What healthy food meets energy and protein needs, delivers anti-inflammatory, antioxidant polyphenols, burns body fat, and helps control blood sugar levels? The answer is beans and lentil. Beans contain the highest percentages of resistant starch, followed, at some distance, by whole unrefined grains. This means that these “resistant” foods break down very slowly, thus avoiding any spiking of blood sugar levels. Beans are a superfood meaning they are rich in fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins yet low in fat and cholesterol free. Diabetics and those people interested in weight loss find value in beans because beans have a very high fiber content as well as a low glycemic index. Some foods do not register on the glycemic index. Foods such as meat, fish, most dairy products except milk, or eggs do not have a measurement on the glycemic scale.
Scientists consider a starch as resistant if it resists digestion in the small intestine and ends up in the large intestine as more of a fiber. The fiber in beans helps to feel full while promoting a healthy digestive tract and helping to lower blood cholesterol levels. Although they may be carbohydrate rich, beans can be extremely healthy in maintaining overall basic health. Beans are often referred to as the diabetic starch of choice because beans break down so slowly in the body during digestion that they rarely spike the blood sugar levels like other starches such as wheat flour or white rice.
Whether you prefer kidney, pinto, navy, or black beans, you can’t find better nutrition than that provided by beans if you have diabetes. They are very high in fiber, giving you about 1/3 of your daily requirement in just 1/2 cup and are very good sources of magnesium and potassium. Even though they are considered starchy vegetables, a 1/2 cup provides as much protein as an ounce of meat without the saturated fat. If you do not have time to cook your beans the “old fashioned” way in a pot on the stove or a slow cooker then you can use canned beans but be sure to drain and rinse them to get rid of as much of the “blood-pressure raising” sodium as possible. After rinsing beans under cold running water, they’re ready to add to your favorite recipe. They are excellent when added to soups, casseroles, salads and dips such as hummus. Beans can be added to just about any dish!
The reason this may be very beneficial for diabetics is that these resistant starches lower glycemic response and helps reduce the insulin spikes that often follow the ingestion of starches and sugars. Eating low-glycemic, low-fat foods such as beans and lentils is a healthy way to lose weight without spiking your sugar levels or adding excess bad fats into your diet. Low-glycemic foods tend to keep you full longer and tend to contain the nutrients that your body needs to maintain optimum health. Eating a pH balanced diet high in a variety of nutrients will help keep your blood sugar steady and your hunger in at bay. Vegetable or plant-based foods (like beans!) are your best options for protein. Olive oil, nuts, avocados and seeds are healthy fats to eat when eating low glycemic foods.
Which Beans are Low-Glycemic Foods?
- White Northern Beans
- String Beans
- Red Kidney Beans
- Black-Eyed Peas
- Most Beans…
When beans are added to the diet, they help with weight normalization for several reasons. Beans are very high fiber, they increase fat-burning potential after you eat them, and they act as natural starch blockers. As an added benefit, beans also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Beans are being replaced by rice in many developing third world countries. For this reason, diabetes is soaring in these countries at a record-breaking pace. Beans compared with rice contain much more fiber, certainly more protein and they typically have a lower glycemic index — meaning they induce much lower insulin responses. There is nothing wrong with eating rice but is much healthier when beans are the dominant plant based food on your plate. Rice breaks down fast and spikes the blood sugar levels. For this reason, many type 2 diabetics tend to avoid eating much rice. If you have to eat rice then I highly recommend that you eat brown rice. The fiber content is higher than white rice and it contains more nutrients due to less processing.
Spicy Black Bean soup
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 3 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 3 – 15-ounce cans black beans
- black pepper, to taste
- shredded cheese
- fresh chopped basil
Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, cook 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, cumin, chili powder and oregano.
Puree one can of black beans, add to pot. Add a second can of black beans (do not puree). Drain last can of black beans and add to pot (do not puree).
Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add black pepper, to taste. Top with shredded cheese.
The advantages of eating a diet high in fiber-rich beans are starting to be recognized. Scientists have discovered that among overweight and obese adults, a diet rich in slowly digested carbohydrates, such beans, lentils and other high-fiber foods significantly reduces markers of inflammation associated with chronic disease. This alone gives everyone a good reason to eat more legumes in our diet as obesity and diabetes are rampant among the American population. Consider eating more bean recipes daily so that you can enjoy the health benefits of this ancient food. And let’s not forget the great flavor of the hundreds of different dishes you can fix for your family. Not finding a way to work this healthful and delicious food into your diet is disrespectful to your body and health! Control your Type 2 Diabetes and Reverse Blood Sugar levels with Alkaline foods
Randy Powell, Eating-Veggies.com