Summer Staples to Stabilize Blood Sugar

Posted on by Neal Barnard, MD, FACC

vegetablesResearch has shown that plant-based diets are powerful in many ways, from trimming away excess pounds to reducing cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. A new study shows that they also help with late-stage diabetes. Researchers tested a vegan diet for people with diabetic neuropathy, often experienced as numbness or as a stabbing, tingling, or burning sensation in the feet or hands. Participants in this 20-week study lost 14 pounds, improved diabetic neuropathy pain, and lowered LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. By improving blood sugar control, they also reduced the risk for other diabetes complications, including stroke and kidney failure. Perhaps surprisingly, the participants found the diet easy to follow. One of the keys to success is planning ahead, which often means stocking kitchen cupboards, desk drawers, automobiles, and travel bags with healthful options – a winning strategy for summer vacations, day-to-day travel, and unexpected delays. Here are five diabetes-friendly foods to help stabilize blood sugar that are easy to find, store, and assemble. Beans: A three-bean salad pairs well with onions, herbs, and bold spices. Serve alone or combine with fresh romaine lettuce for a fiber-packed salad, which (thanks to the beans) lowers the glycemic load of your next meal. Greens: Leafy greens are nutrition powerhouses, ranking high on nutrient-density scales. Try Swiss chard, dinosaur kale, or collard greens as a base for a vegetable wrap, salad, or colorful breakfast smoothie. Fruit: Apples, bananas, oranges, and pears are the ultimate fast food. They fit into most travel bags, lunch boxes, and stack together nicely for a colorful kitchen display. Nondairy milk: Make your own or pick up portable, child-friendly containers of rice and soy milk. To keep it healthful, look for options with less than 3 grams of fat per serving. Whole grains: Black rice, quinoa, steel-cut oats, and pasta all serve as quick meal options by adding just a few extra ingredients. Remember to opt for low-glycemic options. A plant-based diet is easy to customize among a variety of food preferences, budgets, and seasonal palates. This variety is what makes it an effective choice for both diabetes prevention and management. Learn more about the study and access plant-based meal plans at PhysiciansCommittee.org/Diabetes. Photo from here, with thanks.