What’s the secret to lentils and diabetes?
Flat out, lentils help to regulate your blood sugar and improve your glycemic control. Diabetes control depends on factors such as these. It’s vital for your health to do everything you can to control your diabetes and lentils are very healthy for you and especially for diabetics. Lentils have a low glycemic index of less than 55 and they can help to lower your blood sugar levels.
If you are a type 2 diabetic, then lentils are recommended as part of your diet not only because of their low glycemic index but also because the fiber in lentils can help in slowing down the absorption of sugar in your blood. This is a super food that can help the development of diabetes by preventing hyperglycemia or high blood sugar.
So lentils can help to stabilize your blood sugar because they are full of complex carbohydrates. They can also aid in controlling your cholesterol levels and your appetite as well. But lentils can actually help you in lowering your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Now I mentioned the glycemic index of lentils and they have a GI value of less than 55. But the actual range is between 18 and 52 and this is because it depends on how you prepare the lentils and which type you have. Green lentils that are canned have a higher glycemic index. Red lentils that are boiled tend to have a much lower GI.
An example of how lentils can lower your blood sugar is from research done in 2008 where people replaced eating 20 grams of cheese and 30 grams of bread in their diets daily with 5 grams of canola oil and 50 grams of lentils. They succeeded in lowering not only their cholesterol levels but also their fasting blood sugar levels. So the conclusion was that foods with high GI’s that are replaced with low GI foods can be beneficial for lowering your blood sugars.
Lentils can help to stabilize blood sugar numbers and here’s why. They are rich in fiber and have high amounts of magnesium which is beneficial in the flowing of oxygen and blood which results in a lower risk of heart problems. And as a complex carbohydrate they add more to controlling blood glucose levels. Actually soybeans are loaded with protein, but lentils contain even more with over 50 grams of protein on one cup! Replace foods rich in carbohydrates with at least one serving a day of legumes such as lentils.
So what else do lentils have that are ultra healthy? They are packed with fiber, protein, and low in fat which cuts down the risk of heart disease big time. Lentils also have potassium, phosphorous, folate, and iron and that’s definitely healthy for you. They also are able to help control your risk of cancer in addition to being low on the glycemic index scale.
When comparing whole wheat products to legumes, it’s all about the glycemic index numbers and consuming legumes such as lentils is much better at lowering your blood glucose levels than what whole wheat products can do. Recent studies have revealed that having a high consumption of legumes such as peanuts, chickpeas, beans, alfalfa, and of course lentils can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 33%!
Watch this for more about lentils:
Additional facts about lentils
Lentils are seeds belonging to the legume family that are basically two halves in a husk that covers them. Lentils have been a food source for over thousands of years. They are considered a great source of protein without a huge cost. They also are an awesome provider of minerals and vitamins as well as being a source rich in amino acids such as lysine and isoleucine.
Popular lentils are:
- French green lentils
- Kidney beans
- Black lentils
- Soya beans
- Brown lentils
- Yellow lentils
- Red lentils
Extra health benefits of lentils
* High in fiber- They are one of the richest foods when it comes to fiber, which includes both insoluble and soluble fiber. One cup of lentils daily will provide you with more than 60% of the fiber you require each day. Lentils can really help out when it comes to fiber because most folks do not get anywhere near the amount of fiber required daily.
* Calories- It’s great when you can have something that is not only healthy for you but also low in calories. In fact, there’s only 230 calories in one cup of lentils so this can help in the weight loss department as well and that is beneficial for diabetes.
* Heart health- The fiber in lentils is amazing for your heart as it gets rid of your bad cholesterol (LDL) butt also contains magnesium and folate which are extremely beneficial for your heart as well. There’s nothing more important than your heart for your health. You need to do everything you can to keep your heart strong and healthy.
* More energy- Lentils are full of slow burning complex carbohydrates that will keep feeling energized and pumped up. They also have lots of iron and fiber for your body.
* Brain and nervous system- Research done showed that minerals and vitamins have a positive affect on the functioning of the brain and the nervous system. Lentils help to keep your nervous system and your brain strong and functioning properly.
* Fatigue- Lentils are an excellent choice to fight fatigue. Fatigue has been known to be a cause of iron deficiency and lentils are a good source of iron. One third of your daily requirement of iron can come from one cup of cooked lentils. That’s a good start to the day!
* Digestion- Because lentils contain a great deal of fiber, this will help your digestive system because it keeps it moving along. In addition, it helps to ferment healthy bacteria and keep toxins moving out of your digestive system. One serving of lentils daily helps to keep you in the proper fiber range.
* Celiac disease- Gluten is a protein which happens to be part of some plant based grains that may really cause severe health issues in an individual with an inability to digest gluten otherwise known as celiac disease. Lentils are still healthy for folks with celiac disease because they are gluten free. So if you have celiac disease you don’t have to be concerned and you can have lentils!
* Anemia- You don’t want and you can avoid anemia by making sure that your iron levels are healthy. Iron aids in maintaining proper transport of oxygen and for producing new red blood cells which prevents anemia.
* Immune system- Your immune system is the lifeblood of your body and protects it from disease. Lentils contain high levels of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants which help to strengthen and boost your system in fighting off disease and inflammation.
* Blood pressure and stroke- Eating the correct foods that are healthy help in decreasing your risk of issues with high blood pressure and having a stroke. Lentils can help with stress because they are a rich source of folic acid and that helps in reducing blood pressure in people who are hypersensitive.
* Your colon- Since lentils contain soluble fiber, this helps in lowering your risk of colon cancer. This is important especially as you get older because it is preventable as long as you get screened for it.
* Depression- Lentils can help in fighting depression. They contain the B vitamins that play an important part in your health. Studies done revealed that if you suffer from depression, it is related to a lacking of folate. That is where lentils come in and help. They contain B vitamins and folate. Lentils contain iron which is an energy booster. Being low in iron can be responsible for fatigue and stress and also be the cause for depression as well.
* Inflammation- Selenium is a trace element that boosts immunity and protects you from inflammation. You guessed it. Lentils contain a good deal of selenium. Lentils are inexpensive and an easy way to get the right amount of selenium to help you prevent inflammation.
* Pregnancy- If you are a woman who is either breastfeeding or pregnant, you’ll want to be consuming lentils. It’s recommended that pregnant women get 600 mcg of folate daily. Eating lentils during pregnancy can aid in the unborn child not being affected by an unhealthy development of their spine.
* Muscles- Our body’s muscles and organs need protein on a consistent basis for the growth and repair of the body. Essential amino acids that are necessary for good building of the muscles and a fluent functioning of your body are provided through sprouted lentils. It just goes to show you how important and vital lentils are for your body.
Caution! Lentils such as peanut butter, soy foods, and soy beans are comprised of concentrations that are high in oxalate compounds which can cause kidney stones! If you currently have kidney stones, do not consume lentils and legumes. This is according to the department of Human Nutrition and Food Science at Washington State University.
Now you are aware of the connection between lentils and diabetes. Lentils are one of the healthiest foods for you whether you have diabetes or not. But they can help to lower your blood sugar and also help with your diabetes.
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