More than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes, or nearly 1 in 4 adults living with diabetes. Leading a healthy lifestyle is one of the best strategies to prevent, and treat, type 2 diabetes, and even more specifically, eating a high-fiber diet is emerging as a key strategy you can use to lower your risk. What is fiber? Fiber is a carbohydrate that the body can’t digest which helps to slow down the rise in blood sugar after a meal. It is found in plant based foods. There are 2 types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Foods high in soluble fiber become sticky or gel-like when passing through the digestive tract which helps to reduce the absorption of cholesterol. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve and offers benefits to gut health such as reduction in the risk and occurance of hemorrhoids and constipation. Fiber also helps with weight management since fiber can make us feel full and satisfied as well as helps better regulate blood sugar levels. Since people with diabetes are at a higher risk for cardiovascular complications, fibers ability to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels is a great way to improve heart health.
Lentils are legumes packed with fiber and protein. About 40 percent of the total carbohydrate in lentils is fiber which helps to lower blood sugar. Lentils have protein, iron, folate, manganese, and phosphorus. Lentils are one of the top 10 high folate foods. According to USDA, there are 15 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein per servings of lentils.
Beans are the next one. A cup of cooked red kidney beans has about 13 grams of fiber, a cup of black beans has about 15 grams, and white beans have more than 18 grams. Not only do beans have fiber, they also have starch which is resistant to digestion. What that means is that beans don’t get into bloodstream quickly and affect blood sugar. Starch is also good for good gut bacteria. When bacteria make a meal of resistant starch, some fatty acids are formed which promote better use of insulin and healthier colon cells.
Nuts such as almonds and walnuts are great sources for fiber, protein, and omega-6 fatty acids.
Steam up an artichoke. Artichokes are packed with fiber and great source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and folate.
Avocados are good source of both fiber and health healthy omega 3 fats.
Peas are packed with vitamin A, C, and K and are great substitute for rice and other graims. According to USDA, one cup of peas has more than 7 grams of fiber.
One of my favorite vegetables is broccoli. A cup of raw broccoli offers 2.4 grams of fiber and almost same amount of protein. Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, K, folate, and potassium.
Berries are loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Raspberries and blackberries top the list of high fiber choices. Berries are thought to also prevent certain types of cancer and improve heart health.
Lastly try barley and oatmeal. Both of these are great sources of fiber. Try barley in place of rice or pasta, and replace breadcrumbs with oatmeal in meatloaf or for coating baked chicken or fish. Both of these contain fiber beta glucan which improves insulin action, lowers blood sugar, and helps sweep cholesterol from the digestive tract.