A super food is a food that contains multiple micronutrients and phytonutrients that provide health benefits. A diabetic super food is a specific super food that provides specific health benefits that help to reverse Type 2 diabetes.
Of course, many of these foods provide health benefits, whether you're diabetic or not.
Top 10 Super Foods Reverse Diabetes
These super foods are nutrient-dense powerhouses that contain a diverse array of phytonutrients, macronutrients and micronutrients that provide superior nutritional benefits and multiple health benefits for people with Type 2 diabetes.
As a result, these foods can help a Type 2 diabetic to better manage and control his/her diabetes; reverse their diabetes naturally; and, prevent the onset of major complications such as amputation and blindness.
When eaten on a regular basis (primarily in their raw form), these foods provide health benefits in the form of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, polyphenols, fiber, and healthy fats.
Each of these foods offer more nutritional value per serving than most other foods. In addition, most of these foods are inexpensive and readily available in most grocery stores and health food stores.
These foods provide key nutrients to the heart, brain, liver, kidneys, blood, and other key organs throughout the body. As a result, these foods help to prevent and fight many of the top diseases and illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and chronic fatigue.
Note: This "Top 10" list of foods has grown, based on new research and clinical findings.
Almonds and Walnuts | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
Almonds have been around since Biblical times, and are a staple in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. Almonds are rich in vitamin E and contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats which helps to lower the risk of heart disease. Healthy fats like the ones in almonds help lower LDL cholesterol if they replace saturated or trans fats in the diet.
Almonds: A quarter-cup of almonds also contains more protein than an egg. They’re also packed with magnesium, which helps boost production of the brain chemical dopamine — good for regulating mood and preventing depression.
In addition, almonds also contain fiber, riboflavin, and calcium. And, because of its fiber content, almonds, along with other high-fiber foods, may play a role in improving stomach problems, like irritable bowel disorders and diarrhea, and boosting calcium absorption.
The American Heart Association recommends eating a handful of nuts as one serving at least four times per week.
Researchers at Loma Linda University found that adding two 1-ounce servings of almonds daily to study participants’ diets helped them to achieve a better intake of key nutrients and helped them to lower their intake of dietary detractors like trans fats, excessive sodium, sugars and cholesterol.
Eating nuts may help protect against heart disease and inflammation, and research on walnuts showed that enjoying as little as eight to 11 walnuts daily reduced total cholesterol by up to 4 percent.
Note: Just be sure you avoid making the mistake of consuming nuts that are heated commercially as the fats they contain are perishable and will be damaged when they go through this type of processing. A new 21st century concern is pasteurization. For the last four years, nearly all commercial vendors of almonds are required to pasteurize them before sale.
Where to get them: Anywhere nuts are sold. If they don’t have it in your local market, Trader Joe’s has a wide selection. Many farmer’s markets feature a nut seller, who will be happy to answer your questions about the nutritional value of almonds, as well as offer samples.
Added bonus: Whether you’re craving salty or sweet, almonds make the perfect snack food. The roasted nuts come in a variety of flavors, like wasabi, BBQ, vanilla or cinnamon. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, swap out your peanut butter for almond butter. Mild and versatile, these nuts work well in sweet and savory dishes.
Walnuts: happen to be high in omega-3s, which research indicates can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and even depression. A daily handful of walnuts — which contains about 200 calories — is literally a generous handful of health.
Eat walnuts as a snack or incorporate them into your favorite recipes — adding chopped walnuts to any dish will lend a delectable crunch and nutty flavor.
Walnuts are packed with tryptophan, an amino acid your body needs to create the feel-great chemical serotonin. (In fact, Spanish researchers found that walnut eaters have higher levels of this natural mood-regulator.) They're digested slowly, which contributes to mood stability and can help you tolerate stress.
If you use walnuts as a pre-walk snack or add them to your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe, you may enjoy even greater cholesterol-lowering benefit. Walnuts are a rich source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a compound called ellagic acid that has been shown to reduce artery-forming plaque. Nuts are a truly heart healthy snack, topping or addition to any meal.
Note: Nearly all raw nuts are healthy for us due to their heart-healthy unsaturated fats and other phytonutrients.
Artichokes | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
If you've been huffing and puffing up the stairs, try these spiky-leafed vegetables.
They're loaded with magnesium, a mineral vital for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body—including generating energy, says Forrest Nielsen, PhD, a U.S. Department of Agriculture research nutritionist. "If you're not getting enough magnesium, your muscles have to work harder to react and you tire more quickly."
About 68% of us aren't getting enough of this mineral. For women, the goal is 320 milligrams (mg) per day. One medium artichoke provides 77 mg of magnesium (and just 60 calories!). Other top sources include nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
Asparagus | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
These spears are one of the best veggie sources of folate, a B vitamin that could help keep you out of a slump. "Folate is important for the synthesis of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine," says David Mischoulon, MD, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School. All of these are crucial for mood.
A cup of cooked asparagus has 268 micrograms (mcg)—two-thirds of the 400 mcg RDA for women. Add a cup of enriched pasta—which is fortified with folic acid, the synthetic form of folate—and you'll have a feel-good meal indeed.
Avocado | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
Avocados are high in healthy monounsaturated fat and have a rich source of glutathione – a powerful antioxidant known to block over 30 different carcinogens (a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue).
Avocados are also one of the most nutrient-dense foods; high in fiber, potassium, vitamin E, and magnesium.
Also, if you’re looking to banish wrinkles then stock up as they are packed with antioxidants and good fats, which help in your fight against the frown.
Avocados are an excellent source of healthful raw fat, which most Americans are seriously deficient in. They also provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including: Fiber, Potassium (more than twice the amount found in a banana), Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and Folic acid
In addition, avocados enable your body to more efficiently absorb fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein, in other foods eaten in conjunction.
Black Beans and Other Beans | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
Beans hit it out of the ballpark when it comes to nutrition. They’re loaded with the essential minerals, folate, magnesium and iron. Beans are the only food that crosses two categories on the food pyramid, Bazilian says. They’re both a complex carbohydrate and a protein source.
All types of beans (kidney, chickpeas, soybeans, dried peas and lentils) are low in fat and have anti-ageing properties but these small red beans have one of the highest antioxidant ratings. Typically used in Japanese cooking adzuki beans are a good source of carbohydrates, folate, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, manganese and zinc.
