Diet Guide & Principles
When you are a diabetic, you have to be especially careful about your diet. While most vegetables are good for diabetics and are always a part of a healthy diabetes diet plan, certain root vegetables that are high in natural sugars can get left off the diet list for fear that they may cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Beetroot is a classic example of this. In fact, most people don’t know that beets and diabetes make a good combination!
High in folate, vitamin C and alpha-lipoic acid , beets can be extremely beneficial for diabetics who suffer from nerve damage. According to Society for Biomedical Diabetes Research, alpha-lipoic acid seems to delay or reverse peripheral diabetic neuropathy through its multiple antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that drinking beet juice can heal nerve damage and treat both pain and numbness of hands and feet in diabetics.
Beets are high in fiber, potassium, nitrate content, folate, and metabolites. While their glycemic index is 64, the natural sugars in beetroot don’t readily covert into glucose too quickly, so it doesn’t cause a spike in blood glucose levels.
In fact, beetroot juice high in dietary nitrate improves cognitive function in diabetics when consumed consecutively for 14 days. In a study done by NIHR Exeter Clinical Research Facility and Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Science, University of Exeter Medical School to study the effect of dietary nitrate on blood pressure, endothelial function, and insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes, it was reported that dietary nitrate rich beetroot juice used for clinical trials improved cognitive function in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Beets are exceptionally good for diabetics who suffer from high cholesterol , high blood pressure and/or are at risk to cardiovascular diseases .
Beetroot for diabetes is an excellent treatment to increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes because it is rich in both betalain and neo betanin. Both these nutrients help lower glucose levels, which is very helpful for diabetes patients. This makes beets a healthy choice for those at risk for insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, diabetes type 2, and cardiovascular diseases as well.
Since there are a number of beets benefits for diabetes , it makes sense to add beetroot to your healthy diabetic diet. Raw beets are great in salads. Beautiful deep purple-red beets dress up a plate of salad and add a nutritional punch too. Eating salads every day is also a great way for diabetics to lose weight.
If you aren’t a fan of raw beets, roasting beets in the oven brings out the natural sweetness. Roasted beets are easy to add to salads, curries and eaten as a side dish when tossed with crumbled goat’s cheese and balsamic vinegar. Boiled beets can be made into a mash and eaten as a side dish too.
However, beet juice and diabetes gets the maximum traction with dieticians and nutritionists alike, as juicing this vegetable result in the most bioavailable form of neo betanin, ascorbic acid, potassium, vitamin E, phenolic acids, carotenes, and phytoestrogens to the body. If you choose to juice beetroots, keep the skin on as it’s packed with essential dietary fiber, which is excellent for Diabetes Type 2 patients.
We can’t negate the fact that beetroot is high in natural sugar, so it’s best to add beets carefully and moderately into your diabetic diet plan . Here are few tips to make the most of beet benefits for diabetes.
Add beets to your morning salad or drink a glass of beetroot juice in the afternoon, so the natural sugars convert into glucose slowly and steadily throughout the course of the day. Avoid eating beets late in the evening.
While beetroot juice is beneficial for diabetics, make it a point to also eat beets in salads, as whole vegetables contain more essential dietary fiber.
In the beginning, measure your blood glucose levels two hours after consuming beets, especially if your blood sugar level is too high or unmanageable. It’s a good idea to consult your nutritionist about including beetroots in your diet if you have any concerns.
If you aren’t a huge fan of plain beetroot juice, you can juice it along with other vegetables like spinach and carrots to make it more palatable.
If you feel fatigued post a workout, a glass of beetroot juice will give instant energy and help boost stamina. Beetroot juice is a great choice for post-workout supplementation.
Crunchy raw beetroot is cut into matchsticks and mixed with feta cheese along with sliced pears to make an easy snack. Use a little bit of lemon-oil dressing and season with some salt and pepper for well-rounded flavor.
An excellent light supper or lunch treat, this frittata is made with roasted beets mixed with eggs and goat’s cheese, baked to perfection in the oven. Serve with some simple salad leaves like pea shoots or spinach – delicious!
For those who love to start their day with a healthy glass of juice, this nutrient-packed combination is an excellent choice. Run veggies through juicer, strain, and enjoy your brightly colored juice in a long-stemmed glass!
This sweet and earthy roasted beetroot recipe makes a great accompaniment to roast chicken or lamb. Simply peel fresh beetroot, cut into wedges, and roast in a pan for 40 minutes with lots of garlic cloves, fresh thyme and a drizzle of olive oil.
A delightful salad that combines soft roasted beets with crunchy snow peas, cucumbers and carrots! Dice all vegetables and crumble in the feta cheese. Drizzle with a light dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.
A Gentle Reminder
Since beetroot is high in oxalates, they are not recommended for diabetic patients who are also prone to gall bladder and kidney stones.
1. Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Diabetic Neuropathy – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2836194/
2. Dietary nitrate supplementation improves reaction time in type 2 diabetes: development and application of a novel nitrate-depleted beetroot juice placebo – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24858657
3. Effects of a beetroot juice with high neobetanin content on the early-phase insulin response in healthy volunteers – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25191617
4. The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425174/