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Should Diabetics Eat Beans

The 15 Best Superfoods For Diabetics

The 15 Best Superfoods For Diabetics

beats1/Shutterstock Chocolate is rich in flavonoids, and research shows that these nutrients reduce insulin resistance, improve insulin sensitivity, drop insulin levels and fasting blood glucose, and blunt cravings. But not all chocolate is created equal. In a 2008 study from the University of Copenhagen, people who ate dark chocolate reported that they felt less like eating sweet, salty, or fatty foods compared to volunteers given milk chocolate, with its lower levels of beneficial flavonoids (and, often, more sugar and fat, too). Dark chocolate also cut the amount of pizza that volunteers consumed later in the same day, by 15 percent. The flavonoids in chocolate have also been shown to lower stroke risk, calm blood pressure, and reduce your risk for a heart attack by 2 percent over five years. (Want more delicious, healthy, seasonal foods? Click here.) Jiri Vaclavek/Shutterstock Broccoli is an anti-diabetes superhero. As with other cruciferous veggies, like kale and cauliflower, it contains a compound called sulforaphane, which triggers several anti-inflammatory processes that improve blood sugar control and protect blood vessels from the cardiovascular damage that’s often a consequence of diabetes. (Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people with diabetes, so this protection could be a lifesaver.) Sulforaphane also helps flip on the body’s natural detox mechanisms, coaxing enzymes to turn dangerous cancer-causing chemicals into more innocent forms that the body can easily release. Blueberries funnyangel/Shutterstock Blueberries really stand out: They contain both insoluble fiber (which “flushes” fat out of your system) and soluble fiber (which slows down the emptying of your stomach, and improves blood sugar control). In a study by the USDA, peopl Continue reading >>

Legumes Improve Blood Sugar Control And Reduce Cardiovascular Risk In Diabetics

Legumes Improve Blood Sugar Control And Reduce Cardiovascular Risk In Diabetics

Patients with diabetes may want to think twice when choosing between whole wheat foods and legumes, like beans, chickpeas, and lentils. For patients with diabetes, controlling blood sugar levels is extremely important. Out of control blood sugar levels can lead to serious health problems and sometimes, like with a heart attack, stroke or kidney failure, the damage can’t be undone. Fortunately, there are many ways that diabetics can help control their blood sugar, like through exercise, weight control and diet. And a new study shows that incorporating more legumes into the diet could not only help control blood sugar levels but also reduce cardiovascular risk in patients with type 2 diabetes. This study was published recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine – a peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Medical Association. Through this study, researchers assigned more than 120 patients with type 2 diabetes to one of two diets. Half of participants were instructed to eat at least 1 cup of legumes, like beans, chickpeas and lentils, a day, while the other half were instructed to eat more whole wheat products. After following patients for 3 months on these diets, researchers found that patients increasing their consumption of legumes had significantly better blood sugar control than patients who increased their intake of whole wheat products. And as mentioned earlier, increased legume intake was also associated with lower blood pressure and cardiovascular risk compared to increased intake of whole wheat products. So what’s the difference between legumes and whole wheat products? The good news is that both are packed with insoluble fiber, which is known to have many health benefits like lowering blood pressure and helping with blood sugar control. Bu Continue reading >>

Stock Your Kitchen For Diabetes Health

Stock Your Kitchen For Diabetes Health

Eating healthy, balanced meals is the key to managing your diabetes. Good nutrition not only helps you control your blood sugar levels, but it also lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol and keeps cravings at bay. When you have the right foods on hand, it’s much easier to stick to a healthy meal plan. Not sure what to stock? Add these must-haves to your shopping list. Beans “Kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, and garbanzo beans are all great for blood glucose control,” says Jessica Bennett, a dietitian at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “They’re high in fiber and take a long time to digest.” Beans offer a lot of options. They make a tasty side dish, or you can add them to salads, soups, casseroles, and chili. They’re also a great stand-in for meat because they’re high in protein but low in fat. Dried beans are a better choice than canned. They contain less sodium. Soak them overnight and they’ll be ready to cook in the morning. If you go for the ones in a can, rinse them first. That’ll keep the salt down. Salt-Free Seasonings Spices are a great way to jazz up your meals without adding calories or carbs. Just be sure to avoid ones with salt. “Red pepper flakes, oregano, curry, cinnamon, turmeric, and garlic powder [not salt] are all great options,” Bennett says. Whole Grains They’re packed with fiber, but finding them isn’t as easy as it may seem. Some foods only contain a small amount, even though it says “contains whole grain” on the package. Read the ingredients label and look for the following sources to be listed first: Bulgur (cracked wheat) Whole wheat flour Whole oats/oatmeal Whole-grain corn or cornmeal Popcorn Brown rice Whole rye Whole-grain barley Whole farro Wild rice Buckwheat Buckwheat flour Quinoa Bennett sug Continue reading >>

