According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25.8 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes, and their medical costs are 2.3 times higher than those who do not suffer from the disease. If your sugar levels are high, you are not necessarily doomed to a lifetime of medication. Speak with your physician about a change in diet because certain vegetables naturally lower blood sugar levels.
The glycemic index is a measurement of how foods affect the rise and fall of blood sugar levels. The lower the GI of a food, the better it is for your sugar levels. Sweet potatoes are low on the GI index. They digest slowly so that your sugar levels slowly rise and you feel full longer. Sweet potatoes are a better alternative than white potatoes because the latter causes a spike in blood sugar levels. Sprinkle your sweet potato with cinnamon because this spice acts to keep your sugar levels in check.
According to the Mayo Clinic, dietary fiber, particularly soluble fiber, slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, which lowers blood sugar levels and decreases your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Women 50 years and younger need 25 grams of fiber per day. A 1/2-cup serving of broccoli contains 5 grams of fiber and only 50 calories. As an added bonus, a 2008 study published in the journal “Diabetes” stated that sulforaphanes in broccoli may prevent damage caused to blood vessels as a result of diabetes. Mix broccoli in with soups, stews and sauces, or roast it in the oven for a delicious vegetable.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are high in magnesium, which plays a vital role in carbohydrate metabolism and may affect the release and activity of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that converts the sugars in food into energy. Type 2 diabetics tend to have low levels of magnesium, and these low levels may result in insulin resistance. Insulin resistance tends to precede a diabetes diagnosis, and improving magnesium levels may enhance your insulin’s efficiency. Adult women between 19 and 30 years of age need 310 milligrams of magnesium per day. The RDA for those over 30 is 320 milligrams. Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale and collards, are high in this nutrient.
According to the American Diabetes Association, beans are an excellent choice for a diabetic’s diet. Although beans are considered a starchy vegetable, 1/2 cup will provide you with a third of your daily fiber needs and other vital nutrients, such as magnesium and potassium. That same serving also gives you as much protein as an ounce of meat but without the saturated fat. Beans will fill you up and keep you satiated without a lot of calories, which can promote weight loss. The fiber in beans also helps slow sugar absorption so that your sugar stays level.
- CDC: Diabetes Public Health Resource
- Fat Free Kitchen: Foods That Lower Blood Sugar
- The Mayo Clinic: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
- Diabetes: Activation of NF-E2 Related Factor Factor-2 Reverses Biochemical Dysfunction of Endothelial Cells Induced by Hyperglycemia Linked to Vascular Disease
- National Institute of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium
- American Diabetes Association: Diabetes Superfoods
Michelle Fisk began writing professionally in 2011. She has been published in the "Physician and Sports Medicine Journal." Her expertise lies in the fields of exercise physiology and nutrition. Fisk holds a Master of Science in kinesiology from Marywood University.