Last updated on September 29th, 2023
Maintaining balanced and nutritious meals and diets is necessary for individuals with diabetes. Food that has fiber, carbs, fats, proteins, etc., plays perform a major role in managing blood sugar levels and overall health. One dietary component that holds significant importance is dietary fiber. Packed with numerous benefits, fiber-rich foods aid in regulating blood sugar, promoting satiety, and supporting digestive health. In this discussion, we’ll explore ten fiber rich foods for diabetes patients that are not only delicious but also beneficial for them. Here is the content table:
What is Fibre? What Are The Two Types of Fibre?
Dietary fiber is a nutrient found in plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, seeds, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. It’s unique because, unlike other carbohydrates, the body doesn’t fully break it down during digestion. On the other hand, it goes into your digestive system without any change in form, providing a range of health benefits.
Types of Fibre
Soluble fiber foods contain a type of fiber that liquefies and dissolves in water. It transforms into a gel-like substance in your digestive tract, which can help slow down digestion and absorption of nutrients. This type of dietary fiber can help lower levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by binding to cholesterol particles and removing them from the body. Foods rich in soluble fiber can also help stabilise blood sugar levels by delaying the release of sugars into your bloodstream.
Insoluble dietary food doesn’t dissolve in water and adds bulk to stool. It helps promote regular bowel movements by preventing constipation and promoting the movement of food through the digestive system. This type of fiber can also be beneficial for gut health as it provides a source of food for beneficial gut bacteria.
Both soluble as well as insoluble dietary fiber perform a role in keeping a well-functioning digestive system. And prevent various health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and gastrointestinal disorders. To reap the benefits of fiber, it’s important to include a variety of fiber rich foods for a diabetes diet.
Healthy Benefits of Dietary Fiber For Diabetics
Fiber for diabetics offers several benefits. Some of them are listed below.
Blood Sugar Regulation
Soluble dietary fiber can help slow down the absorption rate of sugars into the bloodstream. This can lead to more regulated blood sugar levels, reducing the impact of blood sugar spikes and crashes.
Enhanced Insulin Sensitivity
Fiber rich foods for diabetes patients may improve insulin sensitivity. This means dietary fiber helps your body use insulin more effectively to regulate blood sugar.
Dietary fiber rich foods for diabetes patients tend to be filling. They can help in controlling appetite by suppressing food cravings which can aid in weight management. Maintaining and retaining a healthy constant weight is necessary for managing diabetes.
Read More: 16 Best Fruits Juice For Diabetes.
Dietary fiber can contribute to heart health by helping to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. People with diabetes are at a higher risk of heart disease, so this benefit is significant.
Insoluble dietary fiber can promote regular bowel movements, preventing constipation—a common issue for some people with diabetes.
Dietary fiber acts as a prebiotic, thus providing help for beneficial bacteria in your gut. A healthy gut microbiome presence is associated with better overall health, including potentially improved blood sugar control.
Reduced Risk of Complications
By helping manage blood sugar levels, fiber consumption may contribute to a decreased risk of diabetes-related complications over time.
It’s important for individuals with diabetes to incorporate fiber rich foods for diabetes diets, such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Read More: Is Bottle Gourd Good For Diabetes?
Top 10 High Fibre Foods for Diabetics
Here is a list of some top fiber rich foods for diabetes patients which, on consuming in prescribed and measured amounts, will be a great addition to their diets.
Lentils join the list of foods for diabetics as they are an excellent way to consume dietary fiber. USDA reports a cup of cooked lentils or 198 grams can provide around 15.6 grams of fiber. The high fiber content in lentils can be beneficial for diabetes patients in several ways. Cooked lentils are a part of our daily diets, and it is commonly available among high fiber foods in India. Lentils are generally consumed with roti or rice. To increase the dietary fiber content you also add some vegetables to the lentils and cook it well. Dietary fiber for diabetics helps slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. This leads to a more gradual and delayed rise in blood sugar levels after meals.
Whole grains consist of an abundance of dietary fiber and healthy fats. Switching to whole fiber rich grains rather than their refined alternatives should be the goal. Start using atta(whole wheat), bajra (pearl millet), kuttu (buckwheat) etc., in place of maida (refined flour). Whole wheat can give you 13 grams of fiber per 100 grams. Replace white rice with brown rice, which has much more dietary fiber content. These fiber rich grains have moderate to low glycemic profiles that will impact your blood sugar positively.
In the list of foods for diabetics, the next is the family of beans. Every kind of bean has a decent amount of dietary fiber in them. Starting from navy beans, which have 11 grams of fiber. Then we move to popular beans in India, the two varieties of rajma, i.e. red kidney beans and pinto beans, which have 6 grams and 9 grams of fiber per 100 grams. Then there is the whole mung popularly used in sprout salad which has 8 grams of dietary fiber. Lentils and beans include both soluble as well as insoluble fiber for diabetics, which will help them delay the absorption rate of sugars.
Beans also contain starch that resists digestion which leads to the formation of fatty acids. The fatty acids promote better gut health by enhancing insulin and colon cells’ functionality.
Read More: Is Jamun Good For Diabetes?
Broccoli is next on the list of foods for diabetics, which is rich in soluble fiber. According to USDA, 100 grams of boiled broccoli contains 3.3 grams of dietary fiber. The benefits of eating broccoli for diabetes patients is its low-calorie profile, as 100 g is just around 30 calories. This green veggie is one of the best fiber options available. Broccoli also is a good source of vitamin C and other minerals. You can have broccoli in the form of salads, curry and also include them in pasta, noodles, etc.