Eat Beans For Better Blood Sugar With Diabetes

Eat Beans For Better Blood Sugar With Diabetes

Eat Beans for Better Blood Sugar With Diabetes Eat Beans for Better Blood Sugar With Diabetes Beans sometimes get a bum rap. Truth be told, beans boast an amazing number of health benefits. If you have diabetes, beans, and other legumes can help you maintain better control of your blood sugar. A legume is a plant whose seeds or fruit are found in a long case, called a pod. Beans, chickpeas and lentils are common legumes. Legumes are a low glycemic index food that won't cause sudden spikes in your blood sugar. The glycemic index looks at how fast a carbohydrate-containing food, like beans, raises your blood sugar (glucose) level compared to a baseline product like white bread. Foods low on the index breakdown slowly in the body, so you don't get a sudden rush of sugar into your bloodstream. High glycemic foods (like white rice), on the other hand, get digested more quickly, which can send your blood sugar soaring. Many diabetes nutrition guidelines recommend beans and legumes as part of a healthy diet. In fact, the American Diabetes Association includes them in their list of Diabetes Superfoods. Here's why beans and legumes are so good for you: They provide slowly digested starch (carbohydrate), which reduces blood sugar spikes. They are full of healthy fiber, so they keep you feeling full longer. They're packed with protein, which your body needs to work properly. Studies show that adding 1 cup (190 grams) of legumes to your daily diet helps lower hemoglobin A1C levels. (That's your average blood sugar level for the last 2-3 months.) Some research hints that eating legumes at breakfast prevents spikes after that meal and subsequent ones that day. And legumes are also good for your heart. A daily dose of beans and legumes can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high Continue reading >>

Are Beans Good For Managing Diabetes?

Are Beans Good For Managing Diabetes?

Sing along if you're familiar with this childhood tune: “Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you....” To fill in the above childish couplet, instead of completing it with the vulgar refrain, try instead concluding it with benefits of this superfood, which technically, according to botanists, is considered a fruit (but in its culinary makeup, considered a legume or vegetable). Some of the benefits of eating beans includes: --lowering your cholesterol levels --increasing your daily fiber intake --managing blood sugar --boosting bone-strengthening calcium in the diet --reducing risk of high blood pressure and stroke Beans are one of the healthiest--and most abundant--foods we can eat, especially beneficial for those monitoring their blood sugar and improving their diabetes. But aren't beans starches? Yes. Beans and lentils, which come from a different type of seed than beans, but also are a legume, are starches but they won’t spike your blood sugar level like other rapidly-burning starches, especially those that contain flour, especially white flour. (Keep in mind that even many whole grain flours can rapidly turn into sugar.) It’s the the high fiber content in beans that prevents the starchy component of beans from being quickly digested and elevating blood sugar levels. On average (depending on the bean), there are 15 grams of fiber in one cup. In addition to helping you stay regular, fiber, don’t forget, helps you feel satisfied and full for a longer time than high-carb foods with little fiber. This helps eliminate cravings. Beans are actually quite starchy, but the molecular structure of the starch in beans breaks down slower than refined starches. Despite their starchy nature, few nutritionists would advocate limiting beans as part of Continue reading >>

Are All Carbohydrates Created Equal?

Are All Carbohydrates Created Equal?

twitter summary: All carbs are NOT created equal - 30 g of beans is way different from 30 g of glucose tabs; choose lower glycemic index foods for better BGs A diagnosis of diabetes – type 1 or type 2 – hits everyone very differently. However, one common memory for most of us is learning about food and carbohydrate counts. To this day, I still haven’t forgotten that one cup of milk contains 12 grams of carbs, one cup of rice contains 45 grams of carbs, and a steak doesn’t have any carbs. We also pretty quickly learn the physiology basics: a carbohydrate raises blood sugar, and the more carbs you eat, the larger the blood sugar spike (all else being equal). Those of us on insulin estimate the appropriate amount to cover the carbohydrates and bring our blood glucose back down – e.g., if I eat 30 grams of carbs, I should take three units of insulin (for someone with a 1:10 insulin-to-carb ratio). If I eat 60 grams of carbs, I need six units of insulin. Pretty simple. However, that approach embeds what seems like an illogical assumption - namely, that all foods containing carbohydrates are created equal. In other words, if I eat an equal number of carbs of two very different foods – half a cup of black beans (30 grams of carbs) and 7.5 glucose tablets (30 grams of carbs) – I should still take the same three units of insulin. Is that really true? In a few simple experiments using my CGM, I found that this was not at all the case – at least for me. The same 30 grams of carbs of black beans and glucose tablets yielded strikingly different results in blood glucose. I’ve done two head-to-head trials comparing both foods – one without insulin (a baseline) and one with insulin. Below, you will find the results of my trials, along with a short review of the rese Continue reading >>

