The staple Indian diet is a fusion of various vegetables and flavours. With over 29 cuisines, India is home to the most colourful and delicious dishes worldwide.
Cuisines and delicacies aside, a whopping 11.6% of people in India have Type 2 Diabetes. It means that at least 1 in every 11 people has Type 2 Diabetes.
So when it comes to a diabetic diet, can vegetables raise blood sugar levels?
Like all foods, blood sugar spikes depend on the number of carbohydrates in the item. Carbohydrates are notoriously known to increase blood glucose levels rapidly. Vegetables can also increase blood glucose levels due to the presence of starch in them. The amount of starch present differs from vegetable to vegetable.
So what are the best vegetables for Type 2 diabetes?
Eating a side of raw carrots with your diabetes meal can help control diabetes by stabilising blood glucose levels. With a low GI of 15, raw carrots are rich in fibre, antioxidants, vitamin C and A. So with carrots, you get diabetes management plus great vision!
Broccoli, a man-created superfood, is a power pack of all essential nutrients. Not only is it super healthy, but it also works miracles for managing blood glucose levels. Broccoli has a GI of 10, which makes it an outstanding addition to a diabetic friendly diet.
This common fruit is often used as a delectable base for various sabzis and curries. A lesser known fact about tomatoes is that it has a GI of 15, which makes them low GI food. Tomatoes are non-starchy and are full of antioxidants and minerals. Put a spin on your sabzis and add tomato to your recipes!
Should people with Type 2 Diabetes consume eggplant? Eggplant or brinjal fits like a jigsaw piece in a type 2 diabetes diet. Known to have a Glycemic Load of about 1 per serving, brinjal is also rich in polyphenols and fibres that keep blood glucose levels in check.
Popeye was right; spinach does have superpowers. Spinach is packed with the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid and vitamin C that help lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity, all with a GI of merely 15. Time to whip up some palak paneer!
Since some vegetables can increase blood sugar levels rapidly, what are the vegetables to avoid for Type 2 diabetes?
When it comes to type 2 diabetes, vegetables with a high starch content tend to cause major fluctuations in blood glucose levels. These vegetables fall in the high GI category.
Some vegetables to avoid for type 2 Diabetes are:
Starch-rich potatoes have a GI of 86 for every 100gm. This means that eating a meal with aloo sabzi will raise blood sugar levels and, in turn, may cause critical conditions. Of course, like all foods for diabetes management, moderation is a must. Your portion sizes will depend on your personal tolerance toward starchy vegetables. Get in touch with your healthcare team to design a personalised diabetic diet chart.
One cup of green peas contains up to 20gms of carbohydrates. Such a high starch content and low fibre content make green peas an avoidable item for a diabetes diet.
One of the most frequently asked questions regarding do’s and don'ts of Type 2 diabetes is, does corn raise blood sugar levels? Like peas, corn too, has a high carbohydrate content which makes it unhealthy for type 2 diabetes patients. With up to 17 gms of carbohydrates per ear and a GI of 52, corn is moderately high on the GI scale. So folks, say no to bhutta this rainy season!
Vegetable juices are devoid of fibre. This drastically increases their GI level as our body absorbs the juice quickly. People suffering from Type 2 diabetes must beware of their beverage intake and must avoid vegetable juices!
The bottom line
Although all vegetables are healthy, many vegetables can rapidly increase your blood sugar levels. Such high-carb, high GI vegetables should be exempted from diabetes diets. Observing how your body reacts to different vegetables is a must. Everyone's tolerance is different, so get in touch with your medical team to find the best diet for you!