Beans are a fabulous source of vegetarian protein and fiber, two nutrients that help you stay full and satisfied. The protein and fiber in beans also tempers the rise in blood sugar that occurs after a meal, which can help stabilize mood. The fiber in beans also helps keep you regular (every half cup serving adds another 7 g of fiber to you daily total) Beans are low in fat and a good source of magnesium and potassium, nutrients that work together to lower blood pressure and keep your heart and blood vessels healthy.
However, beans are not a perfect protein because they lack some essential amino acids. However, adding an organic whole grain (such as quinoa or amaranth) fixes this problem, especially for vegans.
Added bean bonus: They're inexpensive! So stock up on canned, no-salt added varieties and add them to soups, salads, stews, and more!
People who regularly consume beans have better weight management and blood sugar regulation because of their soluble fiber. Black beans, in particular, have three times the amount of omega-3 fats than other beans, and their dark skin contains cancer-fighting chemicals called flavonoids.
A cup of black beans packs 15 grams of protein, with none of the artery-clogging saturated fat found in meat. Plus, they're full of heart-healthy fiber, antioxidants, and energy-boosting iron.
Note: If you’re wary of the fiber content, you can avoid digestive distress by easing beans into your diet slowly. Eat no more than half a cup at a time.
Where to get them: Canned beans are, by far, the most convenient – and they’re relatively cheap at 80 cents a can. But with a little planning, dried beans can save you even more money and aren’t too labor-intensive. Simply cover dried beans with water in a large bowl, let sit overnight with a bay leaf or two, drain, and voila! Your fresh beans are ready to cook.
Tip: Use half beans and half turkey to make chili, or adding beans to lean ground beef for sloppy Joes.
Blueberries and Other Berries | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
Blueberries are considered to be a nutrient-rich food. Eating blueberries will provide you with antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber. According to the MayoClinic.com, eating blueberries will help you age in a healthy way and prevent chronic diseases. Blueberries, which are low in calories, can be easily snacked on, added to cereals, and baked into breads and sweets.
Did you know that much of the power of blueberries lies in their color? That deep-blue hue is a by-product of flavonoids — natural compounds that protect the brain's memory-carrying cells (neurons) from the damaging effects of oxidation and inflammation. Since blueberries are one of the best sources of flavonoids you can find, it's no surprise that this food has been shown to help preserve memory function.
Blueberries, like other berries, also have a high water content, which makes them hydrating for your skin and other cells of the body.
Açai Berries: This exotic berry from Amazon was named by nutritionist Nicholas Perricone as one of the greatest foods in the world. They are packed full of antioxidants which can help combat premature aging and contain something called monounsaturated oleic acid, which helps omega-3 fish oils penetrate the cell membrane. There’s also amino acids and essential fatty acids, to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
Goji Berries: Also known as wolfberries, this Himalayan fruit contains all 18 amino acids (six times higher than bee pollen) as well as huge amounts of vitamin A, B1, B2, B6 and vitamin E. Gram for gram they are packed with more iron than steak and spinach, and more beta carotene and vitamin C than carrots and oranges, respectively.
Strawberries: They may not have the smoothest complexion themselves, but strawberries can get you one. They're loaded with antioxidants that help your skin repair damage caused by environmental factors like pollution and UV rays. Plus, they're packed with vitamin C (less than a cup gets you your entire 75 mg RDA)—the vitamin associated with fewer wrinkles and less dryness, per research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Broccoli | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
Low in calories and high in health-promoting polyphenols, broccoli is considered one of the most potent nutrient-dense foods. Broccoli is rich in fiber, folate, phytonutrients, vitamin C and vitamin A, all of which boost your immune system, protect your cells from being damaged by free radicals and improve reproductive health.
Broccoli also contains beta carotene, energy producing vitamins B3 and B5, potassium and chromium, which help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Regularly eating broccoli can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, cell damage, worsening eye sight and some forms of cancer. Broccoli is full of phytonutrients that neutralize free radicals, which may protect against cancer and reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia.
Cruciferous vegetables contain indole alkaloids that may suppress the growth of tumors and help prevent cancer. They are also high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Plus, foods from the cruciferous and cabbage family (including broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards and turnips) may help bolster memory as you age. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that people who eat the most of these foods are the least likely to be forgetful.
That’s one reason why Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D., author of Eat for Health and Eat to Live, recommends eating cruciferous vegetables every day.
In lab studies, sulforaphane, a chemical found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, actually made cancer cells like leukemia and melanoma self-destruct. A 2007 Chinese study found that the compound may slow down the spread of breast cancer.
To get the most out of this vegetable, try to eat it raw or lightly steamed — remember: cooking kills off most of its vitamin C. Include chopped broccoli in grain dishes, salads, soups, smoothies or as part of omelets or quiche.
Broccoli can be easily eaten raw as a snack, added to stir fries, pasta dishes and fajitas, or it can be steamed and eaten as a side dish with meals. The fiber in broccoli will help you remain full longer and keep your energy levels high.
Note: If you don't like broccoli, try cauliflower instead; or, add yellow/orange bell peppers, garlic and/or onions to your broccoli.
Brussels Sprouts | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
Brussels sprouts are a good source of protein, fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A (beta carotene), B-Complex vitamins, folate, manganese, iron and potassium.
Brussels sprouts also contain certain antioxidants compounds called glucosinolates and isothiocyanates that can reduce your risk of cancer.
Vitamin C keeps your immune system strong and protects your cells from free radical damage, which can reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.
Fiber keeps your digestive system working normally, encourages regular bowel movements and prevents constipation. Fiber also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol levels, which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Flavonoid antioxidants like isorhamnetin, quercitin, and kaempferol are also found in Brussels sprouts, as are the antioxidants caffeic acid and ferulic acid.
Brussels sprouts can help us avoid chronic, excessive inflammation through a variety of nutrient benefits. First is their rich glucosinolate content. In addition to the detox-supportive properties, glucosinolates found in Brussels sprouts help to regulate the body's inflammatory/ anti-inflammatory system and prevent unwanted inflammation.
A second important anti-inflammatory nutrient found in Brussels sprouts is vitamin K. Vitamin K is a direct regulator of inflammatory responses, and we need optimal intake of this vitamin in order to avoid chronic, excessive inflammation.
A third important anti-inflammatory component in Brussels sprouts is Omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA). Omega-3 fatty acids are the building blocks for the one of the body's most effective families of anti-inflammatory messaging molecules.
