Last updated on January 27th, 2022
Being a diabetic does not mean a person must deny the most lovable foods of their choice. A person must always make healthier food choices. One such fine choice is having loads of fruits and veggies, rich in nutrition however light in calories. Few fruits and veggies appear better for managing diabetes as compared to others. It is important to include those that are low on the glycemic index and load, implying which do not raise the level of blood sugar. Also, it is vital to receive enough calcium- and probiotic-rich dairy products so that bones can be fortified and these offer good gut bacteria. Good sources include yogurt, or low-fat milk. These foods are a must addition to any diabetes diet. One can include a lot of nutrition into one smoothie and get a pleasant treat. Read this article to know about benefits of smoothies for diabetics.
Smoothies appear like a healthful choice and are an outstanding way to attain fiber and other nutrition from fruits and veggies. On the other hand, the wrong type of smoothie might be a bad option for diabetics, particularly while eating out. A smoothie is an excellent way to take in superfoods, like spinach or green leaves. Yet, components may comprise a lot of fat and sugar and may enhance the risk of sugar spikes or weight gain. Some tips can be followed and any diabetic can enjoy smoothies while restraining the adverse effects.
What is a Smoothie?
Smoothie is a blended drink prepared from fruits and/or vegetables, a liquid like milk or plant-based milk, yogurt, or juice. Few smoothie recipes might also include extra protein powder. The thickness of any smoothie may differ based upon the ratio of liquid to solid constituents. If an individual smoothie is made, it is important to make sure that all the ingredients are blended nicely till they are well and smooth. Smoothies are a popular alternative for people who are short of time as these are instant drinks. It’s a known way of receiving a decent dose of nutrients, particularly vitamins, minerals, and fiber. People have smoothies to attain a specific health goal, like improving overall health, losing (or gaining) weight, as well as managing blood glucose levels.
Benefits of Smoothies For Diabetics
Smoothies deliver an entire meal, consisting of a sufficient amount of carbs, protein, fiber, and fat. All these components keep an individual satisfied for a long time. Smoothies consisting of fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds might be a rich source of vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients that the body requires. All such nutrients are seen to benefit an individual’s complete health. Proper nutrition improves an individual’s cholesterol levels, builds muscle, lessens fat, supports healthier nervous and circulatory systems, as well as improves energy levels.
Keep on reading to find out how a healthful smoothie is made, and acquaint yourself with all the things about smoothies for diabetics.
Add Healthy Fats
Few fats are seen to be good options for any diabetic person. Fats play a key role in the body and assist in slowing down the speed at which glucose gets in the blood and leave an individual feeling fulfilled. Few healthy sources of fat to include in a morning smoothie can be:
- chia seeds
- raw walnuts
- raw pecans
- almond or peanut butter
Yet, an excess of fat might give rise to weight gain, thus it becomes necessary to balance the amounts.
Similarly, like fat, protein delivers a lot of health benefits vital for any person, but particularly for diabetics. High-protein content helps in slowing down the absorption of food and lowers down the speed at which glucose enters the blood. Sources of protein can be animal or vegetable-based. Including high-protein components in a smoothie offers many health benefits.
Proteins that can be added to smoothies may include:
- plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt
- pea protein
- low-fat milk
- whey protein
- hemp and other seeds
Also Read: Best Home Remedies For High Blood Sugar
Fiber might be of two types: soluble or insoluble. Insoluble fiber helps in boosting digestive health and lessens the absorption of other foods in a person’s gut. Fiber also leaves an individual feeling fuller and for a longer time. These factors are thought to benefit a diabetic by decreasing the risk of an elevated blood glucose level, accumulation of cholesterol, weight gain due to overeating. In these ways, fiber helps in decreasing the possibility of diabetes-related complications and high blood glucose also boosts overall health.
High-fiber foods that can be added to a smoothie:
- nuts and seeds like chia seeds
- fruits like orange, raspberry, peach, or blueberry
- veggies like leafy greens, spinach, and kale
Also Read: Foods to Avoid While Taking Metformin
Include Three Carbohydrate Servings
While preparing a smoothie, diabetics should ensure that they know how many carbs they are adding. The general recommendation of carb addition is 45 grams or less in a smoothie. It is always better to include at least 3 types of carbs.
A few examples of 15 grams servings of carbs that individuals often include in smoothies can be:
- 1 small banana
- ½ cup granola
- 1 cup of plain yogurt
- 3/4 cup of blueberries
- 1 cup of melon
Try including leafy greens, spinach, or other dark leafy veggies in the smoothie. These comprise a smaller number of carbs per serving and deliver healthy and nutritional benefits.
Carefully chosen herbs, spices, or other flavor enhancers deliver antioxidants too. Few tasty choices can be:
- Fresh mint leaves
- Grated fresh ginger or ginger powder
- Lemon or lime juice
- Chai spices like cardamom and cloves
- Vanilla extract (1/2 teaspoon)
Fruit must offer enough natural sweetness, however, if a person is using a largely vegetable-based combination a date does the trick. Above and beyond a punch of sweetness, dates deliver minerals including calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. Another good choice of including sweetness is stevia, however, it is suggested to avoid adding artificial sweeteners. As they are seen to negatively influence the gut bacteria and enhance the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Also Read: Diabetes and Artificial Sweeteners
A few good low carb liquid bases for smoothies can be:
- Unsweetened soy milk is also a good alternative with just 3 -5 grams per cup.
