When it comes to preventing type 2 diabetes, it’s the big picture that’s most important: Research shows that losing weight at a rate of about a pound a week on a diet moderate in fat and calories effectively helps prevent the disease. But if you’re looking to get the most out of your healthy meals, try incorporating these five diabetes superfoods.
“It’s not that any one of these foods is a magic bullet, but they are fairly unique in the nutrients they provide,” says Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, a registered dietitian and president of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association. “Above all, these are foods that are appropriate for weight management and also for heart health, and we want to put all that together for a diet that prevents diabetes.”
Whole grains “There’s increasingly strong evidence that high fiber, whole-grain foods have a role in preventing diabetes even above and beyond just losing weight,” Mayer-Davis says. Fiber also slows the progression of food through your system, which can help you more fully absorb the nutrients in your entire meal.
Dark leafy greens Any fresh veggies are essential to preventing diabetes, but spinach, collards and kale are also a good source of iron without the saturated fat found in animal products. Plus they can help fill up your plate if you’re feeling deprived by smaller portions.
Lowfat milk Dairy may seem like a diet-buster, but lowfat milk, yogurt and cottage cheese can be worth the extra calories, as they boost your intake of both calcium and, if they’re fortified, vitamin D.
Sweet potatoes One of just a handful of foods rich in vitamin A, sweet potatoes also boast a ton of fiber. And their sweetness can make them feel like a treat, especially sprinkled with a touch of cinnamon.
Salmon Omega 3 fatty acids, like those found in salmon and certain other fishes, help protect your heart, which is crucial in diabetes prevention. Just try to avoid adding extra fat, especially saturated, when you prepare it.