When an individual is diagnosed with diabetes, it means that their glucose - or blood sugar - levels are too high. This can result from a few different issues. First, in type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, which helps transform the sugar from our food into energy. Next, in type 2 diabetes, the more common type, the body doesn’t do a sufficient job producing or using insulin.
Nearly 10% of the American population has been diagnosed with diabetes, which can lead to long-term health issues including heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. And while it has become easier to manage symptoms by closely monitoring glucose levels, it’s always a good idea to make health management a bit easier where we can.
For people living with diabetes, superfoods make great supplements to prescribed medications and glucose monitors - just always remember to check with your doctor before incorporating new foods into your diet. Plus, for those individuals who are at risk for type 2 diabetes, we suggest speaking to a health professional about adding superfoods to your health regime as well. Although we never recommend replacing medication or other forms of treatment, there are certain superfoods that can be great for both individuals who currently have diabetes and those who are at risk. Check out what they can do below:
Control blood sugar
Fiber, like sugar and starch, is a type of carbohydrate, and it has a huge effect on blood sugar levels - in the sense that it has virtually no effect on blood sugar levels. In other words, fiber is great for individuals with diabetes, because it doesn’t have to be digested and is therefore not broken down by our bodies. Plus, studies have shown that individuals who consumed 50 grams of soluble fiber per day were more effective in controlling their blood sugar levels than individuals who did not. Therefore, it’s recommended that individuals with type 2 diabetes incorporate at least 25 grams of soluble fiber into their diet daily in order to avoid spikes in blood sugar levels.
If you’re looking for a superfood to help you get your daily intake of fiber, look no further! Chia seeds provide a whopping 11 grams of dietary fiber, making it one of the richest sources of soluble fiber on the planet. If you do the math, one serving of chia seeds can account for nearly half of your daily fiber intake! Other superfoods with high levels of soluble fiber include mesquite powder and oat sprout powder, which can be easily blended into your morning smoothie.
Regulate blood sugar
While studying the health effects of green, black, and oolong teas, researchers in China discovered the potential benefits of polysaccharides on individuals with diabetes. In their research, scientists found that polysaccharides, carbohydrates including starch and cellulose, were actually shown to slow the absorption of glucose in the body.
In order to choose the right kinds of carbohydrates to help regulate blood sugar levels, one must know which superfoods contain polysaccharides. Arguably the best source of these complex carbohydrates is maitake mushroom powder, which contains one of the largest quantities of polysaccharides among all food sources. Additionally, noni powder is known for containing these polysaccharides, which also support healthy cellular tissue growth and strengthen the immune system.
Recent studies have shown that anthocyanins, the plant pigments responsible for the deep, rich colors of fruits such as raspberries and cherries, can act as prevention against type 2 diabetes in many individuals. In addition, anthocyanins have been associated with the excretion of insulin, which is good news those diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. And the best part? It doesn’t take much to get your fix of anthocyanins; as little as two servings of blueberries per week has been shown to make a difference in diabetes prevention.
As far as superfoods go, red raspberry powder is our favorite way to get our anthocyanins, which also help reverse the signs of premature aging! Anthocyanins can also be found in superfoods such as pomegranate juice powder and maqui berry powder - basically, all of the most beautifully colorful foods out there.
So what are you waiting for? Whip up a raspberry smoothie bowl complete with chia and some noni for the ultimate shield against diabetes symptoms. Prevention is key, superfoodies!