- Unsweetened hemp, almond, or other plant-based milk comprises around 1 gram of carbs per cup.
- Iced green tea
Cow’s milk, in contrast, consists of around 12 grams of carbs (lactose sugar) per cup. That’s why a person must not use cow’s milk. Just ensure to include less fruit in the blender than normal so that total sugars can be kept to a minimum and blood glucose spike can be kept at bay.
Make a Meal of it
A smoothie might appear as a drink, however might consist of as many carbs and calories as a complete meal. Constitute the carb and calorie content in any smoothie and make use of it to replace a meal, or just consume a very light snack with it. If it is still alluring to reach for a complete breakfast or lunch, choose instead unsweetened tea, coffee, or sparkling water as a beverage option.
Also Read: Food to Avoid in Diabetes
Why Does a Smoothie Make a Great Snack or Breakfast Option For People With Diabetes?
Not only does a smoothie pack delightful, diabetes-friendly fruits however, when made delicately and enjoyed in limits, smoothies may also aid in dropping the excess weight. Maintaining a healthy waistline remains crucial for diabetics as excess body weight is found to be associated with insulin resistance. Due to this reason, losing even just a few pounds counts. The CDC notes that dropping a mere 5-7% of the bodyweight assists in preventing prediabetes from developing to full-blown type 2 diabetes.
Additional Ingredients to Add in Smoothies For Diabetics
One of the most appealing aspects of preparing smoothies is that these have infinite variations. Next time any diabetic wants to have an easy breakfast or snack that would not affect the blood sugar control, including a few of the below-mentioned constituents in your smoothie to improve its flavor, appearance, and texture together with adding all the vital nutrients.
The ADA suggests including avocados in morning smoothies as a replacement for dairy items. This smooth, creamy fruit is thought to be low in glucose content and rich in fiber, also found to contain monounsaturated fat (good fat). The fat and fiber blend is a recipe for a healthy heart as good fats help in improving a person’s HDL (“good”) cholesterol level whereas fiber helps in increasing the satiety, as a result, weight loss can be improved. Additionally, avocados are found to have rich amounts of lutein, a vitamin significant for eye health. It is recommended to include 1/4th of a medium-size avocado in a smoothie. To decrease waste and avoid overeating, one complete avocado can be cut into quarters and put in single servings in freezer bags.
Chia is a seed form derived from the chia plant (Salvia hispanica). The seeds are found to have rich amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (a kind of omega-3 fatty acid). Furthermore, chia seeds comprise antioxidants, deliver a vegetarian source of calcium, as well as pack potassium and magnesium. Consumption of a diet rich in potassium and magnesium helps in controlling blood pressure.
Ground flaxseed is very nutrient-dense, containing roughly 80 calories, 6 grams (g) fat, 5 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 0 g sugar, and 3 g protein in 2 tbsp, according to the Department of Agriculture. Most of the calories in flaxseed come from polyunsaturated fat, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, according to the Flax Council of Canada. These fats may help with blood sugar control if you have type 2 diabetes, according to a review published in November 2017 in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. Make sure you use ground flaxseed meal as opposed to the whole seed to receive the full health benefits.
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Hempseed is naturally low in carbs (below 1 gram per tablespoon) and also packs filling fiber, protein, iron, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, as well as healthy fats (both omega-3 and omega-6). Getting a stable ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is important to prevent obesity as per a recent study. The factor responsible for diabetes is being overweight or obese, according to studies.
Plain or Greek yoghurt
Non-fat plain Greek yogurt is a low-carb, low-calorie, protein-packed source of natural bacteria that might include texture and creaminess to smoothies. Type 2 diabetes is seen to be linked to a disturbance in gut health, as per a research study. It is also suggested that intake of probiotics can re-establish balance in the gut and even improve better blood glucose control.
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Creamy, smooth, and pleasant almond butter is found to be a better addition of heart-healthy fat, protein, and fiber. Many fats present in almond butter are monounsaturated fats, which are seen to decrease the levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and elevate healthy HDL cholesterol while replacing saturated fats with monosaturated fats. In addition, almonds are an outstanding source of antioxidants, vitamin E, magnesium, and manganese. It is also suggested that higher consumption of magnesium is linked to a decreased risk of developing diabetes and assist in controlling blood sugar. Thus, while including almond butter in smoothies, take care to keep the portions controlled. Even though the spread is nutrient-dense, the calories present in almond butter may add up rapidly. It’s best to keep it to 1 to 2 tbsp per serving.
A smoothie might be a nourishing and delightful way to begin the day or to get a fruit or veggie snack between meals. On the other hand, a diabetic must keep a track of constituents to make sure it does not comprise any extra sugar. It is appropriate to prepare smoothies at home to make sure that all the healthy components are added. Smoothies can be prepared for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and are just great for a pre-workout boost or used post-workout to aid in muscle recovery. All of the smoothie recipes are moderately low carb (below 20 grams of carbohydrates per serving), as a result, blood sugar levels do not spike too much and are also super easy to prepare.
Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal
The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.