For those looking to eat better and improve control over their diabetes, legumes can be an excellent dietary choice in both regards. Beans, lentils and peas are all considered part of this family, and each of them has its own unique benefits to offer. Part of the reason why legumes are beneficial is due to their potent dietary content that contains vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. This unique combination of essential nutrients is what makes foods belonging to this family an excellent choice for anyone looking to improve their health.
There are many different types of legumes, but a few in particular stand out as being especially effective in helping those with diabetes. We recommend trying to incorporate the following five into your diet:
- Black beans: This type of legume is extremely popular in South and Central America, where it is served as an accompaniment to most dishes. Black beans are packed with protein and important minerals while also being a good source of fiber. This latter nutritional property is what makes it effective in controlling blood-sugar levels, improving digestion and promoting cardiovascular health. Preliminary studies also suggest that black bean’s anti-inflammatory properties may be effective in preventing the development of many diseases, particularly colon cancer.
- Garbanzo/Chickpeas: Another common legume which is immensely popular in the Middle East, India and Mediterranean countries. Similar to other beans, chickpeas are an excellent source of minerals, fiber and protein. This legume is known stabilize blood-sugar levels, promote cardiovascular health and improve digestion. Chickpeas are also thought to help with weight loss by making individuals feel more “full”, making it an excellent dietary choice for those looking to shed a few extra pounds.
- Lentils: This legume has the advantage of being both nutritionally potent and extremely affordable, making it a practical option for many dieters on a budget. Lentils are known to help control blood-sugar, promote cardiovascular health and improve digestion. Keep in mind however that the green variety the richest in fiber, while the red has the highest antioxidant count.
- Peas: Similar to lentils, these tasty legumes are both nutritionally rich and affordable, which makes them a great buy when shopping on a budget. Peas are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and fiber, and are thought to help control blood-sugar levels and promote cardiovascular health. Recent studies have also suggested that they are effective preventing the development of stomach cancer.
- Kidney Beans: This popular legume is similar to other foods on this list with its potent fiber and mineral content. However, kidney beans also contain substantial amounts of specific nutrients which are thought to give them with some unique benefits. For example, it is thought that their vitamin B12 content plays a role in helping individuals maintain their memory. Aside from this, kidney beans are known to help control blood-sugar levels, promote cardiovascular health and help with digestion.
Any of these legumes would make a great addition to your diet, but make sure to first speak to your doctor or specialist before making any sudden changes to your diet.