14 Foods That Could Change A Diabetic's Life

14 Foods That Could Change A Diabetic's Life

Print Font: When you think of managing blood sugar, odds are you obsess over everything you can't have. While it's certainly important to limit no-no ingredients (like white, refined breads and pastas and fried, fatty, processed foods), it's just as crucial to pay attention to what you should eat. We suggest you start here. Numerous nutrition and diabetes experts singled out these power foods because 1) they're packed with the 4 healthy nutrients (fiber, omega-3s, calcium, and vitamin D) that make up Prevention's Diabetes DTOUR Diet, and 2) they're exceptionally versatile, so you can use them in recipes, as add-ons to meals, or stand-alone snacks. 1. Beans Beans have more to boast about than being high in fiber (plant compounds that help you feel full, steady blood sugar, and even lower cholesterol; a half cup of black beans delivers more than 7 grams). They're a not-too-shabby source of calcium, a mineral that research shows can help burn body fat. In ½ cup of white beans, you'll get almost 100 mg of calcium—about 10% of your daily intake. Beans also make an excellent protein source; unlike other proteins Americans commonly eat (such as red meat), beans are low in saturated fat—the kind that gunks up arteries and can lead to heart disease. How to eat them: Add them to salads, soups, chili, and more. There are so many different kinds of beans, you could conceivably have them every day for a week and not eat the same kind twice. 2. Dairy You're not going to find a better source of calcium and vitamin D—a potent diabetes-quelling combination—than in dairy foods like milk, cottage cheese, and yogurt. One study found that women who consumed more than 1,200 mg of calcium and more than 800 IU of vitamin D a day were 33% less likely to develop diabetes than those taki Continue reading >>

Beans May Be Beneficial For People With Diabetes

Beans May Be Beneficial For People With Diabetes

People with Type 2 diabetes may be able to improve their health by eating a daily dose of beans, according to a new study. Research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine on Oct. 22 shows that subjects who consumed one cup of beans daily for three months were able to lower their blood sugar and blood pressure from their original levels, even more than another group who ate a high-wheat fiber diet. "People with diabetes did better in terms of blood sugar control on the bean diet versus a diet without beans, which was otherwise extremely healthy," says researcher Dr. David J.A. Jenkins, professor of medicine and nutrition at the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, said to WebMD. Beans or legumes are considered low-glycemic index foods. The glycemic index orders food by how they affect a person's blood sugar level. High glycemic scores are digested quicker and cause a spike in blood sugar, which is often followed by a quick drop in blood sugar levels. Low foods are digested slowly and raise your blood sugar slowly. Foods like white rice, watermelon and boiled red potatoes with skin are considered high on the index and have a score of 70 or up, according to the Mayo Clinic. Examples of low-glycemic foods include grapefruits, skim milk, raw carrots and apples, all of which receive a score of 55 and under. Medium foods, which score in the 56 to 69 range, include sweet corn, bananas and certain types of ice cream. The study involved 121 men and women who had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Participants were assigned to a group that was instructed to eat a healthy diet high in wheat fiber or a group told to eat a healthy diet including a cup of legumes a day (about two servings). They were also given a checklist of recommended foods and qua Continue reading >>

Can Beans And Rice Work In Your Diabetes Diet?

Can Beans And Rice Work In Your Diabetes Diet?

