There is a healthy debate about the pros and cons of significant egg consumption, particularly for those with diabetes. It’s believed that eggs can be helpful in preventing diabetes, but actually harmful to those who have it, or already have increased risk factors. In any case, the most important thing to know about eggs is that they provide a significant source of protein, and a number of other essential nutrients, all without contributing additional carbohydrates. This makes them a useful source of protein for diabetics when consumed in moderation (no more than three a week).
It might surprise you to see cinnamon on a list like this; however, there is some evidence to suggest it has benefits for diabetics. Some studies have revealed a potential interaction between cinnamon and blood sugar levels, where regular cinnamon intake has decreased blood sugar. Information as recent as 2012 has indicated cinnamon’s potential. The general consensus is that cinnamon preps the body for blood sugar by stimulating insulin production and activity. Because cinnamon mileage varies based on the type of cinnamon, it may be best to think of cinnamon primarily as a supplement to regular diabetes medication and treatment.
You may think of legumes as just a source of protein, but it turns out they have benefits for diabetic patients as well. For starters, their status as a protein powerhouse is true: they are a clean source of protein that has no negative effect on blood pressure, which is quite beneficial for diabetics, for whom high blood pressure is a concern. Additionally, they contain high levels of fiber. This is important because fiber slows the breakdown and absorption of sugar, which helps control blood sugar. Legumes include beans, peas, peanuts, and lentils, which are all great options for healthy eating.
As with other fruits, there is concern that the mango is “too sweet”; the truth is that the amount of sugar (as well as other nutrients, vitamins, and minerals) in food matters more than the source. This means that portion sizes more than anything determine what is safe to eat. In the case of mangos, a half cup is the recommended maximum serving for diabetics, though it is thought that only 10 grams of mango a day will help your blood sugar. The reasoning behind this is that the numerous compounds they contain, such as mangiferin, contribute significant antidiabetic properties.
1. Dark Chocolate
Believe it or not, dark chocolate can help diabetics when consumed as a treat on occasion. While it does bring a lot of fat and calories to the table, it also increases sensitivity to insulin, which helps to control blood sugar levels; this indicates that dark chocolate has potential as a treatment for those with type 2 diabetes. Keep in mind that these benefits are granted only by dark chocolate. As an added benefit, dark chocolate can also help lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, which are common diabetic complications. Remember, moderation is key!
In addition to exercise, dietary modification is key to managing diabetes. While there is no cure, by eating healthy, you can greatly enhance your quality of life and minimize the risk of serious diabetic complications. Keep in mind that these foods are not a substitute for diabetes medication, but may help you better manage your blood sugar and other diabetic complications when consumed along with proper treatment options. As with any other chronic condition, keep in regular contact with your doctor and monitor your blood sugar closely, especially after meals. Choose proper portion sizes whenever possible.