Dietitians recommend nutritious and fibrous vegetables for proper diabetes management. One of these vegetables is broccoli, a real superfood for diabetes patients. What role does it play in improving our blood sugar levels? Let us find out!
Why Doctors Recommend Broccoli?
Broccoli is a dark green vegetable from the cabbage family. It is cruciferous, similar to cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts. It is botanically known as Brassica oleracea italica, native to the eastern Mediterranean. It has a large flowering head, a thick stalk, and leathery leaves on its branches.
This green veggie can be consumed either raw or cooked. It is loaded with many essential nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals that diabetes patients need for proper glycemic control. In every 100 grams of broccoli, you get 34 grams of calories, 0.4 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 33 mgs of Sodium, 316 mg of potassium, 2.8 grams of protein, 7 grams of carbohydrate, 2.6 grams of dietary fiber. It also contains 1.3 grams of Magnesium, 2.6 grams of Vitamin B6, and 99mg of iron. Its GI index is 15. Therefore, this veggie is a safe option for every meal plan.
How does broccoli help in blood sugar management?
One of the first few things to know to determine a vegetable’s safety on diabetes patients is the glycemic index (GI). The GI scale measures how food influences blood glucose levels. The lower the GI, the safer it is for blood sugar regulation.
The glycemic index of broccoli is 15. This value is on the lower side, making broccoli one of the safest options for diabetes patients. When cooked, this veggie’s GI is 45, which is still below 55, the “safe number”. Always remember that a low-GI food like broccoli reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Besides the glycemic index of broccoli, this veggie is also high in dietary fibre. The presence of 2.6 grams of dietary fiber controls blood sugar levels by slowing down glucose absorption into the bloodstream and thereby regulates the blood sugar.
Dietary fiber also keeps you fill for longer. This keeps you away from overeating or unhealthy eating.
Other health benefits of broccoli in diabetes patients
Broccoli is a rich source of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are substances that fight against free radicals. Some of the highly potent antioxidants present in broccoli are:
- Sulforaphane – that reduces blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and oxidative stress. Additionally, sulforaphane improves insulin sensitivity.
- Carotenoids – that support better eye health
- Kaempferol – that protects against heart diseases, allergies, inflammation, and cancer
Broccoli can prevent certain types of cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli work wonders in preventing cancer. Studies suggest that these types of vegetables contain bioactive compounds that reduce cell damage and inflammation triggered by chronic diseases, such as cancer.
Broccoli improves eye health.
Having an eye problem is one of the many complications of a diabetes diagnosis. Thankfully, a superfood like broccoli can prevent this serious concern. How?
Broccoli contains carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin. They are essential nutrients that prevent eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration and retinal oxidation.
In addition, broccoli also contains 623 IU of vitamin A. This vitamin can boost eyesight and prevent unwanted vision impairment.
A 100-gram serving of broccoli contains the following nutrients:
- Energy – 39
- Carbohydrates – 6.27 grams
- Fat – 0.34 grams
- Protein – 2.57 grams
- Fiber 2.4 grams
- Sugar 1.4 grams
- Potassium – 303 mg
- Phosphorus: 67 mg
- Calcium – 46 mg
Broccoli is also a rich source of the following:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Pantothenic acid
How to prepare broccoli for diabetes
There are several ways to prepare broccoli. Here are two of the safest methods:
- As a salad – Raw broccoli is perfect for blood sugar management. Mix broccoli with bell peppers, carrots, or cabbage. If you prefer meat on your salad, opt for shredded cooked chicken and healthy condiments for extra taste.
- As steamed – Cooking can eliminate the essential nutrients of foods. One of the best ways to preserve all its nutrients is by steaming it.