Diabetic diets should include high fiber foods such as lentils. Adding fiber to a diabetic diet will help stabilize your blood sugar.
Health Benefits of Lentils
Lentils, a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Lentils help lower cholesterol. They are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal.
But this is far from all lentils have to offer. Lentils also provide good to excellent amounts of seven important minerals, our B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat. There are only 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils. This tiny nutritional giant fills you up—not out.
Diabetic Diets Benefit from Lentils
Diabetic diets benefit from the rich content of fiber in lentils.
Lentils—A Fiber All Star
Check a chart of the fiber content in foods; you’ll see legumes leading the pack. Lentils, like other beans, are rich in dietary fiber, both the soluble and insoluble type. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that helps transport cholesterol out of the body. Research studies have shown that insoluble fiber not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.
Lentils Give You Energy to Burn While Stabilizing Blood Sugar
In addition to its beneficial effects on the digestive system and the heart, soluble fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels. If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, legumes like lentils can really help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy.
Studies of high fiber diets and blood sugar levels show the dramatic benefits provided by these high fiber foods.
- Researchers compared two groups of people with type 2 diabetes who were fed different amounts of high fiber foods.
- One group ate the standard American Diabetic diet, which contains with 24 grams of fiber/day.
- The other group ate a diet containing 50 grams of fiber/day.
- Those who ate the diet higher in fiber had lower levels of both blood sugar and insulin in their bodies.
- The high fiber group also reduced their total cholesterol by nearly 7%, their triglyceride levels by 10.2% and their VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein—the most dangerous form of cholesterol) levels by 12.5%.
Try this diabetic diet friendly recipe.
Italian-Style Lentil Soup Recipe
Here’s an Italian-inspired lentil soup that is good for diabetic diets. It uses common ingredients you probably have on hand. Frozen vegetables are every bit as nutritious as fresh. You can have time soup on the table in about an hour.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
- ½ cup chopped onion (1 medium)
- 1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic (see Tip)
- 1 (32 ounce) container reduced-sodium chicken broth (4 cups)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup dry brown lentils
- 1½ teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, crushed
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (6 ounce) can no-salt-added tomato paste
- 2 cups frozen peas and carrots
- 2 ounces dried multi-grain penne pasta or multi-grain elbow macaroni
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add onion and garlic; cook about 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally.
- Add broth, the water, lentils, Italian seasoning and pepper to onion mixture. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
- Stir in undrained tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir in peas and carrots and uncooked pasta. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until pasta is tender.
- To serve, ladle into six soup bowls. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan.
Tip: If you prefer to use fresh garlic, substitute 6 cloves garlic, minced.
Nutrition (Serving size: 1⅓ cups)
Click here to read full lentil soup recipe for diabetic diets.