The anti-inflammatory nature of glucosinolates/isothiocyanates and other nutrients found in Brussels sprouts has been the basis for new research on inflammation-related health problems and the potential role of Brussels sprouts in their prevention.
Current and potentially promising research is underway to examine the benefits of Brussels sprouts in relationship to our risk of the following inflammation-related conditions: Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, insulin resistance, irritable bowel syndrome, metabolic syndrome, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, and ulcerative colitis.
Eggs (Organic) | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
Eggs received a bad rap because of the phobia tied to high cholesterol. But, the egg is an amazing source of high-quality nutrients that many people are deficient in, especially high-quality protein and fat.
Eggs: SuperfoodA single egg contains: 9 essential amino acids, high quality protein, lutein and zeaxanthin (for your eyes); choline for your brain, nervous and cardiovascular systems; and naturally occurring B12.
Proteins are nutrients that are essential to the building, maintenance and repair of your body tissues such as your skin, internal organs and muscles. They are also the major components of your immune system and hormones
Note: Ideally, you'll want to eat the whole egg, especially the yolk where most of the key nutrients reside. If possible, eat your eggs raw, or as close to raw as possible, such as soft-boiled or poached.
Note: If you choose to use egg whites, please don't eat them raw unless you also consume the egg yolks, otherwise you risk developing a biotin deficiency.
Flaxseed | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
Flaxseed, also known as linseed, is one of the ancient cultivated crops since Mesopotamian times, grown for its oil seeds, and fiber. The chewy seeds are packed with full of nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals, and essential vitamins.
Flaxseed: SuperfoodFlaseed is an excellent source of vitamin E, especially rich in gamma-tocopherol; containing about 20 g (133% of daily-recommended values) per 100 g. vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
The seeds are packed with many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates. Thiamin is an essential co-factor for carbohydrate metabolism and helps prevent beri-beri disease. Folates help prevent neural tube defects in the fetus when consumed during pre-conception period and pregnancy.
Furthermore, flax seed is rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
Flaxseed delivers the full benefits of Omega-3 EFA (alpha linolenic acid), the Omega-6 and Omega-9 EFAs, plus all of the fiber, protein, lignans, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, to help control blood glucose levels, appetite, and cravings.
Lignans are a type of natural plant chemical contained within the cell matrix of the flaxseed that act as plant hormones. When bacteria in the digestive tract act on plant lignans, these compounds are converted into potent, hormone-like substances, known as phytoestrogens. Research findings have concluded that the chemical release of these phytoestrogens is able to block the action of certain cancer-causing substances associated with breast, colon and prostate cancers.
Researchers believe these plant hormones mimic the body’s own estrogen type of cells and can block the formation of hormone-based tumors or growths. Unlike the hormones produced in the body, these plant hormones do not stimulate cancerous cells to grow. In fact, lignans boost production of a substance that fastens onto human estrogen and carries it out of the body. Lignans are also considered to be antioxidants; therefore, researchers believe they can protect healthy cells from free radical oxidative damage.
Garlic | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
Garlic is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food that protects against heart disease, reduces blood pressure and lowers cholesterol levels. It also has vitamins C and B6, manganese, and selenium.
Garlic is a source of a group of phytochemical compounds known as allyl sulfides. These compounds may be able to prevent cancer development by helping your body eliminate potentially cancerous substances, by inhibiting tumor growth and by causing cancerous cells to die. Allyl sulfides might also support health and immune system function.
The cardioprotective benefits of garlic may partly rest on the production of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas. Our red blood cells can take sulfur-containing molecules in garlic (called polysulfides) and use them to produce H2S. This H2S in turn can help our blood vessels expand and keep our blood pressure in check.
Garlic unique set of sulfur-containing compounds helps protect us against oxidative stress and unwanted inflammation.
In addition to the ability of garlic to help prevent our blood vessels from becoming blocked, this allium vegetable may also be able to help prevent clots from forming inside of our blood vessels.
Garlic can help prevent certain cells in our blood (called platelets) from becoming too sticky, and by keeping this stickiness in check, it lowers the risk of our platelets clumping together and forming a clot.
The allicin in garlic is able to lower blood pressure by blocking the activity of a protein (peptide) called angiotensin II. Angiotensin II helps our blood vessels contract. When they contract, our blood is forced to pass through a smaller space, and the pressure is increased.
By blocking the activity of angiotensin II, allicin is able to help prevent unwanted contraction of our blood vessels and unwanted increases in blood pressure.
Garlic's numerous beneficial cardiovascular effects are due to not only its sulfur compounds, but also to its vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium and manganese.
Garlic is a very good source of vitamin C, the body's primary antioxidant defender in all aqueous (water-soluble) areas, such as the bloodstream, where it protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation.
Since it is the oxidized form of LDL cholesterol that initiates damage to blood vessel walls, reducing levels of oxidizing free radicals in the bloodstream can have a positive effect on preventing cardiovascular disease.
Garlic's vitamin B6 helps prevent heart disease via another mechanism: lowering levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine can directly damage blood vessel walls and trigger arterial plaque formation.
The selenium in garlic can become an important part of our body's antioxidant system. A cofactor of glutathione peroxidase (one of the body's most important internally produced antioxidant enzymes), selenium also works with vitamin E in a number of vital antioxidant systems.
Garlic is rich not only in selenium, but also in another trace mineral, manganese, which also functions as a cofactor in a number of other important antioxidant defense enzymes, for example, superoxide dismutase. Studies have found that in adults deficient in manganese, the level of HDL (the "good form" of cholesterol) is decreased.
Throughout history in the Middle East, East Asia and Nepal, garlic has been used to treat bronchitis, hypertension (high blood pressure), TB (tuberculosis), liver disorders, dysentery, flatulence, colic, intestinal worms, rheumatism, diabetes, and fevers.
Garlic tops the National Cancer Institute’s list as a potential cancer-preventive food.
According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), part of the NIH (National Institutes of Health), garlic is widely used for several conditions linked to the blood system and heart, including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high cholesterol, heart attack, coronary heart disease and hypertension.
Tip: When you slice and crush garlic cloves, let them sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the enzymes to become active.
For more information about the benefits of garlic, refer to our Garlic web page.
Olive Oil (Extra Virgin) | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
Anyone familiar with the Mediterranean diet is aware of the nutrient power of extra virgin olive oil and its health benefits, as well as the wonderful flavor of a good dose of olive oil on salads, fish, pasta and almost anything else.
