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Diabetes Health Center

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Top 10 Super-Foods for Type 2 Diabetes

Keep these wonder ingredients on your shopping list and in your pantry.


Low-fat milk. Skim and 1% are smart choices. Milk has three nutrients that many people skimp on: calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. For carb counters, 1 cup of milk is equal to a small piece of fruit or a slice of bread. Use milk in fruit smoothies or steaming-hot chai tea.

Nuts. Yes, they're high in calories, but these are calories well-spent, Zelman says. Most kinds have about 170 calories per ounce, along with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, protein, and fiber. And nuts can help stabilize blood sugar. Reach for a small handful of nuts instead of potato chips. Sprinkle them on oatmeal, yogurt, or salads for added crunch and nutrition.

Salmon. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish such as salmon may protect against age-related dementia. Omega-3s also boost heart health by lowering a type of blood fat called triglycerides. That's why the American Heart Association recommends eating omega-3-rich fish at least twice a week. Enjoy salmon as an entrée, or add it to green salads or pasta.

Sweet potatoes. A superior source of the antioxidant beta-carotene, sweet potatoes also supply vitamin C and potassium. Zelman roasts them in a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven for an hour for a delicious caramelized flavor that needs nothing more than a sprinkle of cinnamon, a spice that may help lower blood sugar. Cook with the skin on, since the skin has fiber and nutrients.

Tea. Green, oolong, or white tea are great sources of antioxidant flavonoids called catechins. (Black tea has less.) The longer you steep tea, the more flavonoids you get, Zelman says. People who drink three cups of tea a day may be less likely to have a heart attack. Zelman's pantry is full of flavored teas, which are tasty enough to enjoy without sweeteners.

Whole-grain cereal. This is one of your best bets for breakfast. It can help lower blood pressure and LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Whole grains have powerful plant chemicals, lignans and flavonoids, which may help prevent heart disease. Zelman recommends cereals with at least 5 grams of fiber to help control blood sugar and stave off hunger. You can add protein by adding in low-fat milk or soy milk, nuts, and seeds.

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