These are staggering numbers! With this type of prevalence, it’s important for everyone to get somewhat familiar with this condition as anyone is ripe for its clutches based on lifestyle habits. So, what exactly is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is also a “chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose).” When it comes to type 2 diabetes, it’s all about “your body either [resisting] the effects of insulin … or [not producing] enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.” Step back … what’s insulin?
Insulin is a “hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use.” This hormone is also crucial in regulating your blood sugar levels, particularly keeping them “from getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia).” Okay, so can you do anything about type 2 diabetes?
This is where the good news comes in! Yes, absolutely! Lifestyle plays a huge role in both preventing and managing type 2 diabetes including physical activity, stress management, and, of course, diet. Oftentimes, depending on the severity of the specific case, type 2 diabetes can be completely managed by “losing weight, eating well, and exercising.” While there are many ways to incorporate physical fitness and stress-reducing tactics into your life, when it comes to diet it turns out that going plant-based may be your best bet at tackling type 2 diabetes. Multiple health studies have found that switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet that cuts out processed and refined products actually decreases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. On top of that, plant-based diets are also effective at managing a healthy weight, which reduces the risk of being overweight, obese, or collecting dangerous adipose or visceral fat that can lead to the increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Plus, when it comes to incorporating the right foods, there are actually a few diabetes superfoods that you can focus on! The following recipes focus on each of these 10 plant-based diabetes superfoods including non-starchy veggies, tomatoes, berries, citrus fruits, walnuts, flax seeds, beans, dark leafy greens, and whole grains.
We also highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help you get healthy! And, don’t forget to check out our Whole Foods Archives!
1. Tarragon Roasted Asparagus
When it comes to veggies, it’s important to choose those non-starchy options! Non-starchy veggies have fewer carbs, yet are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. This Tarragon Roasted Asparagus recipe by Tara Binder is based around folate-rich and non-starchy asparagus.
2. Tomato and Mushroom Tortellini Soup
Tomatoes are not only chock-full of antioxidants, but they also make the diabetes superfood list due to two factors. First, they are a non-starchy fruit, which means they have a lower glycemic (GI) index ranking, which means they won’t affect blood sugar as drastically as other starchy, high GI fruits. Second, they’re rich in lycopene is a “powerful substance that may reduce the risk of cancer (especially prostate cancer), heart disease, and macular degeneration.” This Tomato and Mushroom Tortellini Soup recipe by Elsa Brobbey is a super filling and wonderfully rich meal based around those lovely tomatoes!
3. Probiotic Berry Smoothie
Just because your kicking refined sugar doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy moderate amounts of natural sugar! Especially if that natural sugar is also wrapped up and packaged with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. This Probiotic Berry Smoothie recipe by Kristina Jug and Mitja Bezensek is loaded with berries, which are not only antioxidant powerhouses, but also happen to be one of the lowest glycemic index fruits.
4. Breakfast Bowl With Oats, Pistachios, and Grapefruit
Start the day off right with a diabetes superfood from the citrus group! This Breakfast Bowl With Oats, Pistachios, and Grapefruit recipe by Steph McKercher is loaded with the whole grapefruit, which means you’ll be enjoying the juice and the pulp and all the wonderful nutrients that come with that including digestive slowing fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
5. Spinach Crepes with Thyme Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Walnut Sauce
Get your walnuts on in a diabetes-friendly diet! Walnuts are rich in “alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that boosts heart health and lowers cholesterol,” as well as “vitamin E, folic acid, zinc, and protein.” On top of that, they are also rich in other healthy fats — such as monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and a bit of saturated — which can help to curb hunger, prevent overeating, and maintain a healthy weight. It’s also been found that by “substituting nuts and other healthy fats for carbs [you] can help lower blood sugar.” This Spinach Crepes with Thyme Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Walnut Sauce recipe by Anna Sue slathers this super healthy and filling crepe and sweet potato concoction with a delicious walnut-based sauce!
