Beans (lentils, kidney beans, string beans, pinto beans, and black beans) are an overall healthy food to add to one’s diet; they are a good source of protein and several vitamins and minerals, while also being low in fat.
They are also a good source of soluble fiber, which is beneficial to diabetics. According to Karen Collins (a nutrition advisor for the American Institute for Cancer Research), soluble fibers slow down the body’s digestion and absorption of sugars, helping maintain blood sugar levels. Not only that, but these fibers also help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. Cholesterol levels should be maintained regardless of whether or not one is diabetic, but beans are especially beneficial to diabetics due to their higher risk for developing heart disease. However, beans also contain large amounts of sodium and carbohydrates, so they must be carefully integrated into one’s diet.
For great bean dishes, look into Italian, Greek, Indian, Caribbean, Mexican, and Middle Eastern food. Included below is a recipe for one of my personal favorites – lentil soup! So grab some beans and enjoy the benefits of these delectable legumes.
Diabetes-friendly lentil soup
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 pound lentils
- 1 onion (diced)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
- Salt and pepper
Cook all together until lentils are soft. Add one 7 ounce can of tomato sauce. Add one 1/4 cup of vinegar. Cook for 15 minutes.
A big thank you to Michael Hernandez, the Awareness and Recruitment Officer for the UC Davis Diabetes Advocacy and Awareness Group. For more information about this new student group at UC Davis, please visit their website: www.daag-at-davis.weebly.com.