THURSDAY, April 12, 2012 — White rice and anything made with white flour are big diabetes diet "don'ts." Multiple studies have shown that as you digest these "white" foods, your body essentially treats them like sugar, which can cause a blood-sugar spike in patients with the disease and also increase a person's risk for developing diabetes. (Rice consumption is one reason diabetes rates are high among Asian populations.) Beans, meanwhile, are a complex starch that's thought to be a healthy component to most diets. Beans are high in fiber and protein, and contain essential nutrients, such as iron, zinc, and folate, as well as a compound that can inhibit the blood's ability to absorb sugar. So when you combine the good and the bad, does it add up to a diabetes-friendly dish? That's the question researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University posed in their recent study published in Nutrition Journal as part of an effort to help tailor diabetes care to cultural groups. After examining the blood glucose levels of adults with type 2 diabetes who consumed either pinto beans and white, long grain rice, black beans and white, long grain rice, red kidney beans and white, long grain rice or white, long grain rice alone, researchers found that the pairing of any type of beans with rice can help stop unhealthy blood sugar spikes. In the trial, blood glucose levels were significantly lower for the three bean and rice groups compared to the rice-only group after 90, 120, and 150 minutes. Because beans and rice are a popular food combination in the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean, researchers believe this new finding can help people living with type 2 diabetes in those cultures adhere to a diet that will help them better manage their diabetes Continue reading >>

What You Should Know About Diabetes And Beans

What You Should Know About Diabetes And Beans

Beans are a diabetes super food. The American Diabetes Association advises people with diabetes to add dried beans or no-sodium canned beans to several meals each week. They are low on the glycemic index and can help manage blood sugar levels better than many other starchy foods. Beans also contain protein and fiber, making them a healthy two-for-one nutritional component to every meal. With so many types of beans available, there is bound to be one that suits your palette. Learn more about understanding the glycemic index here. Benefits of beans When planning your meals, remember that 1/3 cup of cooked beans is considered one starch diabetic exchange. One diabetic exchange of beans provides about 80 calories and about 15 grams of carbohydrates. If using the beans as a replacement for animal protein, the serving size or diabetic exchange is 1/2 cup. For every half-cup of beans, make sure to account for one very lean protein exchange and one starch exchange. The nutritional information for beans varies slightly from bean to bean. Here’s the nutritional information, 1/3 cup each, for some beans you may want to try: Type Black beans Lima beans Red kidney beans Calories 75 60 73 Protein (g) 5 3 5 Carbohydrates (g) 13 11 12 Fiber (g) 5 3 4 Beans are a good alternative to meat because of their high protein content. Unlike meat, beans have no saturated fat and ample fiber, which makes them a healthy exchange. When looking at exchange lists, beans are usually grouped with starches such as breads and potatoes. But remember that beans tend to be much higher in protein and fiber than other starchy foods. Beans also provide significant soluble fiber, which feeds healthy gut bacteria and results in improved gut health and reduced insulin resistance in animal studies. More research Continue reading >>

Beans May Help Control Blood Sugar In People With Diabetes

Beans May Help Control Blood Sugar In People With Diabetes

Beans may help control blood sugar in people with diabetes A cup of beans or lentils each day, when combined with a low-glycemic diet, helped lower blood sugar levels and coronary artery disease risk in patients with type 2 diabetes. Those are the findings in a study published online Oct. 22, 2012, in Archives of Internal Medicine. Legumes, because they pack a lot of protein, help dampen the blood sugar response, and lower blood pressure. And as a good source of fiber, beans can help lower cholesterol, too. Researchers found that after just three months on the "bean diet," the patients' hemoglobin A1c levels (which reflect blood sugar level over a period of several weeks) had dropped half a percentage point. Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School. Find the best treatments and procedures for you Explore options for better nutrition and exercise I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month. Continue reading >>

Can Chickpeas And Lentils Help Control Diabetes?

Can Chickpeas And Lentils Help Control Diabetes?

They’re a common part of traditional diets in India and Latin America, but in western repasts, legumes or pulses — that’s lentils, dried beans, and chick peas — have generally been a culinary afterthought. That may soon change, however, thanks to new research suggesting legumes alone can improve the health of diabetics. The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicines, was funded in part by an association of legume farmers and confirms that simply changing what they eat can help diabetics reduce some of their symptoms, as well as lower their risk of heart disease — in as little as a few months. MORE: Guide: The 31 Healthiest Foods of All Time (With Recipes) Starting in 2010, researchers in Toronto, Canada, enrolled 121 patients with Type II diabetes and tested their blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and more. Roughly half of the study participants were randomly selected to add a cup of legumes per day to their diet. The other half were told to try to eat more whole-wheat products. After three months, the patients were tested again on the same measures. Both the legume-eaters and the whole-wheat-eaters saw a reduction in their hemoglobin A1c values — a marker of average blood sugar, for a period of several weeks. But that reduction was slightly larger among the legume group than among the whole-what group: 0.5% compared to 0.3%. And while those changes may seem small, the study authors say that drops of this magnitude are “therapeutically meaningful,” and can lead to fewer diabetic symptoms as well as lower doses of medication to control blood sugar levels. The legume-eaters also achieved modest reductions in body weight relative to the wheat group, losing an average of 5.9 lbs compared to 4.4 lbs, as well as drops in total choles Continue reading >>

Which Beans Are Good For Diabetics?