Statistics have shown that Mediterranean populations such as Spain, Italy and Greece, have significantly lower rates of coronary heart disease (CHD) than that seen throughout the rest of the world.
The quality of olive oil production - especially the stage of pressing - really does make a difference when it comes to health benefits. Recent studies have compared the anti-inflammatory benefits of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) obtained from the first pressing of the oil to the anti-inflammatory benefits of virgin olive oils (non-EVOO) obtained from later pressings.
Health benefits of extra virgin olive oil include the following:
A reduction in inflammation markers was identified by researchers that EVOO lowered the inflammatory markers in the blood when non-EVOOs were unable to do so. (Study measurements included blood levels of thromboxane A2, or TXA2, and leukotriene B2, or LBT2.)
This ability of extra virgin olive oil to help protect against unwanted inflammation is not surprising, since EVOO is known to contain stronger concentrations of phytonutrients (especially polyphenols) that have well-known anti-inflammatory properties.
Research has documented a wide variety of anti-inflammatory mechanisms used by olive oil polyphenols to lower our risk of inflammatory problems. These mechanisms include decreased production of messaging molecules that would otherwise increase inflammation (including TNF-alpha, interleukin 1-beta, thromboxane B2, and leukotriene B4); inhibition of pro-inflammatory enzymes like cyclo-oxygenase 1 and cyclo-oxygenase 2; and decreased synthesis of the enzyme inducible nitric oxide synthase.
In heart patients, olive oil and its polyphenols have also been determined to lower blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a widely used blood measurement for assessing the likelihood of unwanted inflammation. They have also been found to reduce activity in a metabolic pathway called the arachidonic acid pathway, which is central for mobilizing inflammatory processes.
Heart disease reduction has been identified in numerous studies of the Mediterranean Diet that olive oil intake contributed to a decreased risk of heart disease.
However, a recent group of studies has provided us with a fascinating explanation of olive oil's cardioprotective effect. One of the key polyphenols in olive oil - hydroxytyrosol (HT) - helps protect the cells that line our blood vessels from being damaged by overly reactive oxygen molecules.
Recent research studies have taken these heart-healthy effects of olive oil one step further. Olive oil's monounsaturated fat content (specifically, its high level of oleic acid) has now been determined to be a mechanism linking olive oil intake to decreased blood pressure.
Researchers believe that the plentiful amount of oleic acid in olive oil gets absorbed into the body, finds its way into cell membranes, changes signaling patterns at a cell membrane level (specifically, altering G-protein associated cascades) and thereby lowers blood pressure.
To our knowledge, this is the first time that the monounsaturated fat content of olive oil has been linked not only to cholesterol reduction, but also to reduction of blood pressure.
Anti-clotting benefits have been demonstrated by various laboratory studies have also found that 2-(3,4-di-hydroxyphenyl)-ethanol (DHPE), a phenol component of extra-virgin olive oil with potent antioxidant properties, is able to inhibit platelet aggregation (blood clotting) more effectively that other flavonoids. The phenol enriched portion of olive oil also demonstrated similar activity.
This is important because heart attacks and strokes are caused by blood clots which build up in the arteries of the heart or brain which have been narrowed due to atherosclerotic plaque formation. The ability to form normal blood clots to physical trauma is of course necessary to prevent hemorrhage (uncontrolled bleeding), however the degree of blood clot inhibition which would occur due to olive oil consumption would not be so severe that it would be dangerous at all.
Cancer prevention has been one of the most active areas of olive oil research, and the jury is no longer out on the health benefits of olive oil with respect to cancer. Twenty-five studies on olive oil intake and cancer risk - including most of the large-scale human studies conducted up through the year 2010 - have recently been analyzed by a team of researchers at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research Institute in Milan, Italy.
Firmly established by this research team were the risk-reducing effects of olive oil intake with respect to cancers of the breast, respiratory tract, upper digestive tract and, to a lesser extent, lower digestive tract (colorectal cancers). These anti-cancer benefits of olive oil became most evident when the diets of routine olive oil users were compared with the diets of individuals who seldom used olive oil and instead consumed diets high in saturated added fat, especially butter.
Digestive health benefits of olive oil for the digestive tract were first uncovered in research on diet and cancers of the digestive tract. Numerous studies found lower rates of digestive tract cancers - especially cancers of the upper digestive tract, including the stomach and small intestine - in populations that regularly consumed olive oil.
Recent research has provided us with even more information, however, about olive oil, its polyphenols, and protection of the digestive tract. One fascinating area of recent research has involved the polyphenols in olive oil and the balance of bacteria in our digestive tract. Numerous polyphenols in olive oil have been shown to slow the growth of unwanted bacteria, including bacteria commonly responsible for digestive tract infections.
Improved cognitive function - especially among older adults - is a well-known feature of the Mediterranean Diet. As the staple oil in that diet, olive oil has been of special interest for researchers interested in diet and cognitive function. In France, a recent study large-scale study on older adults has shown that visual memory and verbal fluency can be improved with what the researchers called "intensive use" of olive oil. In this case, "intensive use" meant regular use of olive oil not just for cooking, or as an ingredient in sauces and dressings, but in all of these circumstances.
Note: When you savor the peppery zing of extra-virgin olive oil, you’re tasting powerful antioxidants. The phytonutrients that bring the bite also have an anti-inflammatory effect on your body. That helps protect and repair the cardiovascular system, which constant fluctuations in blood sugar can damage. Olive oil is also incredibly versatile. It's appropriate for anything from salads to sautés. Best of all, it slows absorption of the carbohydrates it's paired with for a healthier glycemic load overall.
Raw Vegetable Juice | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
Raw vegetable juice provides key vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and other phytonutrients that help to prevent and reverse various diseases, especially heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
Scientist says that when you drink juice, the nutrients enter your bloodstream within 30 minutes, so you get the healthy benefits from fresh vegetables almost immediately.
Also, raw vegetable juice is easy on your digestive tract because the juicer removes the fiber, making it easier for your body to assimilate the nutrients from the raw vegetable juice. The enzymes in raw juice increases metabolism, so you will feel energized. Also, when your metabolism is higher, it’s easier to drop those unwanted pounds.
Since raw vegetable juice contains chlorophyll, this helps to strengthen your body through cellular cleansing. Chlorophyll assists the liver with detoxifying, it rebuilds blood cells, removes parasites and exotoxins, eliminates mold, and assists your body in preventing and eliminating cancer cells. It also assists your body by helping to stabilize your blood glucose level.
