OUTLOOK — By Maryam Khalfan — Did you know that there are super foods, which are ranked on top of the list of foods for fighting diabetes? The answer could be easy for a segment of the community in the health field and among those suffering from diabetes. But, for a person who is either not yet affected or who does not have a history or any knowledge of caring for a diabetic patient, the super foods to fight diabetes could be something new.
But, since having a wealth of health knowledge is important, knowing some of the foods that can fight diabetes is equally vital. It was when the writer of this article recently visited a health promotion centre that she interacted with exhibitors from the department of Family Medicine and Public Health of the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital (SQUH). I was inspired to see a highlighted list of the 10 best super foods for people with type 1 or 2 diabetes.
I was also inspired by the turnout of visitors to the stall who were interested to learn more about the super foods from which diabetic patients can choose from. It is amazing to learn that the same foods, which are locally available in the market in abundance can also be used by non-diabetic patients who are not allergic to the respective foods on sustaining healthy diet. Among such foods for instance include varieties of beans and the dark leafy green vegetables.
Also on list are the citrus fruits, sweet potatoes, berries, tomatoes and some varieties of fish. Equally important are foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains and fat-free dairy products.
Although, the list of so-called super foods is long, following are some of the top 10 foods and its health value for health conscious persons. For instance, it is said that: Although beans are high in calories, kidney, pinto, navy, black and other types of beans are rich in nutrients and high in fibre. They help you feel full for a longer period.
Dark, leafy green vegetables like spinach, collard greens, kale and other dark, leafy green veggies are dense in nutrients and low in carbohydrates and also low in calories. Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits and others are rich in vitamin C and are good for the health of the heart. But, it is good to stick to whole fruits instead of juice. Fibre in whole fruit slows down sugar absorption giving you the citrus fruit nutrients without spiking the blood sugar.
Sweet potatoes are known for being high in vitamin A and fibre, and low in glycaemic index. It is also said that sweet potatoes do not elevate the blood sugar levels as much as the regular potato does. As for the berries, the whole, unsweetened blueberries, strawberries, and other berries are full of antioxidants, vitamins and fibre. It is advisable to choose fresh or frozen berries for salads, smoothies or cereal.
Tomatoes are known for being low calorie super food, which can be consumed either raw or cooked. Serve sliced, steamed or stewed tomatoes, as a side dish in salads, soups or other dishes. Tomatoes are also rich in vital nutrients like vitamins C, iron and vitamin E. Varieties of fishes like salmons, tuna, mackerel, halibut and herring, are all rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which is helpful for the health of the heart and to fight diabetes. But, to benefit from its nutrients, it's advisable to avoid breaded or deep-fried fish.
Likewise, whole grains like pearled barley, oatmeal, breads and other wholegrain foods are high in fibre and contain nutrients such as magnesium, chromium, folate and Omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts have good fats with Omega-3 that improves heart health and provides other benefits too. But, since they are high in calories, it is mostly recommended to have an intake of 1.5 ounces a day, small handful of either almonds or walnuts. Dairy products like fat-free milk and yogurt do not only provide the calcium and vitamin D the body needs, but they also help curb cravings.