4 "Off-Limit" Foods that Actually Fight Diabetes

Don't assume that having diabetes means there's no room in your diet for some foods you may think are no-no's. Surprise! Here are 4 foods that may actually help you fight diabetes.

With diabetes you may feel some foods have to be avoided all together—especially sweet one. You may worry that if you have even a bite of these so called ‘off-limit foods’ your blood glucose levels will spiral out of control. Well I have some very exciting news for you! Many of the foods you assumed you couldn’t have are actually fine to eat with diabetes. In fact, these foods may actually help you to fight the disease! Who wants to eat to that?

#1. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity.

Did the thought of mini chocolates scare you more at Halloween than the ghoulish costumes? Many individuals with diabetes feel that chocolate is a forbidden food. However, dark chocolate doesn’t have to be avoided. Some research even suggests you should be eating it more often to help improve blood glucose management! One study found that when individuals with type 2 diabetes consumed 20 grams (just about three-quarters of an ounce) of polyphenol-rich dark chocolate per day, there was an improvement in insulin sensitivity. 

Now it can’t be just any chocolate. A bag of M&Ms is not going to improve your blood glucose, but dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacao or above just may. In addition, some research has found dark chocolate to lower blood pressure levels, giving you a leg up in the fight against heart disease.

#2. Sweet Potatoes

Carotenoid-rich sweet potatoes play a role in how the body responds to insulin.

After hearing you were diagnosed with diabetes, one of the first foods you probably removed from your diet was potato. And you may assume that potatoes labeled ‘sweet’ would be an even worse option for blood glucose levels. But actually this deliciously sweet starchy vegetable is packed full of nutrients that may help you better manage your blood glucose levels. Sweet potatoes are packed full of carotenoids, an orange and yellow pigment that helps play a role in how the body responds to insulin . In addition, the natural plant compound chlorogenic acid is found in high levels in sweet potatoes and may play a role in reducing insulin resistance .

#3. Raisins

raisins are a healthy snackA new study shows raisins may be a better snack for glycemic management than the popular 100-calorie snack pack options.

These tiny, wrinkled fruits often get a bad rap for spiking blood glucose levels, but a new study seems to disprove that. The University of Kentucky research found that when individuals with type 2 diabetes snacked on a one-ounce bag of raisins three times per day before meals, they saw a 23% reduction in postprandial glucose levels than those who snacked on a 100-calorie snack pack.  These same individuals also saw a 19% reduction in fasting glucose levels and a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure. So before you pass on the dried fruit, you may want to consider using it as a snack replacement for improved glycemic management.

#4. Whole Grain Pasta

whole grain pastaWhole grain pasta has been found to offer some great health benefits including improved insulin sensitivity.

That’s right! Having diabetes does not mean having to give up pasta. Sure, the regular refined flour spaghetti can send blood glucose levels soaring, but whole grain options can offer some great health benefits. One study published in “Diabetes Care” found that overweight women increased their daily intake of soluble fiber, found in large amounts in whole grains, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes was decreased thanks to an improvement in insulin sensitivity . Whole grain pasta made with bean flour, oat flour, quinoa flour, or whole wheat flour are all good sources of soluble fiber. In addition, weight reduction meal plans rich in whole grains have been associated with an increased reduction in waist circumference and visceral fat, a fat that can increase insulin resistance .

Updated on: February 8, 2017
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