrooms, Spinach, Beet greens, Bok choy (Chinese cabbage), Asparagus, Mustard greens, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower, Alfalfa sprouts, Watercress and Collard greens, which all contain anywhere from 1gram to 3.5 grams of protein.
Yellow sweet corn contains about 5 grams of protein per 1 large ear.
Potatoes are also a good source of plant-based protein (potatoes should be eaten in moderation because although they can contain about 5 grams of protein per medium sized potato, they are usually packed with calories).
Edamame, lentils, Green peas, Artichokes, Mung beans, and Lima beans are excellent sources of plant-based protein each containing up to 10 grams of protein per serving.
So, Why Choose These Best Vegetables for Diabetics?
It’s been quite an expansive tirade of points and facts, figures and calculations, and an endless list of greens. But, why veggies again? Well, for one thing, green is a dazzling color (psych!).
The diabetic journey is one of risk management and effective control. It is of utmost priority to understand that living an abstemious life is generally the best path to take. Vegetables help to make the journey a heck of a lot smoother. Weight gain, blood sugar control, healthy homeostasis and much more are just some of the benefits you can get from consuming our dear veggie friend.
Moreover, vegetables keep you feeling fuller for much longer which can greatly improve your overall eating habits, forcing you to eat less and conditioning you to sway to the rhythm of tasty vegetables. They are the best foods for you.
Vegetables not only help you cope with the short term jitters of diabetes, but also do your system a world of good by helping with the long-term (and often times, unexpected/unforeseen) complications of diabetes ranging from diabetes related sores and ulcers, strokes, cardiovascular disease, eye-related problems and so much more.
Veggies are packed with fibers, nitrates, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which serve as a double shield for your immune system against deleterious complication. Plus, think of all the good you’ll be doing the environment by eating clean, green food! Mother Nature is always the best chef! No contest!!
Best Vegetables For Diabetics are crucial for your health as a diabetic. The diabetic menu is a disparate conglomeration of caution, moderation, regulation, and consistency. Nevertheless, diabetics can enjoy a wide mix of good foods that are both jaw-dropping delicious and healthy.
The trick is to always combine foods that have a low glycemic index to avoid the incidences of blood sugar spikes and also try as much as possible to cultivate habits of consistent food class substitution. Put simply, if you’re craving that crunchy, salted potato chip, take the plunge and snack on some crunchy beet roots. If you’re hungry for some good ‘ole juice, take a blend of veggies instead.
The road to sustainable dieting isn’t always straightforward and isn’t always easy, but HEY, when has anything worthwhile ever been easy?
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10 thoughts on “Best Vegetables for Diabetics – Choices for being Healthier”
Overall not too bad an article, with some good advice in places and not so good advice in other areas. To answer the question, that I could not see you actually arrive there, but the best Vegetabless for Diabetics has to be the Cruciferous Vegetables. Now, as you know all vegetables contain carbohydrates and some contain lots of sugars, and the worst type of sugar as well, being fructose.
Therefore, when you recommend vegetables like beetroot, peas, carrots, I strongly disagree with this, due to the high sugar content in these vegetables.
You then move on to discuss the role of Protein. Protein has to be the most overrated substance there is. Here is a fact that not too many people know, and that is that excess Protein is converted to sugar through a process called Gluconeogenesis. So how much is too much protein? Well, 0.36 X your weight in kilos will give you your Protein intake per day. Any amount over that will be converted to sugar.
So, Cruciferous Vegetables are the best Vegetables. Careful though as these types of Vegetables produce oxalates, which are precursors to Kidney Stones, so eat lemons to avoid that.
Plus the only fruit you should ever eat would be Avocado. Fruits are Pure Sugar so give Fruit the Boot.
Overall, a great article and a great read. Do you agree with what I have written?
In response to your comments? I honestly do not agree with a lot of what you commented about.
While cruciferous vegetables may be a better choice, all vegetables are good for you whether you’re a diabetic or not.
Just because some vegetables may have more sugar content than others doesn’t mean you cannot and should not have them.
I do agree that avocado is excellent for you, I totally disagree with never having any other fruits!
While fruits do contain sugar, they are healthy for you and that’s why the health industry always recommends fruits and vegetables.
However, it doesn’t mean to overindulge especially in the fruits that have a higher glycemic index.
I appreciate your comments!
Hi Rob, I must say that this is something I was looking for. My aunt is a diabetic type 2 but what concerns me is that she does not pay much attention to her nutrition. She received medicine from a doctor but she did not get adequate nutrition plan. I will print your text and give it to her hoping that she will respect it. Not everything is in medicines, people should take extra caution on what and when they eat.
Hi Daniel 🙂
Vegetables are about the healthiest foods we can eat whether for diabetes or not.
But when you have diabetes, it’s that much more vital to have vegetables in your diet.
There are some that are better than others, but the key is a lower glycemic index because that means there’s less sugar content.
I hope your aunt is wise enough to take vegetables into consideration for the health of her diabetes.
Thank you for your insight! 🙂
I have encountered diabetic patients, especially children and I must admit that their care is extremely crucial.
I know it is especially difficult for children to accustom themselves to vegetables. How do I encourage vegetables into their diet? Other than veggies, do you have other suggestions that can be incorporated into vegetables to be more appetizing?
thanks for sharing this informative piece.
Hi Carol 🙂
It’s hard enough for adults to deal with diabetes but with children it’s even harder.
Vegetables are important in our diets and it’s very difficult if not impossible to get kids to eat their veggies.
I never ate much in the way of vegetables when I was growing up.
Try changing the appearance and make it fun for them. Mix them into their favorite meals.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
This review of how vegetables play a role in nutrition for diabetes is a very refreshing look at how proper diet is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Knowing the Glycemic index of foods allows a person to match which foods are best for their diet that will result in a well-balanced intake of proper nutrients. Maintaining an optimal immune system via your foods is key to a healthy lifestyle. I have learned a great deal of which vegetables are better for my health that also taste good.
My question is making smoothies from these nutritious vegetables better for the body than cooking them? And what kind of problems would this cause to digestion in keeping blood sugars balanced?
Thanks! I wanted folks to know just how important vegetables are in your diet especially when you are a diabetic.
And most vegetables are low on the glycemic index which means less sugar.
We’re always told to eat our fruits and veggies and it’s true because they are the healthiest foods we can eat.
And you do want your immune system working at it’s best for your health.
In answer to your question, the best and healthiest way to have your veggies is raw! Smoothies and cooking loses some of the nutrition but is still good for you.
Raw is best for digestion and your blood sugar levels.
I appreciate your feedback 🙂
Very helpful information!! My doctor has advised I “start watching” carb/ sugar intake and exercise more as my A1C level is right at borderline high level. I need to take appropriate steps now so I can keep things under control naturally. With that being said, I so appreciate your knowledge and advice!!! I hope you have a blessed holiday and a happy new year! Sincerely,
Hey Jen 🙂
Thank you! I’m happy that you found it informational. Vegetables are the best foods to eat for your health. As your A1C level is borderline right now, this is the time to do something about it and hopefully not develop type 2 diabetes. I have a lot of information on my website that may help you. Feel free to look around! Happy holidays and a new year to you as well! 🙂