6. Wholegrain Flaxseed and Sesame Crackers
Seeds are rich in vitamins, minerals, and healthy fat while being low in carbs and low on the glycemic index. In particular, flax seeds are incredibly rich in “magnesium, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids,” all of which are excellent nutrients for a type 2 diabetes-friendly diet. This Wholegrain Flaxseed and Sesame Crackers recipe by Namita Tiwari provides a great avenue to enjoy crackers without all those super damaging processed ingredients that generally come along with store-bought crackers.
7. Superfood Kale Salad
Dark leafy greens truly hit the mark on every chord! When it comes to a dark leafy green that’s also a diabetes superfood look no further than kale. Kale has “more than 100 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A and K” and it also contains “chemicals called glucosinolates that help neutralize cancer-causing substances.” On top of that, kale is “full of potassium and has been shown to help manage blood pressure.” This Superfood Kale Salad recipe by Medha Swaminathan will load your body with powerful antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.
8. Mushroom Pearl Barley Risotto
Whether you’re a whole grain person or not, you can’t ignore the nutrient-dense power of this plant-based category! Most whole grains are “full of antioxidants and soluble and insoluble fiber,” which are known to “metabolize fats and keep the digestive tract healthy.” This Mushroom Pearl Barley Risotto recipe by Niki Webster sources barley as its whole-grain staple to create a creamy risotto topped off with tasty, savory mushrooms.
9. Sesame Roasted Beets and Greens
Looking for another non-starchy veggie besides asparagus to add to the mix? How about giving naturally sweet and earthy beets a try? This Sesame Roasted Beets and Greens recipe by Sonnet Lauberth gets you all the goods with non-starchy beets, bright greens, and nutrient-dense sesame seeds.
10. Raw Ketchup
One of the most difficult challenges of removing processed food from your diet is finding healthy replacements for those condiment staples. Luckily, we’ve got you covered! This Raw Ketchup recipe by Nikki Stokes is loaded with tomatoes — a diabetes superfood! — and uses zero refined sugars! Instead, you’ll get that sweet tangy flavor from apple cider vinegar, naturally sweet Medjool dates, and a dash of onion and garlic powder.
11. 3-Ingredient Berry Cereal
Another hurdle when kicking diabetes-aggravating process foods is finding a low-sugar, super-healthy cereal that’s also great tasting. This 3-Ingredient Berry Cereal recipe by Sara Grandominico not only hits the mark by using date paste instead of sugar, but it’s also loaded with diabetes superfoods such as berries and whole grain rolled oats.
12. Orange and Fennel Arugula Salad
If you’re looking for the perfect summer salad that also incorporates some of those awesome diabetes superfoods, try this Orange and Fennel Arugula Salad recipe by Diane Smith. Along with those greens, you’ll also be infusing your diet with some citrus! Plus, this salad calls for the entirety of the orange, including the pulp, which means the sugars from the juice will be slowed down by that lovely dietary fiber.
13. Fall Superfood Detox Salad
Another salad to give you a run for your money! This Fall Superfood Detox Salad recipe by Viktoria Radichkova is loaded with multiple diabetes superfoods including walnuts, cabbage, and beets. Plus, you’ll get healthy doses of those wonderful satiating healthy fats from extra virgin olive oil and avocado.
14. Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Thought you couldn’t find a cookie recipe that also meets your diabetes-friendly diet? This Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe by Taavi Moore sources a diabetes superfood flax seeds along with a slew of other healthy substitutes such as coconut oil, non-dairy milk, molasses, almond and oat flour, and dark chocolate. Consider opting out on the coconut sugar and substituting dates.
15. Kale Stem Pesto
Let’s end on a high note with all-around superfood kale! This Kale Stem Pesto recipe by Linda Ly is a super unique take on pesto, sourcing its pulp from kale stems, parsley stems, and toasted walnuts. A great way to infuse your diabetes-friendly diet with a few diabetes superfoods!
Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.
For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some great resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
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