Sardines | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
Sardines get a bad rap. But before you toss this one back to sea, know this: These guys taste like tuna, are less fishy than caviar and come already de-headed – so they won’t stare back when you peel open a can.
Why it's a good food for women: Sardines are a cheap and convenient way to fill up on fish oil, vitamin D and calcium all at once, says Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., co-author of The Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes (Simon & Schuster).
"Just one can of bone-in sardines covers 125% of your vitamin D needs, 35% of your calcium and 88% of your daily selenium requirement,” she says.
Selenium, an antioxidant, helps keep the immune system fighting fit and protects our cells from damage.
Where to get it: For the healthiest catch, choose water-packed sardines without added salt.
Sardines get a bad rap. But, they provide many health benefits to the heart and the brain. Sardines and other small, fatty fish are high in essential omega-3 fatty acids that our bodies can only get from the food we eat.
As a result, sardines and other omega-3-rich fish help in a couple of ways: They're a great source of fat and protein to slow absorption of blood sugars, and they help protect your cardiovascular system, which irregular blood sugar fluctuations that can come with diabetes can damage.
The healthy fat in sardines is good for your brain, too, and may help fend off Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Also, sardines contain selenium, an antioxidant which helps keep the immune system fighting fit and protects our cells from damage.
Why it's a good food for women: Sardines are a cheap and convenient way to fill up on fish oil, vitamin D and calcium all at once. Just one can of bone-in sardines covers 125% of your vitamin D needs, 35% of your calcium and 88% of your daily selenium requirement.
Where to get it: For the healthiest catch, choose water-packed sardines without added salt from Portugal.
Seaweed | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
There are many types of seaweed, which has been used traditionally in Asian diets. Seaweed is low in calories, but high in nutrients. According to the Planet Green website, seaweed provides a number of benefits such as alkalizing your blood, promoting weight loss, deterring the formation of cellulite and providing protection from different environmental toxins.
Seaweed is commonly used in sushi, but it can also be used as a baked snack, as a seasoning, and as an added vegetable in soups and stir fries.
Spinach | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
Spinach is filled with antioxidants, including vitamin C and beta-carotene, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin — a duo that acts like sunscreen for your eyes and guards against macular degeneration.
One cup of fresh spinach leaves also provides almost double the daily requirement for vitamin K, which plays an important role in cardiovascular and bone health.
And of course you can't forget that spinach is a great vegetarian source of iron, which keeps your hair and nails strong and healthy. Use fresh spinach leaves as a base for salad or sauté it and add to an omelet.
Researchers in Sweden recently identified another way in which these greens might keep you charged: Compounds found in spinach actually increase the efficiency of our mitochondria, the energy-producing factories inside our cells. That means eating a cup of cooked spinach a day may give you more lasting power on the elliptical machine (or in your daily sprint to catch the bus).
Wheatgrass Juice | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
One of the more powerful green juices that contains concentrated levels of chlorophyll is wheatgrass juice.
Wheatgrass is a nutrient-rich young grass that helps to cleanse and detoxify the body. Wheatgrass provides a concentrated amount of nutrients, including iron, calcium, magnesium, amino acids; chlorophyll, and vitamins A, C and E.
Wheatgrass cleanses and builds the blood due to its high content of chlorophyll.
FYI: Chlorophyll is the first product of light and therefore contains more healing properties than any other element. All life on this planet comes from the sun. Only green plants can transform the sun’s energy into chlorophyll through the process of photosynthesis.
Chlorophyll is known as the ‘life-blood’ of the plants. This important phytonutrient is what your cells need to heal and to thrive. Drinking wheatgrass juice is like drinking liquid sunshine.
The high content of oxygen in chlorophyll helps deliver more oxygen to the blood. Oxygen is vital to many body processes, especially for the brain which uses 25% of the oxygen supply. This high oxygen helps support a healthy body.
Note: For more information about raw juice and wheatgrass, refer to the DTD Power of Raw Juicing ebook.
Note: Since bottled vegetable juices at health food stores are pasteurized, these bottled juices provide very little if any health benefits.
Wild Salmon | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
Salmon contain a rich supply of omega-3 fats which contribute to overall health by protecting against heart disease and some cancers. Additionally, omega-3 fats fight inflammatory conditions and depression. Wild Alaskan salmon is noted to be the best variety for its nutritional benefits.
Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which the body cannot produce by itself. These fatty acids reduce inflammation, improve circulation, increase the ratio of good to bad cholesterol, and may slash cancer risk. Salmon is a rich source of selenium, which helps prevent cell damage, and several B vitamins.
Wild Alaskan salmon is the best wild salmon, as long as its purity can be verified. Wild Alaskan salmon is an excellent source of: Essential animal-based omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA), Astaxanthin and other antioxidants, and High-quality protein.
Oily fish (such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards, kippers and fresh tuna (not canned)) is important because it’s rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which are especially useful in warding off heart disease. Most oily fish contains protein, zinc, selenium, vitamins A and D, and some B vitamins. Omega 3-rich seafood might help slow down macular degeneration (a common cause of age-related blindness), protect against the build up of cholesterol on the artery walls which can cause heart damage, and help reduce the impact of arthritis.
Bonus: There's wrinkle prevention on your plate: "Salmon is rich in a fatty acid called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a type of omega-3 that naturally helps block the release of UV-induced enzymes that diminish collagen, causing lines and sagging skin," says Ariel Ostad, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Omega-3s also regulate oil production in the skin and boost hydration, which helps keep your complexion dewy and acne-free.
Also, the fish's omega-3 fatty acids could help you fight flab more effectively. They alter the expression of certain genes, shifting your body to burn fat rather than store it.
Proof: In a study analyzing the diets of 35,000 women, published in Public Health Nutrition, those subjects who ate oily fish such as salmon two to four times per week had the lowest basal metabolic indexes, a common measure of body fat.
Be Careful: Don't buy your salmon from a bulk discount store -- more than likely, it's farmed salmon that has been injected with red dye.
Yogurt (Organic) | Super Food | Reverse Diabetes
Eating yogurt (or kefir) made from grass-fed raw milk is an excellent way to boost your immunity and increase your daily energy. Lowfat and nonfat Greek and regular yogurts contain 20 percent or more of your daily calcium needs. The mineral slows production of cortisol, a hormone that encourages belly-flab buildup.
