Three Foods that Slash Blood Sugar Among Diabetics
According to Mexican researchers, three functional foods can help people with type 2 diabetes lower their blood sugar levels naturally, when included in a balanced diet. The foods are chia, cactus pads, and soybeans.
Chia seeds may be unfamiliar to many Americans, but that’s likely to change soon. These foods are riding a wave of new popularity, and they’ve been showing up on store shelves more often recently. Chia has been consumed in Central America for centuries, and the tiny nutrient-packed seeds are rapidly taking over North America now. Cactus pads, which are edible vegetables stripped of their thorns, have also been consumed in the desert Southwest for centuries. They occasionally turn up in better-stocked American grocery stores, and are a staple food in Latin American specialty groceries across the country.
According to researcher, Nimbe Torres y Torres, from the Institute of Biomedical Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), combining these three foods regularly in the diet can significantly reduce blood sugar levels among diabetic patients. "People with diabetes who include cactus in their diet reduce glycated hemoglobin, triglycerides and free fatty acids,” she said.
Chia seeds are a source of the essential nutrients known as omega-3 fatty acids. They also supply fiber and protein, and they’re rich in antioxidants. In animal models, soy products decrease the secretion of insulin, and lower blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels, by up to 20 percent. Soy has a low glycemic index, meaning it does not cause a sharp spike in blood sugar levels, followed by spikes in insulin. Just one cup of soybeans supplies more than half of a person’s daily requirement for protein.
For best results, cactus pads should not be overcooked. "Mexicans tend to overheat food, diminishing nutrients,” said Torres y Torres, “in the case of the cactus it should not be cooked more than 10 minutes. It is very important that the viscous part is retained because that contains the soluble fiber that works as a prebiotic."
Investigación y Desarrollo. "Diabetic patients! Cactus, chia and soy decrease high glucose in blood." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2015. .