Fiber is more important than you think to a diabetes diet.
Diabetes is a serious chronic disease where the body’s ability to produce or use insulin is impaired.
Diet is one of more than 40 factors a person with diabetes can directly manage to see impact on day to day blood sugar numbers.
Because of this, a typical diabetes diet consists of foods that are low in sugar and high in fiber, which helps to keep blood glucose levels steady and in range.
Eating these types of food can help diabetes management, but it can be difficult to find out which foods offer diabetes-friendly benefits.
In this article, we will discuss 6 different foods with lots of fiber for people with diabetes.
What is fiber?
Fiber is found in the cell walls of plants and helps produce a feeling of fullness. It also slows down digestion, which makes you feel more satisfied after your meals.
There are two types: soluble fiber (which dissolves easily) and insoluble fiber (which doesn’t dissolve). Insoluble fibers help keep things moving through your system, while soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and diabetes risk.
Insoluble fibers are found in foods such as beans, whole grains (brown rice), vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower and fruit skins.
Soluble fiber is found in oats, applesauce, barley cereal bars with mixed nuts or seeds for flavorings.
Why fiber is important in a diabetes diet
Fiber is important for people with diabetes because it:
- Helps regulate blood sugar levels, which is important for diabetes management.
- Stabilizes hunger hormones and leads to greater weight loss.
- It also slows down the absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream. This means that less insulin is needed by the body.
- It reduces the risk of diabetes complications like high cholesterol and heart disease.
- Can be obtained from plant-based foods, which are also rich in vitamins and nutrients.
What is the recommended intake of fiber per day?
The recommended intake of fiber per day is 25-30 grams for adults, and 20 grams for children ages four to eight years old. Fiber in diabetes can be obtained through plant-based foods like beans and vegetables.
What are some ways people with diabetes can increase their fiber intake?
- Include beans in your diet as a protein source.
- Add whole grains to dishes and meals. This is especially important if diabetes is coupled with high blood pressure or heart disease risks.
- Increase the amount of raw produce you eat rather than processed
- Eating more high fiber foods like fruits and vegetables
- Adding whole grains to meals, such as brown rice or quinoa at breakfast
- Changing up the type of bread used for sandwiches by using a higher fiber option (ex. sourdough, Ezekiel) instead of white bread.
You want most of your fiber intake to come from actual foods, rather than supplements because it’s easier for your body to digest and you also get the benefit of nutrients from the foods you’re eating.
Table of contents
Fruits and vegetables with fiber
Since we know fiber is important, here are some foods that can help you increase your daily fiber intake.
Cauliflower is a diabetes-friendly food that contains fiber, vitamin C and beta carotene.
One cup of raw cauliflower contains 2.1 grams of fiber.
Cauliflower also contains a good amount of vitamin C and beta carotene.
Broccoli also has lots of fiber in it and an impressive amount of protein for vegetarians or vegans! Broccoli is typically easy to find.
Broccoli has around 27% of the daily value for fiber, and roughly 12% for protein.
Using frozen broccoli works just as well as fresh , and it’s a lot cheaper!
You can add broccoli into delicious dishes such as, quiche or macaroni and cheese.
Other easy preparations for broccoli are roasting it or steaming it. It’s also a great addition to stirfrys like this low carb beef and broccoli.
Bok Choy is a leafy green that can be found in many Asian dishes and has plenty of healthy vitamins! Bok Choy comes from the cabbage family and provides a large amount of vitamin C, calcium and iron.
One cup has about 1 gram of fiber in it.
It also contains 16-25% of the DV for both fiber and protein.
It’s also available year-round, and can be eaten raw or cooked. It’s tasty in a stir fry with garlic, ginger and soy sauce.
Pineapple is a great snack in moderation if you’re looking for extra fiber content. It has 2.3 grams of fiber per cup.
Pineapple also contains vitamin C, manganese and copper which are good for the body because they help with diabetes management, bone health and more.
Pineapple also offers some benefits for digestion.
It includes an antioxidant called bromelain which helps with digestion problems.
You can add pineapple to a smoothie as a fiber-rich ingredient or eat it fresh by cutting up pieces of this delicious fruit.
You can eat pineapple as a fruit or add it to other dishes such as fried rice or sandwiches for extra flavor and fiber.
It’s also a plant-based food with plenty of dietary fibers in it, which are good for people with diabetes.
Berries are high in fiber and have lots of flavonoids that help fight diabetes-related inflammation! Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries all offer diabetes benefits.
1 cup of strawberries has about 3g of dietary fiber.
Berries are high in fiber and have lots of flavonoids that help fight diabetes-related inflammation.
You can enjoy berries in many ways. They can be eaten as a snack or in cereal.
Peas can also be a great diabetes food because they contain vitamin C which helps with blood sugar levels. Peas typically have about 7g of fiber per cup, which is a lot for one diabetes-friendly food.
Peas are also low in calories and fat so they’re a great option for people with diabetes.
One way to add peas to a dish is to make a pea puree or add it to soups.
It’s also easy to freeze peas for later use.
The bottom line on these foods
The benefits of high fiber foods for people with diabetes are two-fold.
They can help keep you fuller longer and stabilize your blood sugars, which will result in better blood sugar management.
Managing blood sugar is important because it ensures that people with diabetes can live healthier lives and potentially reduce the risk of diabetes complications later in life.
Let me know in the comments if you incorporate these foods into your diet. Also check out some delicious, easy-to-make recipes!