Improving blood sugar control with a pulse
Legumes can help in blood sugar control.
One of the most important and challenging tasks for people with diabetes is controlling their blood sugar levels. Out of control levels can lead to serious damage that cannot be undone. Fortunately, people with diabetes have many ways that they can control their blood glucose levels. Diet and physical activity play a big role in controlling glucose levels.
Research is showing that legumes may play a part in helping to control blood glucose levels, as well as reducing cardiovascular risk in people with Type 2 diabetes. Eating more legumes than whole wheat indicated better blood glucose control, along with an association with lower blood pressure and cardiovascular risk in people with Type 2 diabetes.
Legumes contain a lower glycemic index than whole wheat products. Both legumes and whole wheat products are packed with insoluble fiber, which have many health benefits, but the main difference between the two is how quickly blood sugar levels rise after consumption. Foods with a lower glycemic index leave you feeling more satisfied and increase blood sugar levels slowly.
Legumes are known as a pulse, which is the edible seed of plants that bear pods. This includes beans, peas and lentils. They are full of fiber, low in fat and a good source of protein. They have been claimed to not only help in reducing cholesterol levels, prevent heart disease and control blood glucose levels in persons with diabetes, but may prevent some cancers.
Legumes are available dried or pre-cooked in cans. Dries beans can to be soaked using the quick-method or overnight with plenty of water over the beans, but can be cooled without soaking. Follow your recipe as cooking times will vary for different types of legumes.
A couple of tips Michigan State University Extension recommends to keep in mind when cooking beans:
- If adding salt, add it at the end of the cooking process to prevent the bean skins from becoming tough.
- If cooking red beans, discard the soak water and cook beans in fresh water, as these can be poisonous if not cooked properly.
- Legumes are good at absorbing spicy flavors as they can be bland in flavor.
- Throwing out the soak water for legumes before cooking can help to decrease flatulence, which can be an issue with some people.
- Legumes can be stored for up to a year, always clear away debris as you check them before soaking.
There are an abundance of recipes available that use legumes as they are an inexpensive way to get good fiber and protein into your diet and are a great substitute for meat in many dishes.