Kefir is a traditionally fermented food that is chockfull of healthful bacteria (probiotics). In ancient times, food preservation was accomplished through lacto-fermentation, a process that adds a host of beneficial micro-organisms to food. This makes them easier to digest, and increases the healthy flora in your intestinal tract.
The importance of maintaining healthy balanced gut flora simply cannot be overstated. Far from simply helping your body to better digest and assimilate your food (which they do very well), probiotics influence the activity of hundreds of your genes, helping them to express in a positive, disease-fighting manner.
Friendly bacteria also train your immune system to distinguish between pathogens and non-harmful antigens, and to respond appropriately. This important function prevents your immune system from overreacting to non-harmful antigens, which is the genesis of allergies.
Probiotics can even help to normalize your weight, and lack of beneficial bacteria in your gut may play a significant role in the development of type 2 diabetes, depression and other mood disorders, and may even contribute to autism and vaccine-induced damage.
Be Careful: Most yogurts sold in grocery stores contain dead cultures, so they have very little nutritional value.
Note: Please beware that pasteurized products will not provide you with these health benefits, as the pasteurization process destroys most of the precious enzymes and other nutrients.
Other Healthy Foods That Help Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
Here are some other foods that contain key phytonutrients that provide multiple health benefits, including being able to help reverse your diabetes.
This fruit's 4 to 5 grams of fiber not only are filling but also help ferry out some of the fat and calories you take in from other foods.
The proof: People who ate an apple 15 minutes before lunching on cheese tortellini consumed 187 fewer calories in total than those who snacked on nothing beforehand, a study from Penn State University in University Park determines. How about them apples?
These crimson root vegetables are sweet, rich and buttery; and, provide nutritional value to the eyes, cardiovascular system and immune system.
Lower Blood Pressure. Beets are very effective at lowering your blood pressure because they contains nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide that relaxes and dilates your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering your blood pressure.
A 2008 American Heart Association study reported that beet (otherwise known as beetroot) juice helps in bringing blood pressure down.
According to Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth (Fair Winds Press), beets are loaded with potassium, which also helps to lower blood pressure.
Better Heart Health. Beets lower your risk of heart disease because they are a good source of folate and betaine. These nutrients work together to help lower your homocysteine, which has been shown to be responsible for plaque formation in your arteries.
The fiber in beets also works to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides by increasing the level of HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol).
Lower Cancer Risk. Beets contain high levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents that studies show may help reduce the risk of some cancers. They get their striking red color from betacyanin, a plant pigment that some preliminary research indicates might help defend cells against harmful carcinogens, prevent cell mutations, and slow down tumor development.
Also, high levels of a unique fiber found in beets may be linked to a lower colon cancer risk. Dr. Mehmet Oz has said on sharecare.com that adding a quarter cup of beets to your daily diet could cut your kidney cancer risk.
Beets are also high in folate, which we need to manufacture new cells and prevent DNA damage (a precursor to cancer).
Eye Protection. Beets are a good source of the antioxidants, beta-carotene and lutein. These antioxidants defends the eyes against the damaging effects of free radicals, which helps to protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Stamina Increase. Beet juice may also boost workout stamina because of its carbohydrate content. The extra glucose makes exercise feel less tiring so that you can go for longer periods, according to a 2009 English study.
Note: However, if you're diabetic, you should limit your intake of this vegetable or use organic beetroot powder instead.
A little known fact: one red bell pepper has twice as much vitamin C as an orange. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps clear your body of free radicals and keeps your skin and blood vessels healthy and strong. The vitamin C in bell peppers may also help prevent arthritis or slow the progression of the disease.
Red bell peppers also deliver beta-carotene and lycopene, two more antioxidants that have been associated with decreased risk of eye diseases like cataracts. And, thanks to their high water content, bell peppers of all colors are a high-volume, low-cal food that's very figure-friendly.
Don’t confuse tart cherries with the sweet black cherries usually found in the supermarket produce aisle. This fruit is most often used in baking and comes frozen, canned or as juice.
Why it's a good food for women: Tart cherries are anti-inflammatory and may be great for managing pain.
“They’ve long been used to treat arthritis and gout symptoms,” says Bazilian. Research in animals and humans suggests they can help relieve arthritis and post-workout muscle soreness, lower cholesterol and possibly even reduce body fat, according to a 2009 University of Michigan study.
Where to get it: Your cheapest bet: Buy them canned, for about $2.50 each, in the baking aisle. Tart cherries have the same zippy flavor as cranberries and taste good in smoothies or mixed with other fruits.
High in protein and loaded with fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse. The flour made from these nutty-tasting seeds is a great addition to a diabetes-friendly kitchen. “It actually lowers blood sugar due to the fiber and omega-3 fatty acid content,” says Amy Jamieson-Petonic, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and director of coaching at Cleveland Clinic.
There's some evidence that chia seeds help reduce belly fat -- the kind that contributes to insulin resistance. Substitute a quarter of your regular flour with chia flour (and experiment with higher ratios) in just about any baked good. Order the flour online, find it at health-food stores, or grind chia seeds in a food processor.
The bark of Cinnamomum trees contains phytochemicals that enhance insulin signaling and facilitate glucose uptake and storage by the body’s cells. Studies have shown that as little as a teaspoon of cinnamon a day may significantly decrease fasting blood glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
There are lots of ways to add more cinnamon to your diet. Sprinkle some in your tea, stir it into your morning smoothie, or add it to rubs for chicken or fish.
The two major types of cinnamon used in food preparation are Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon. While both Cassia and Ceylon are derived from the inner bark of Cinnamomum trees, Ceylon cinnamon is preferable because it is considered a finer quality spice due to its sweeter, more delicate and complex flavor.
In addition to flavor, a critical difference between Ceylon and Cassia is the coumarin content of Cassia. Cassia contains high levels of coumarin, whereas Ceylon contains either undetectable levels or only traces of coumarin. Coumarin is a naturally occurring toxin which has the potential to damage the liver in high doses.
However, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment concluded that you'd need to take about a gram per day -- 1,000 milligrams -- for six months or longer to be at risk.
Tip: Buy cinnamon sticks instead of ground cinnamon. Most of the ground cinnamon is anywhere from 6 months to 2 years old!
The unique taste of fresh cinnamon comes from its natural oils. But, cinnamon loses a lot of these oils (and nutrients) during the industrial grinding process, under the heat generated by the whirring blades.
