There are few protein sources that fit as well into as many different diets as beans. Whether you're vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or cutting out refined sugar, beans are a filling, high-fiber staple food that can help cut your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Better yet, research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition recommends beans as part of a diet to reduce your diabetes risk. And for more reasons to add these tasty legumes to your meal plan, discover these 40 Reasons to Eat More Beans.
A hit among fashionable foodies and the health-conscious alike, kale may also play a role in the fight against type 2 diabetes. According to researchers from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the V.A. Hospital, high-fiber foods like kale can play a crucial role in lowering your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Even if you're not inclined to steam some for a side at dinner, kale is simple to incorporate into your food, whether you're using it in a salad or tossing some into your favorite Zero Belly smoothie.
Scramble it into your eggs, toss it into a smoothie, or add it to your salad—no matter how you eat your spinach, you're getting a healthy boost of vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and reducing your diabetes risk. In fact, research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recommends eating a high-fiber diet, like one full of spinach, as an easy way to control blood sugar.
Grabbing some grapefruit with breakfast may be the simplest way to reduce your diabetes risk before lunchtime. Research published in the Journal of Food Biochemistry reveals that enzymes in grapefruit can inhibit the biological mechanism responsible for diabetes and hypertension. Be careful adding grapefruit to your diet if you're taking medication for your cholesterol, however—the combination of the two can leave you with some serious side effects. And for more ways to indulge your sweet tooth while slimming down, enjoy The 25 Best Fruits for a Flatter Belly.
- Sweet Potatoes
Just because they've got "sweet" in their name doesn't mean sweet potatoes are a no-go if you're at risk for diabetes. The Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin suggests that sweet potatoes have anti-diabetic properties, reducing insulin resistance and improving abnormal glucose levels. Try them in the Zero Belly Cookbook recipe for sweet potato fries or bulk up your smoothie with the addition of a few slices.
Is there anyone out there who doesn't like blueberries? Fortunately, popping a few of these tasty berries can benefit more than just your taste buds. Doing so has a long list of health benefits, including improving insulin sensitivity, thus reducing the risk of diabetes, according to findings published in the Journal of Nutrition.
Tomatoes are America's most popular fruit, and it's easy to see why: they're tasty, they're versatile, and you can find them in cuisines spanning the globe. Anyone concerned with their health should be thankful for their ubiquity, too: research published in the Journal of Biochemistry suggests that eating tomatoes can neutralize oxidative stress in individuals with diabetes.
A little lox with your eggs or a salmon filet at dinner could help you reduce your diabetes risk and help you beat belly fat at the same time. Research suggests that omega-3-fatty-acid-rich foods, like salmon, can reduce your level of triglycerides, which have been linked to increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
You may have heard that certain sweet foods can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but you don't have to worry about pomegranate making that list. According to Nutrition Reviews, pomegranates can actually help lower your blood sugar, thus reducing your diabetes risk. The only bad news? We're pretty sure pomegranate martinis don't have the same effect. And for more incentive to add some ruby-hued treats to your menu, discover these 40 Ways Red Fruit Burns Fat.
A squeeze of lemon in your water or on your salad gives it more than just a bright, citrusy flavor—it may also improve your food's diabetes-fighting potential. The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology reports that the citrus flavonoids in lemons boosted the amount of mRNA, a blood-sugar-regulating enzyme, in mice with type 2 diabetes.
Tuna isn't just sandwich filler, it's also a tasty way to reduce your diabetes risk and make your whole body healthier. This protein-packed fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a study conducted at the University of Eastern Finland. Tuna may also play an important role in improving the health of those already diagnosed with diabetes, helping to lower that population's risk of heart disease and death, thanks to its inflammation-fighting properties.
- Brown Rice
If you thought that carbs were forbidden for those trying to fight off type 2 diabetes, think again. According to the American Journal of Public Health, whole grains can help reduce the risk of diabetes, particularly among those who have them take the place of refined carbohydrates in their diet, so don't be shy about ordering that side of brown rice with your favorite dish.
Heart disease and diabetes, meet your worst enemy: the almond. The Journal of Nutrition reports that almonds may help reduce insulin spikes following carbohydrate-rich meals, and research suggests that they may also decrease the risk of heart disease among diabetic patients. So, before you turn to a sugary snack as a pick-me-up, pick up some raw almonds first.
Quinoa's high protein and fiber counts and rich flavor have earned it plenty of popularity, but it's quinoa's anti-diabetic properties that should earn it a permanent spot on your menu. The phytoecdysteroids in quinoa have been shown to be effective in lowering the fasting blood sugar in obese mice with hyperglycemia, according to research published in Food Chemistry, so don't be afraid to add some to your favorite meal.
Add some flaxseed to that Zero Belly smoothie for a healthier gut, a less bloated belly, and a better chance of fending off type 2 diabetes. In addition to providing plenty of omega-3s and fiber, flaxseed has also been shown to lower blood sugar and insulin levels and improve insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese subjects.
Cutting down your diabetes risk may be as simple as having a bit of peanut butter every now and then. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that consumption of peanuts can help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, particularly among women. And for more incentive to add peanuts to your menu, discover these 40 Ways Nuts Fight Fat.
Saying goodbye to your risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes doesn't come from popping a pill—it comes in the form of sweet strawberries. Not only are strawberries a Zero Belly favorite, thanks to their belly fat-fighting resveratrol content, they may also lower your chances of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, according to a study published in The Journal of Medicinal Food.
If you're in need of some fresh ways to get vegetarian-friendly protein on your plate, swap out your usual bean dishes for lentils. In addition to being a satisfying, fiber-rich food, frequent consumption of pulses like lentils may lower your blood sugar, according to research conducted at the University of Guelph.
If you’ve been known to fight tooth and nail for the last slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, just remind your friends and family that you're doing it for your health. Research suggests that tasty pumpkin may have anti-diabetic effects, so go ahead and whip up your own batch of pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread. or pumpkin soup. Sorry, pumpkin spice lattes don't make the cut.
Steam it, sauté it, or add it to your omelet— just make sure you're getting some broccoli on your plate. According to the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, broccoli may help reduce insulin resistance, a key to cutting diabetes risk, so go ahead and make this crunchy cruciferous veggie part of your regular routine.