Leafy greens are leaf vegetables, such as kale, collards, spinach, endives and beet greens. They contain a wide variety of essential nutrients, yet are low in fat, calories and carbohydrates. They are available year round and should play a major part in your diet, especially if you are suffering from or are at risk for developing diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects the way your body uses sugar. The pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin in order for the glucose (sugar), to be absorbed into the cells of the body. This forces the glucose to remain in the bloodstream, and if not monitored it can get dangerously high.
Low in Fat and Carbohydrates
Research shows that diabetes is linked to obesity. Obesity is often the result of too many unhealthy fats from animal proteins such as red meat and high-fat dairy. According to researchers, a diet that is high in red meat, high-fat dairy and refined grains can increase your risk of diabetes by as much as 18 percent.
Leafy greens, on the other hand, contain no unhealthy fats, but can supply you with similar nutrients that are found in animal proteins. As a result leafy greens can help you to keep your weight under control, so that you do not have to worry about diabetes.
Carbohydrates are converted into sugar in the body. This can cause your blood sugar levels to rise especially if you are diabetic. Leafy greens however, contain low amounts of complex carbohydrates which are not readily broken down in the body. Therefore, eating them is safe if you have diabetes–they will not spike your blood sugar levels.
Restores Vitamins and Minerals
Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes both have been linked to a deficiency in vitamins. Leafy greens can help restore this vitamin deficiency, as they are loaded with essential vitamins and other nutrients. Vitamins E and K are found in spinach, swiss chard, collards, turnip greens and mustard greens.
Magnesium is found in leafy greens such as spinach and beet greens, as well as other leafy greens that are grown in magnesium-rich soil. Magnesium is an essential trace mineral that will help to regulate your blood sugar levels. A deficiency will increase your risk of diabetes.
Restoring nutrients to your body with leafy greens is the safest way to do so, because the vitamins in leafy greens are balanced. Therefore, you do not need to worry about overdosing on certain vitamins.
Leafy greens can help your symptoms of diabetes, and may even help to reverse the disease. They contain a high number of antioxidants that can help your body to neutralize any free radicals that my be inside. Too many free radicals put you at a higher risk of developing diabetes.
One of the beneficial antioxidants that is found in leafy greens is alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). It can help you reduce your risks of kidney failure and diabetic neurophathy.
According to studies you can reduce your risk of developing diabetes by 10 percent for every additional serving of leafy greens that you add to your diet.