Citrus fruit such as grapefruit, oranges, lemons and limes provide soluble fiber and vitamin C. The white part right underneath the skin contains hesperdin, a flavanone glycoside that fights cancer. Specifically, the limonoid compounds in limes have been shown to prevent cancers of the colon, stomach and blood.
Though the exact mechanism is unknown, scientists have observed that antioxidant limonoids also cause cancer cell death. Lime limonoids also stay active longer in your bloodstream, mopping more free radicals than green tea or dark chocolate.
Note: Citric acid is a natural inhibitor of kidney stones made of crystallized calcium. Go for fresh lime juice squeezed into water, as opposed to commercial limeades, for maximal benefits.
Coconut Oil (Extra Virgin, Cold-Pressed, Organic)
Half of the fat content in coconut oil is lauric acid—a fat rarely found in nature—that could easily qualify as a "miracle" ingredient because of its unique health promoting properties. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties.
Additionally, the naturally occurring saturated fat found in coconut oil also has some amazing health benefits, such as: Promoting heart health, Supporting immune system health, Providing you with an immediate energy source, Promoting weight loss, Supporting a healthy metabolism , andSupporting the proper functioning of your thyroid gland
Your body sends medium-chain fatty acids directly to your liver to use as energy. This makes coconut oil a powerful source of instant energy to your body, a function usually served in the diet by simple carbohydrates. Additionally, research has demonstrated that, due to its metabolic effect, coconut oil also increases the activity of your thyroid. And you've probably heard that a sluggish thyroid is one reason why some people are unable to lose weight, no matter what they do…
Perhaps one of the most interesting benefits of coconut oil is its potential to ward off, or perhaps even treat, dementia. According to research by Dr. Mary Newport, ketone bodies—an alternative fuel for your brain which your body makes when digesting coconut oil—may offer profound benefits in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.
Coconut oil is the ideal choice for all types of cooking. In fact, it's the only oil stable enough to resist mild heat-induced damage. So, whenever you need an oil to cook or bake with, use coconut oil instead of butter, olive oil, vegetable oil, margarine, or any other type of oil called for in recipes. And, if you must fry, by all means use coconut oil -- it's your smartest choice.
Believe it or not, chocolate is a healthy treat, as long as you choose wisely. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, antioxidants that have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, and boost overall heart health.
Choose chocolate that is at least 70 percent cacao or cocoa to optimize the antioxidant power and health benefits.
Dark chocolate may even boost your mood. While there's no scientific explanation for why, the rich taste and sensuous mouth-feel of a decadent piece of dark chocolate may be to thank. Just be sure to keep your portions in check — one ounce of dark chocolate has about 150 calories.
Very high on the happiness quotient, which alone is thought to add years to your life. Also contains flavonols, which are potent antioxidants.
Grapes (Dark Purple, Red)
Grapes provide vitamin C, vitamin B1 and vitamin B6, but mostly provide pleasure in their juiciness and sweetness. Red and purple grapes also contain powerful phytochemicals (especially phenolics) that may help decrease risk of cardiovascular disease. These phenolic compounds are housed mostly in the skin of the red grapes.
Resveratrol, a polyphenolic stilbene found in the skins of red and purple fruits including grapes, may be responsible for some of the health benefits ascribed to the consumption of red wine. Resveratrol has been shown to have anti-oxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory activity.
Enjoy grapes in salads, alone as a snack, or sliced in sandwiches, along with a handful of walnuts or almonds.
Tip for your children: Place a bunch of grapes in the freezer. Your kids can eat the frozen grapes like a popsicle while receiving its health benefits.
Green tea contains polyphenols, which may reduce heart disease, cancer and stroke risk. Green tea also supports brain health and memory, likely due a key compound in green tea called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a flavonoid. EGCG is thought to boost the immune system and prevent tumors. Aim for at least two cups daily.
Green tea — as well as black, white and red teas — is high in polyphenols and the flavonoid EGCG. Studies suggest that drinking tea every day can fight cancer, stroke and heart disease as well as boost the immune system and cognitive health.
Replace your daily soft drinks with calorie-free tea and take advantage of the many green tea infused drinks and food products.
Hummus, a Middle Eastern specialty, is a great addition to a diabetes-friendly plate. The fiber and protein in chickpeas -- 12 grams of dietary fiber and 15 grams of protein per cup -- help regulate the absorption of the sugars from the starch so your blood sugar stays on an even keel.
The healthy fats from the tahini (made from ground sesame seeds) and olive oil slows the absorption of sugars even more. Pair your hummus with vegetables and whole-grain crackers for an even greater effect.
Kale's dark green pigment is an indicator of its concentrated supply of beneficial compounds. Lutein and zeaxanthin both protect against cataracts, while abundant vitamin A and other carotinoids work as powerful antioxidants. Kale is a rich source of vitamin K, which benefits cardiovascular health and helps to keep bones strong.
Kale contains a type of phytonutrient that appears to lessen the occurrence of a wide variety of cancers, including breast and ovarian. Though scientists are still studying why this happens, they believe the phytonutrients in kale trigger the liver to produce enzymes that neutralize potentially cancer-causing substances.
Not only does it do a number on cancer, it also helps the heart. According to Jibrin, a half-cup of kale juice per day jacked up helpful HDL cholesterol by 27% and lowered artery-clogging LDL in just 12 weeks.
Kale is loaded with vitamin C, which is great for your complexion, along with calcium and vitamin A, Bazilian says. Leafy greens also contain nutrients — carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin – that help preserve vision and prevent eyestrain, a serious asset for those who stare at a computer screen all day.
Lentils are smart legumes when managing your blood sugar. They contain a good amount of starch (normally a no-no when managing blood sugar), which gives them a satisfying, hearty creaminess.
Lentils are also packed with both soluble fiber and insoluble dietary fiber.
Soluble fiber turns into a gel-like consistency during digestion, which slows absorption of the sugar molecules in the starch.
Insoluble fiber passes through the digestive tract without "registering" as a carbohydrate, while slowing down the whole digestive process so you stay satisfied and your blood sugar remains steady.
Nuts of all sorts -- walnuts, pecans, take your choice! -- are great for controlling blood sugar. Despite their diminutive size, nuts are power packages of protein, unsaturated (healthy) fat, and fiber. Those three factors have a positive impact on blood sugar levels.
In a recent study, participants who ate 2 1/2 ounces of nuts daily had an 8% decrease in their A1c levels.
Keep in mind that nuts also pack plenty of calories. Your best bet is to substitute nuts for high-carbohydrate foods, such as croutons or pretzels. Sprinkle them on yogurt and salads, or nibble them for a snack.
