Type 2 Diabetes is a complex health condition that can be managed with lifestyle habits such as exercising regularly and following a healthy and balanced diet. A diabetic diet should limit or exclude foods that cause a sudden spike in blood glucose (sugar) levels. Low carbohydrate and low sugar vegetables are ideal for diabetics. Keep reading to find out more about low-carb vegetables for the better management of diabetes.
A balanced diet comprising all food groups is an essential aspect of the management of diabetes, and thus, vegetables should form an important part of a diabetic’s diet. Vegetables contain protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and contribute to your overall well-being.
However, not all vegetables are constituted the same. Due to their diet restrictions, diabetics have to pay attention to how much carbohydrate is contained in a vegetable. Starchy vegetables such as corn, potatoes, and yams are high in carbohydrates and can have a direct effect on your blood glucose (sugar) levels. Thus, they should be consumed in moderation.
Eating more non-starchy or low-carb vegetables can provide you with essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fibre, without spiking your blood sugar levels. Low carbohydrate vegetables also contain less sugar and can be termed as low sugar vegetables.
The amount of carbohydrates in a vegetable can be indicated on the Glycemic Index (GI) scale. The GI scale assigns a number to carbohydrate-containing foods according to how much the food increases blood sugar levels.
The index ranges from 1 to 100 and is divided as follows:
Low-carb vegetables have a GI of less than 55 and are considered ideal for diabetes management because they have a lesser impact on your blood glucose levels.
Let’s have a look at some low carb vegetables that diabetics can include in their diet.
These vegetables offer nutritional benefits to support the overall health of individuals with diabetes without spiking their blood sugar levels:
Mushrooms come in various types. Most of them have similar nutritional profiles and can be great for individuals with diabetes. 100 g of white mushrooms contains the following nutrients:
The GI of mushrooms is between 10-15, which is extremely low. Mushrooms are rich in selenium and certain B vitamins, which are linked to improved brain function. Selenium is also a potent antioxidant that plays a key role in thyroid function.
You can savour mushrooms by grilling or roasting them, or adding them to soups, sandwiches, or curries.
Spinach is a non-starchy vegetable, a rich source of fibre, and has a low GI of 15, which makes it a great vegetable for diabetes. Every 100 g of raw spinach leaves provides the following nutrients:
Spinach is high in iron, folate, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K1, and potassium content. The antioxidants in spinach help fight oxidative stress.
You can try adding spinach to omelettes or curries or even consider adding it to your salads, soups, and stews.
Kale is a powerhouse of nutrition with fascinating benefits for diabetics. Kale has a very low GI, between 2 and 4.
Following is the nutritional profile of 100 g of raw kale:
Apart from being packed with antioxidants, kale also provides more than your average daily recommended intake of vitamin A and vitamin C, which is beneficial for eye and bone health, and even helps prevent chronic diseases.
Use kale just like you would spinach, to make delicious and nutritious pastas, salads, and soups.
Apart from being loaded with beneficial vitamins, minerals, and fibre, broccoli has a very low GI of 15. 100 g of raw broccoli provides the following nutrients:
Broccoli is rich in vitamins C and K, and may help decrease insulin resistance in Type 2 Diabetes. It is also considered to protect against several types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
You can eat broccoli raw, or blanch, steam, or stir fry it to retain the nutrients. You can prepare broccoli soup or add broccoli to your snacks or daily meals.
One of the most popular low-carb vegetables, the GI of cauliflower is between 5 to 15. Despite being low in calories and carbs, cauliflower scores very high in nutritional content.
The following is the nutritional value of 100 g of cauliflower:
Cauliflower is high in vitamins K, C, B6, and folate. It also contains potassium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. It is high in fibre and promotes digestive health. It is also a good source of antioxidants and may help prevent heart disease and cancer.
You can consume it raw, or cook it by steaming, roasting, or sautéing it. It can be added to curries or combined with soups and salads.
As a diabetic, you need to be aware of the nutritional content of each and every thing you consume. So when it comes to carbs, which are good and which are bad? In this article, we help you tell the difference.Read Now
Do you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or tired frequently? Can't concentrate? These can be signs of low blood sugar levels. Know what to eat when blood sugar is low.Read Now
Eating healthy with prediabetes need not be complicated or expensive. Learn more about the prediabetes diet and Indian foods to include in it.Read Now