What makes one food better than another for people with type 1 diabetes largely comes down to a food’s glycemic index (GI). The glycemic index scores foods on a scale of 0 to 100 based on how much they affect blood glucose levels two hours after consumption.
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Foods with a GI score of 55 or lower cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose levels and are therefore more fit for people with type 1 diabetes. In addition to a low GI score, a healthy vitamin, mineral, fiber, and fat profile can also all contribute to a food’s suitability.
With this in mind, people with type 1 diabetes should prioritize incorporating the following foods into their everyday life.
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Green Leafy Vegetables and Tubers
Not only do green leafy vegetables have a very low GI score, but they are also overflowing with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Specifically, leafy greens like spinach and kale are great sources of potassium, vitamin A, and fiber.
There are even studies that show that the regular consumption of kale juice may help regulate blood sugar levels and improve blood pressure in people with subclinical hypertension.
Green leafy vegetables include:
- Collard greens
- Bok choy
In the same vein, tubers like sweet potatoes are a great, low GI alternative to regular white potatoes to pair with green leafy vegetables for a balanced meal. They contain fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.
Just be sure to eat the skin of sweet potatoes to get the most possible nutrition!