Best vegetables for people with diabetes

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When you have diabetes, not all vegetables are created equal.

While most vegetables are packed with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, some will affect your blood sugar much differently than others.

Keeping a list of starchy vs. non-starchy vegetables on hand will help you make the best choices when you’re grocery shopping or eating out.

Non-starchy vegetables

Non-starchy vegetables are the best for diabetes, as they are naturally low in sugar, carbohydrates and calories. Some common non-starchy vegetables include:

-Artichokes
-Asparagus
-Baby corn
-Bean sprouts
-Brussels sprouts
-Cauliflower
-Carrots
-Eggplant
-Peppers
-Greens (collard, kale, turnip, romaine, spinach etc.)
-Tomato

If you fill your plate mostly with non-starchy vegetables that are steamed or cooked in a light amount of oil, you generally don’t have to worry about portion sizes with non-starchy vegetables.

One study from Newcastle University even found that a low-calorie diet consisting mainly of non-starchy vegetables could successfully reverse type 2 diabetes.

Starchy vegetables

Starchy vegetables, like potatoes, green peas, beans or pumpkin, can still be enjoyed when you have diabetes, but certain precautions should be taken. First, note that the proper serving size is about 1/2 cup to one cup, depending on the vegetable. Cooking starchy vegetables can also raise their glycemic index profile, so you should account for that when meal planning around your blood sugar. Starchy vegetables are also higher in calories – especially if they are cooked in fat.

Canned vs. fresh

Fresh vegetables are always preferable to frozen or canned, as the latter two varieties can contain added sodium, sugar, and calories.

If you’re using canned vegetables, be sure to drain and rinse them before cooking in fresh water – this will cut down the sodium content.

Source: Healthline, American Diabetes Association

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