Which Beans Are Good For Diabetics?

Certain foods are particularly healthy for diabetics because they help balance blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of related disorders, such as heart disease. Beans contain high amounts of dietary fiber, the part of a plant food that the body cannot digest or absorb. All beans contain soluble fiber, which dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance that helps reduce cholesterol and glucose. This fiber is found in several types of beans. Video of the Day The deep, rich color of black beans is due to substances called anthocyanin flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that help cleanse the body of toxins and repair damage to cells, according to the site Health Mad. A cup of black beans contains 15 g of fiber, more than half the recommended daily requirement of fiber. This soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels for better diabetes control. Black beans also contain the mineral molybdenum and vitamin B6 or folate, an important nutrient for pregnant women and for protection against heart disease. Lima beans are also healthy for people with diabetes because they contain high amounts of fiber for digestive and colon health. This fiber-rich food helps your body control weight and stabilize blood glucose levels. Lima beans are good sources of the minerals manganese, magnesium and iron, which play important roles in energy metabolism and bone health. Manganese is also important for breaking down dietary fats, protein and carbohydrates. Lima beans also contain protein and carbohydrates and have few calories, little sodium and no saturated fat, according to nutritional info on the Peer Trainer website. Kidney beans are reddish brown and commonly used in dishes such as chili, rice and soups. This type of bean is healthy in a diabetic meal Continue reading >>

Beans Will Rock Your World

Beans Will Rock Your World

I’ve started eating a lot more beans. Why? They are healthy and cheap. They make me feel good, and it turns out they taste great if you prepare them right. Research shows that beans are even better if you have diabetes. A woman in my neighborhood got me started. We were talking about diabetes, and she said she had been diagnosed with Type 2 five years ago. But she now eats beans with every meal, and all her numbers are back to normal, including her glucose tolerance test. I figured I should look into it. Of course the first place to look is always Diabetes Self-Management‘s Amy Campbell. Here’s what she wrote in 2007: “Beans are a rich source of protein. One cup of beans contains about 16 grams of protein, the same as 2 ounces of meat or chicken. People who are vegetarians typically use beans and bean products as their main source of protein. Beans contain no cholesterol…and only about 1 gram of fat (non of it saturated, either).” That’s just the start. Amy says beans “also contains about 15 grams of [mostly-soluble] fiber…which can help lower cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease…Beans are also a great source of iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, as well as vitamin A and folate.” That column was from five years ago. Since then, others have been shouting the praises of beans even more loudly. According to Jim Healthy, editor of the Web site My Healing Kitchen, “Beans are best for diabetes,” because “they are loaded with all-important fiber, which slows the breakdown of carbohydrates into sugars in your bloodstream, assists your body’s insulin response to glucose, and helps you burn fat faster.” They will limit the spikes in glucose levels after meals. (See last week’s blog entry “Stop Spiking Those Sugars!”) H Continue reading >>

Are Black Beans Safe For Diabetics?

Are Black Beans Safe For Diabetics?

Q. I noticed that black beans are high in carbohydrates and was wondering whether they were safe for a diabetic to consume. Also, where can I buy high quality black beans? A. Beans, including black beans, do contain carbohydrates, but they also contain a significant amount of dietary fiber, protein, and other nutrients that result in a relatively low glycemic index rating. Foods with low glycemic index values are better choices for stabilizing blood sugar than foods with high glycemic index values, and most healthcare practitioners would support the inclusion of low glycemic index foods in the meal plan of a person with diabetes. Relatively high glycemic index foods have ratings above 50, and often between 75-100. Most beans have glycemic index values in the 20-50 range. As you can see, that places them on the bottom half of the glycemic index rating system. For more information on glycemic index see our article on that subject. Should you have specific questions as to whether black beans are supportive of your individual health, we suggest that you ask your healthcare practitioner. It's fairly easy to find uncooked, dry black beans at most supermarkets. However, unless those beans carry a certified organic label, you cannot be sure that you are getting the highest quality beans. Usually, my favorite place to find high quality black beans is at a natural foods grocery or health food store. That's because these stores often carry organic products. For more information on this topic see: Continue reading >>

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