By Sushma Veera, Thu, Oct 07, 2010, New Straits Times
PHOTO: Top 10 foods for diabetics
Glutathione can help boost the immune system and promote lung health by protecting against viruses.
Besides, the American Heart Association recommends including foods containing folate and other B vitamins in your diet to help lower homocysteine levels. A serving of asparagus is 1/2 cup, or 115g cooked, and provides 33 per cent of the daily recommendation of 400 micrograms of folate, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
A sweet treat that is creamy, delicious and good for you.
An excellent source of calcium, which helps promote bone health and teeth as well as muscle and blood vessel function, yogurt is also a good source of energy-boosting vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and protein. It also provides zinc, which can be deficient in some people with diabetes and aids in immune function and wound healing.
Probiotic yogurt contains health-promoting bacteria that is beneficial for digestive health, including lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome.
There are different yogurts to choose from, such as Greek yogurt which is thicker than regular yogurt.
Add a zero-calorie sweetener (or a teaspoon of honey), nuts or sunflower kernels or a sprinkle of whatever spices that sound good - cinnamon, cardamom, or ginger. One serving of two per cent Greek yogurt is 170g.
One serving of broccoli is one cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked.
It provides vitamin A from the antioxidant beta-carotene. Carotenoids found in yellow and orange vegetables may also help reduce insulin resistance.
Carrots are also another source of fibre and heart-healthy flavonoids, which can also be enjoyed as a juice with other fruits and vegetables such as apples, beets, and ginger.
One serving of carrots is one cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked.
Although fish is good for you and is considered a lean-meat substitute for its high protein, be careful of the harmful mercury levels and other toxins found in some fish.
According to the American Heart Association, swordfish, shark, golden bass, golden snapper, and king mackerel have the highest mercury levels. Fish lower in mercury for a 85g serving include wild salmon, herring, catfish, and canned light tuna. Try preparing fish on the grill, baked, broiled, or steamed.
Flavour oatmeal with cinnamon or artificial sweeteners to keep calories low. Oats also provide vitamin E and B as well as magnesium and potassium, which may help lower blood pressure.
There are several types of oatmeal to choose from. Steel-cut oatmeal has a dense, thick texture and can take up to 45 minutes to cook, while old-fashioned (or rolled) oats are thinner and take less time to cook. The less processed the oat, such as steel-cut oatmeal, the lower it is on the glycemic index, which may help control blood glucose.
Quick cooking oatmeal and instant oatmeal are also available. Be sure to check the labels for added salt and sugar.
One serving of oatmeal is 1/2 cup.
Studies have found that spinach has the potential to decrease the risk of cancer, cataracts and heart disease. Spinach is high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body uses to make vitamin A. Beta-carotene helps protect the body's cells from free radicals, which contribute to chronic illness and ageing.
When buying canned spinach, choose a low sodium one. One serving of spinach is 1/2 cup cooked or one cup raw, which is great for salads.
Soya is also a source of niacin, folate, zinc, potassium, iron, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a fatty acid that can be converted into Omega 3 fatty acids, known to help lower cholesterol.
It also contains nutrients such as niacin, zinc, potassium and folate that serve important functions in the body. However, do check with a health-care professional before increasing potassium intake if you have kidney complications or kidney disease.
Serving sizes depend on whether soya is consumed in food or drink.
Plant sterols known to lower cholesterol also naturally occur in nuts. But be careful. Although nuts contain healthy fats, they are also high in calories. Walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, pecans and hazelnuts are just some of the nuts that can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, making them heart-healthy choices.
Eat nuts in moderation and avoid salted, sugared or chocolate-covered options that increase calories and decrease their natural health benefits. One serving of almonds, cashews, or mixed nuts is six nuts. One serving of pecans is four halves, a serving of hazelnuts is five nuts, and a serving of pistachios is 16 nuts, as per the American Diabetes Association.