A healthy diet, which is rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals and is low in simple and processed sugars and carbohydrates, is necessary for one to live a healthy life. In the case of diabetic individuals, a healthy diet is even more important.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 29.1 million Americans have diabetes. Parents as well as nutritionists have been teaching the important fact to children that vegetables are part of a healthy diet. However, although vegetables contain complex carbohydrates, fiber, and protein, not all vegetables are equally healthy options for diabetics. Some vegetables contain more starch than others do and can elevate blood sugar concentrations to an unhealthy level for diabetics.
Blood sugar (or blood glucose) is the amount of glucose present in the blood. Blood sugar levels rise and fall based on what foods an individual has eaten. In individuals without diabetes, the body easily regulates blood sugar levels by releasing an insulin hormone; however, diabetics do not produce enough insulin and have blood sugar levels that are too high as a result. Diabetics must be very conscious to eat foods that will keep their glucose levels within a prescribed target range. Vegetables that have a low glycemic index (GI) are healthier for diabetics than vegetables that have a high glycemic index, for they do not raise blood sugar levels as highly as high-GI vegetables do.
In summary, an individual can keep his blood sugar under control by eating and enjoying healthy meals with vegetables that will not cause a spike in blood sugar. First, one must remember that not all carbohydrates nor vegetables are created equal. Second, he must choose to eat those vegetables that are low in carbohydrates and that are low on the glycemic index to keep his blood sugar levels in check. Third, one must prepare a vegetable in such a way that its glycemic index can be kept as low as possible. He must also remember to consume vegetables along with healthy fats, fiber, and protein, because those nutrients are necessary to lower the glycemic index of an entire meal. Finally, he may do well to take a second serving of those vegetables that can possibly prevent Type 2 diabetes, such as carrots, celery, and spinach.
To discuss the positive or negative influences that vegetables can have on blood sugar levels might seem petty to some; however, for diabetics, living with diabetes and choosing the proper foods can be a life-or-death situation.