It is often thought or taken as a fact that anybody who is diagnosed with diabetes cannot consume any kinds of carbs anymore. Well, it is certainly not the case. All the diabetics should be at ease as you are only forbidden to take a certain group of carbs that can be harmful to you, and there are healthy carbs as well that, if taken with doctor’s suggestions, would not do any harm to you.
A registered dietitian (RD) at Cleveland Clinic, Anna Taylor, has explained how the “right carbs” should be the part of a balanced diet for everybody. But don’t get too excited as by ‘right carbs’, she definitely doesn’t mean doughnuts. It is a well-established fact now that for people with diabetes 1 or 2, some ‘good carbs’ are essential to keep the blood sugar level under control. Now, differentiating good carbs from bad carbs gets important and is the key. Those carbs should be chosen that are rich in protein and fiber, have nutrients that somehow slow the absorption and digestion of the carbohydrates. This results in a relatively gradual rise and fall in the blood sugar levels.
Anna Taylor has picked 10 best carb options for you along with other nutrients that would help you prevent the complications of diabetes.
1. Winter Squash
All the varieties of winter squash including pumpkins, spaghetti, butternut or acorn can be taken by the diabetics as the rich source of fibers and their consumption also keeps the blood glucose levels in control. A cup of any of these would have 18 grams of carbohydrates and 6 grams of fibers.
Just like peas, these are also a rich source of manganese and vitamin C. Beta-carotene is also present in all these varieties and is converted to vitamin A by the body. This vitamin A is healthy for skin, teeth and other tissues as well.
Just like lentils and beans, peas are also a rich source of fibers and proteins. All the forms of peas that include classic green peas, split peas and black-eyed peas have the same amount of the fiber and protein content that is provided by lentils and beans.
Along with 21 grams of carbohydrates, peas in their uncooked forms are also the source of 7 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. Peas are so healthy that they have also more than 20% of your daily value of vitamin C, vitamin K, copper, manganese, thiamine, phosphorous, and folate. All of these are very much essential for your general health.
According to some studies, vitamin C and manganese also help in reducing the blood vessels damage caused by diabetes.
You often get to hear the proverb “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Well the apples also do this job for the ones with diabetes. Apples and pears are both good sources of fibers that make them worth the diet with their naturally occurring sugar. 19 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of fibers are contained in a medium-sized apple.
Almond butter and protein-packed peanuts can also be taken with a slice of pear or apple just to keep blood sugar level stable.
It is also advised to avoid juices or dried fruits as they are devoid of fiber, act as sugar bombs and also tend to be calorie-dense.
Berries are very delicious and are loved by most of the people. Berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are all packed with fiber and also have lesser sugar content as compared to other fruits.
A cup of blueberries contains 21 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fibers. Immunity is also boosted by consuming these berries as they have phytonutrients such as phenols, anthocyanins and flavonoids. Immunity is especially vital for diabetics as diseases like cold or other small illnesses can raise blood sugar levels.
These phytonutrients also have their roles in anti-cancer activity and in reducing inflammation.
5. Lentils and Beans
As we know that protein and fibers prove to be healthy even for diabetics and what can be a better diet than lentils and beans which are rich protein and fiber sources for the diabetics.
A half-cup of cooked lentils serving can provide 9 grams of proteins and 8 grams of fiber along with the 18 grams of carbs they provide.
According to FDA guidelines, 3 grams of fiber per serving is considered as a satisfactory amount from any source, whereas, 5 grams or more is considered to be an excellent source. Beans, being a rich source of proteins, are often supplied as a canned product. You get the same amount of proteins and other benefits from dried or canned beans as you get from the cooked ones.
You would also want to rinse the canned beans before use as it will help eliminate almost 40% of sodium. “The Natural Way to Beat Diabetes” is a book by Rodale publishers where it is explained what to eat and what not to eat to prevent the effects of diabetes or even reverse the effects of diabetes.
6. Sweet Potatoes
One cup of cubed sweet potatoes has 4 grams of fibers in it. It is now well-established that the orange variety of these potatoes is more digestible and favorable to diabetes patients than the white potatoes.
Due to its rich fiber content, this variety doesn’t let the blood sugar levels to rise abruptly. Like winter squash, they also have beta-carotene in them and a single serving of these sweet potatoes helps you meet the body’s demand for the whole day.
7. Greek Yogurt
As Yogurt is a dairy-related product, so it has some considerable amount of carbohydrates that come from lactose which is dairy’s natural sugar. But it is somehow beneficial even for people with diabetes as it also provides proteins and calcium to meet the body’s demands.
Calcium is especially useful for people with diabetes as they may have low bone density due to their disability to do proper exercise.
One cup of Greek Yogurt (fat-free) can have 18 grams of proteins which is double the amount of proteins for normal yogurt. It also contains 7 grams of carbohydrates and a cup meets the body’s 20% calcium needs for the whole day.
Bulgur is considered as one of the healthiest whole-grains diet out there because of its rich in protein nature and also because it doesn’t let blood sugar levels spike at once as is done by refined grains like pasta.
It can also be taken as an alternative to quinoa salad. Bulgur can also be made quickly in about 10-minutes time from whole wheat kernels while they are boiled, dried and cracked.
25 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber is served by a single cup of bulgur.
You would have found gym instructors or nutritionists to suggest oatmeal if you’re to lose fat and build muscles at the same time. This is because of its fiber-rich nature just like other whole grains.
If you keep the oatmeal in your diet, they definitely help in lowering the ‘bad cholesterol’ levels in the body. These LDL cholesterol levels are not good at all for people with Type 2 diabetes because these impose serious threats for heart. That makes these oats an even better diet for diabetics.
But remember that it is steel-cut, classic rolls or quick oats we are talking about here and that too without added sugars and flavours.
10. Whole Wheat Pasta
Although pasta is not expected to be in these kinds of lists but like all other whole grains, whole-wheat pasta also provides essential phytonutrients such as magnesium, folate and vitamin B.
It also has plenty of fiber content in it. But don’t get too excited about it as you should be careful with the quantity of pasta you intake. Although it is a whole grain diet, still only one cup is enough to meet the body’s demands.
One cup has almost 40 grams of carbs and 6 grams of fibers in it. You also need to add some lean protein and a big serving of non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, bell peppers and mushrooms) to your plate to keep it healthy.