Green peas is good for diabetes patients as they are among foods rich in soluble fiber. As per the data of USDA, half a cup of green peas contain 3.5 grams of dietary fiber, 11 g of carbs and just 59 calories. The yellow and split peas are also a good choice. USDA reports half a cup of yellow or split peas has 9 grams of dietary fiber. Peas top the fibre rich Indian food list due to various reasons. The reasons are its wide availability, low price, and taste which Indians like.
Green peas is good for diabetes patients as it is a fibre rich Indian food ingredient. Green peas can be widely included in household Indian curries, salads, stuffed in parathas and so on. Peas can also be included in recipes for homemade Indian snacks for diabetics.
Popcorn is another addition to the list of soluble fiber foods. To answer, does popcorn have fiber? USDA report says 100 grams of air-popped popcorn has 15 grams of dietary fiber. The popcorn glycemic index is moderate, which is around 55. However, popcorn is a much better option as it’s firstly easy to make homemade Indian snacks for diabetics. Secondly, it’s free of unhealthy oils and unwanted spices. We suggest opting for salted air-popped popcorn and avoiding adding butter, spices, caramel, etc.
In the list of fruits that contain fiber, berries are in the top position. Berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are fiber rich fruits in India. They are generally low in carbohydrates and high in dietary fiber. Jamun, aaru, rasbhari, falsa, etc., are also varieties of high fiber fruits in India. A cup of mixed berries contains approximately 3.2 grams of dietary fiber. The fiber content in berries can help regulate blood sugar levels. Antioxidants and phytochemicals present in berries have been associated with improved insulin sensitivity.
Read More: What Is Type 2 Diabetes Management?
Dry fruits are another excellent source of soluble fiber foods. There is a long list of dry fruits that contain a good amount of dietary fiber. According to USDA data, 30 grams of almonds contain 4 grams of dietary fiber, while 100 grams of cashew gives us 3.3 grams of fiber. Along with this, 100 grams of walnut gives 7 grams of dietary fiber. Dry fruits are easily available in India and in varied varieties. Dry fruits are foods rich in soluble fiber, and we suggest consuming them in the unsweetened raw form free of salt, spices, etc. Dry fruits for diabetes patients are good sources of healthy fats, so they should be included accordingly in a well-prepared diabetes diet.
Oats and Barley
Oats and barley are fiber rich grains that can provide a daily supply of insoluble and dietary fiber for diabetics. One cup or 81 grams of oats contains 7 grams of dietary fiber whereas 100 grams of barley gives 17 grams of fiber as per USDA. You can replace some part of your daily rice consumption with barley. You can include oats as a portion of morning and evening homemade Indian snacks for diabetics. We suggest you go for rolled oats instead of normal oats for enhanced dietary fiber. Oats and barley both contain beta-glucan, which is known for enhancing the working of insulin and has other positive effects on diabetes.
Chia seeds are a soluble fiber food. According to USDA, 100 grams of chia seeds contain about 34 grams of dietary fibre. It can help stabilise blood sugar levels by slowing down the rate of digestion and absorption of carbs in our bodies. Chia seeds can be included in salads, cereals, oatmeals, etc. These rich soluble fiber foods can be beneficial for diabetes patients in managing their blood sugar. Additionally, chia seeds can contribute to a feeling of fullness, potentially helping with weight management, which is important for diabetes control.
Incorporating fiber rich foods for diabetes diets can greatly contribute to their overall well-being. The 10 fiber foods for diabetics discussed include lentils, beans, broccoli, peas, popcorn, berries, dry fruits, chia seeds, and more. All these offer a diverse range of options to help regulate sugar levels and maintain proper digestive health. The high dietary fiber content in these foods helps slow down the absorption of glucose, preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar. Additionally, they contribute to a feeling of fullness, aiding in weight management. By including these dietary and soluble fiber foods in their meals, diabetes patients can not only enjoy a variety of flavours and textures but also take a significant step towards better managing their condition. As always, it’s important to work closely with a healthcare professional to create a personalised diet plan that suits individual needs and preferences.
What Is The Best Fiber To Eat?
When talking of the best fiber foods for diabetes patients, a kind of list mentioned above comes forward. Best fiber foods would include beans, whole grains, lentils, more fiber fruits like berries, and green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, etc.
How Much Dietary Fiber Should a Diabetic Eat Per Day?
There are many health benefits of dietary fiber for diabetics, so you should increase fiber consumption in your diet. According to the National Institute of Health and the American Diabetes Association, above 18 years patients of type 2 diabetes dietary fiber daily intake should amount to 35 grams per day. You can increase the consumption of fibre in your diet by including whole grains and foods high in soluble fiber as mentioned above.
What Dry Fruits are High in Fiber?
When talking of dry fruits that contain fiber walnut tops the list as it has 7 grams of dietary fiber in 100 grams. Then come almonds and cashew, which have 4 grams and 3.3 grams of dietary fiber per 100 grams. Raisins, too, have some amount of fiber in them, but diabetics should avoid them due to their sugar content.
What 3 Foods Have the Most Fiber?
When considering the top 3 fiber foods for diabetes patients, lentils (all kinds), beans including kidney beans, pinto beans, white beans, etc., and seeds like chia seeds take up the top positions. The benefits are mainly the nutritional profile of these foods, which sync well with the nutritional demands of a diabetes diet.
What Vegetables Are Best for Fiber?
There are many options of fiber rich vegetables in India. Vegetables that can be considered best for fiber include broccoli which has 3.3 grams of fiber per cup, another veggie can be carrot which has about 3 grams of dietary fiber per cup. Other vegetables which have fiber in them are bitter gourd, cauliflower, brinjal and so on.
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