Once considered an exotic fruit, the beautiful ruby red pomegranate is bursting with antioxidants and delicious sweet-tart flavor (at only about 100 calories each).
Excellent for heart and brain health, pomegranate arils (seeds) can be tossed in salads, sprinkled on yogurt or ice cream, folded into muffin or pancake batter, used as a colorful garnish or simply snacked on as is.
Pomegranate juice can be enjoyed as a refreshing wake-me-up, turned into a sweet syrup, or transformed into a tasty trendy cocktail.
Pumpkin is good for a lot more than carving jack-o'-lanterns on Halloween — it's loaded with nutrients that will help your heart, bones, eyes, and skin.
Beta-carotene and potassium are the two standouts here:
Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that helps rejuvenate skin, protect your vision, and may even reduce risk of arthritis.
Potassium is a mineral involved in lowering blood pressure and maintaining healthy bones.
Use fresh or canned (no-sugar-added) pumpkin in stews, soups, pies, or pureed as a side dish — or add a scoop to some nonfat vanilla yogurt for a yummy snack.
Quinoa (pronounced ‘Keen-wah’) is a protein-rich seed that the Incas ate to give them strength and energy. It is gluten-free, high in amino acids, protein, vitamin B6, B1, B2, B3, and potassium. Plus it is a great source of copper, zinc, iron, magnesium, and folate.
Quinoa is a excellent grain for many reasons: It’s one of the few non-animal proteins that's considered a "complete protein" in that it has all of the essential amino acids your body needs to build protein molecules.
Plus, quinoa is a whole grain with germ, endosperm, and bran intact, bringing a host of nutrients and healthy fat to the mix. Quinoa is also a source of calcium, so useful for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.
Even better, all those benefits come with very little impact on your blood sugar level. A half-cup of cooked quinoa ranks just under 10 (that's low!) on the glycemic load scale. It's easy to add quinoa to meals. Try using it in place of white rice as a side.
Why it's a good food for women: Quinoa contains all nine of the essential amino acids. The building blocks of protein, amino acids make up our muscles, tendons, glands and organs. Since our body can’t manufacture or store them, we need a steady source from our diet.
Without even one of the essential nine, our muscles and organs would start to break down. Most of us get all that we need from meat, but vegetarians need a surplus of whole grains and legumes to keep their levels intact.
Unlike refined carbohydrates, which are stripped of nutrients and fiber during processing, organic whole grains are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Quinoa is a good source of magnesium, which helps relax blood vessels and maintain healthy blood pressure levels. It may even be help prevent migraines.
Note: Other organic whole grains that provide major health benefits include amaranth and bulgur. Amaranth seeds are between 14 and 16 percent protein, packed with the amino acid lysine, are gluten-free, and have about 8 grams of fiber per cooked cup. Bulgur is a type of cracked wheat kernel packed with a lot of fiber per cup (about 8 grams) and close to 6 grams of protein.
Sweet potatoes are good for your health, but not so much if they are baked into high calorie and high fat dishes. Eating sweet potatoes by themselves will provide you with carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Sweet potatoes are relatively fat free and very low in calories.
Sweet potatoes can provide a healthy alternative to sweets and desserts because of their natural sweetness. If you must add sugar to your sweet potato dish, use apple sauce, raisins or pieces of apples.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant rarely found in other foods. Studies suggest that it could protect the skin against harmful UV rays, prevent certain cancers, and lower cholesterol. Plus, tomatoes contain high amounts of potassium, fiber, and vitamin C.
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color and it helps absorb the damaging free radicals that can harm our cells.
Tomatoes are packed full of vitamins including vitamins A, C and E and contain potassium and other mineral salts. Not only does their high water content make them refreshing, but they’re low in calories too. It is thought tomatoes help ward against prostate breast cancers and stomach cancers as well as age-related macular degeneration.
Spinach, kale, chard, and other leafy greens are loaded with vitamins, such as folate; minerals, such as magnesium; a range of phytonutrients; and insoluble fiber -- all of which have virtually no impact on your blood sugar level.
Mark Hyman, MD, author of The Blood Sugar Solution, calls leafy greens "free foods," which means you should eat as many of them as you can. Bonus: The fiber in leafy greens will slow absorption of any carbohydrates (e.g., potatoes or bread) they’re paired with, resulting in a healthier overall glycemic load.
This vegetable group includes salad greens, spinach, collards, kale, radicchio, and watercress. Leafy vegetables may grow in tight loose heads or individually on stems. A few leafy greens, such as turnip greens and beet greens, are actually the tops of root vegetables.
Salad greens, such as lettuce, are usually served raw. Sturdier more flavorful greens, such as kale and collard greens, are usually served cooked. They can also be eaten raw.
Most leafy vegetables are rich in carotenoids (such as beta carotene), vitamin C, and are good sources of fiber and folate. They also provide varying amounts of chlorophyll, iron, and calcium.
Other Foods to Eat
Other foods that help to prevent diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure include vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choi, kale, Romaine lettuce; asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, okra, peppers, stringbeans, other greens (collard, turnip); sea vegetables such as chlorella and sea plankton; and, grasses such as wheat, barley, alfalfa.
Vegetables of other bright colors (green, red, yellow, purple, orange) include artichokes, avocado, bean sprouts, beets, carrots, chickpeas, mushrooms, onions, parsley, peppers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini.
Fruits include dark, bright-colored fruits such as açai berries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, elderberries, strawberries, apples, grapes, goji berries; apricots, avocado, figs, grapefruits, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangosteens, melons, papaya, peaches, pears, plums, pomegranates, prunes, raspberries.
Lean protein includes fish (wild salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, tilapia), nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, whey protein, whole soy foods (tofu, tempeh, miso, soy protein powder); lean, organic beef, chicken breast without the skin, turkey breast without the skin; goat’s milk, low fat plain yogurt; organic eggs, egg whites; low fat cheese, soy/tofu cheeses, blue-green algae (spirulina, chlorella); grains (amaranth, quinoa); wild game (venison, bear); organic seafood (shrimp, crab, lobster); and vegetables.
As you can, there is a tremendous diversity available with your food choices. The key is to figure out how to integrate some of these super foods into your meals and snacks.
If you need help, then, we recommend that you sign up for a class or get the author's Death to Diabetes Cookbook, which provides hundreds of meal recipes, snacks and even some desserts.
Disclaimer: This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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