Type 2 diabetes

7 Diabetes-Friendly Immune-Boosting Foods

Diabetes patients are more likely to have impaired immune function for a variety of reasons. They have high blood sugar levels that impair the proper activity of the immune system. Condition like this impacts the nerves by damaging them, and a decreased flow of blood to the hands and feet is also observed.

Nerve damage can cause injuries to go unnoticed, which can lead to infections. Due to the lack of proper immune functioning, people who have diabetes are more exposed to diseases. In addition, given the condition of slow wound healing, it does not create the right circumstance when the wound is infected and leads to inflammation.

The unsolicited advice

People with diabetes are often advised to exercise and avoid even the healthiest foods in their diet. Focus is concerned with other things while the healthy diet is highly neglected. Given that the individual takes the required amount of vitamins and nutrients, the body’s immunity can be enhanced. However, the critical vitamins for diabetes are neglected.

Essentials Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E are required to maintain the health of the immune system. However, everything that consists of these vitamins is not healthy to consume. Choices that are high in sugar, fat, and sodium content should not be considered. For this reason, we are here to clear the mist and present to you your ideal choices. 

The following foods improve your immune system and do so while keeping your blood sugar levels in check.

1. Green leafy Vegetables

Vitamin A and C

Green leafy vegetables are always at the top of the list for a healthy diet. This is because they contain vitamin A and C which are essential nutrients for a diabetes patient. In addition, vitamin A helps with night blindness, immune system boosting, mineral absorption in the body, and wound healing.

On the other hand, vitamin C helps with metabolism regulation, bone strengthening, and collagen production. Vitamin C also functions as an antioxidant for the body.

Impact on Immunity

Green leafy vegetables boost the immune system of people with diabetes. Studies suggest that vegetables, like spinach and cabbage, lower the risk of diabetes 2 by 14%. They contain a lower glycemic index, which means lower consumption of carbohydrates.

Leafy vegetables also contain magnesium and fiber, which can help keep blood sugar levels stable. In addition, green leafy vegetables contain high antioxidant content and starch-digesting enzymes while having minimal impact on blood sugar levels. They can also regulate metabolism to keep one’s body working in optimal condition.

How to use

Green leafy vegetables come in a wide variety that you can incorporate into your diet to make it healthier. An adult human must take 1 to 2 cups of leafy vegetables per week. You can use them in salads, wraps, smoothies, sandwiches, and more. You can make your fusion by adding different vegetables and seasonings to create a healthy bowl.

Do not hesitate to chop a few leaves of these healthy choices and add them to your main meal.

2. Citrus fruits

Vitamin C

Citrus fruits are the most abundant source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for healing wounds and fighting infections. It is commonly known for its role in the growth and development of body tissues, but it is also necessary for the immune system. In addition, it enhances the production of white blood cells and protects cells in the human body.

Impact on immunity

Citrus fruits like orange, grapefruits, and lemons are widely used. They are a perfect alternative for people with diabetes because they cannot consume fruits with high sugar content. 

Citrus fruits also contain fiber, which aids in the maintenance of blood sugar levels, as well as potassium and folate. Potassium is directly required for the activation of the immune response. All in all, citrus fruits can decrease inflammation, improve heart health and lower the risk of kidney stones.

Along with these essential nutrients, vitamin C boosts the immune system without affecting blood sugar levels.

A 100g of orange has 12g of carbohydrates and 9g of sugar, while a 100g of grapefruit has 11g of carbohydrates and 7g of sugar. However, 100g of lemon consists of 9g of carbohydrates in total and 2.5g of sugar.

How to use

Eating the fruit raw rather than making juice from it is preferable. Consuming it in the raw form helps the intake of required fibers. On the other hand, drinking juices can dangerously increase the sugar level, which is harmful to people with diabetes.

3. Mushrooms

Vitamin B and D

Mushrooms contain high levels of vitamin B and D. These vitamins are good for diabetes patients because they help improve their immune systems. Vitamin B6 is best known for its production of white blood cells, strengthening the immune system, and transportation of oxygen.

Vitamin D is also known for its ability to absorb calcium, but many people are unaware that it also reduces the risk of infection. 

Impact on immunity

Mushroom consumption has a positive effect on the immune system. In addition, they do not disturb the sugar levels in diabetes patients and instead control them. They are also of great help in minimizing cholesterol levels. In addition, they display anti-diabetic properties, which make them an ideal choice.

They contain antioxidants, which are necessary for better heart health and a lower risk of cancer. In addition, beta-glucan is also present that plays a role in heart protection and regulates sugar levels.

All of these essential components, as well as essential vitamins for diabetes, combine to form a suitable option in a healthy diet. Moreover, its low carbohydrate content, i.e., 2 grams per raw cup, and low sugar content, i.e., 1 gram per cup, makes it ideal and healthy.

How to use

Add it to your meals according to your liking. You are not restricted to using them in cooked form or raw. You can garnish it on your salads, add in your soup, consume as a main course, or sauté it.

4. Beans

Vitamin B

Beans have a high vitamin B content. Vitamin B is very beneficial for diabetes patients as it can help in strengthening their immune system against high sugar levels in the body. Vitamin B-1, also known as Thiamine, is responsible for breaking down carbohydrates from food, creating neurotransmitters, and synthesizing certain hormones in your body.

Also, Vitamin B-9 (folic acid) is crucial for DNA replication, proper cell division, and keeping the metabolism under optimal state. 

Impact on immunity

Beans are an excellent immune-boosting food for people with diabetes. They contain carbohydrates that are low on the glycemic index and have a rich quantity of vitamin B, fiber, and protein. Therefore, they help in absorbing more minerals from your food and keep your body at low risk. That is why beans are considered a “superfood for diabetes patients.”

Beans are an excellent meat substitute because they are high in protein but low in carbohydrates and saturated fat. In addition, for your proper bowel functioning, beans contain fiber that can help your metabolism work correctly without pushing it to its limits.

For diabetes patients, it is advised to have around 3 to 6 cups of beans per week. Since it’s an overall healthy food, you can go for more if you love them. 

How to use

With such a large selection of beans, you can use any bean in any way you want. For example, you can eat them with a bowl of salad, gluten-free bread slices, and in a taco or soup. Beans can be a little bland for your taste, but you can use some seasonings of your liking.

5. Chicken soup

Vitamin A, B6, and C

Vitamin A is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It plays a part in developing the immune system and enhances immune function. Vitamin B6 is vital for producing white blood cells and T- cells. Vitamin C is an antioxidant in itself and supports immune cells’ functioning. Its deficiency can lead to reduced immunity and a higher rate of infections.

Impact on immunity

It is no surprise that chicken is a good choice for people with diabetes. This is because a chicken soup has a higher number of vitamins and constitutes minerals essential in maintaining the immune system. For example, zinc and iron are found in chicken soups to enhance immune system function and activate immune cells.

The additional ingredients like vegetables in the soup can make a phenomenal main meal.

Its ability to lower blood sugar levels is also important in improving the immune system. In addition, the existence of antioxidants plays a vital role, and carnosine reduces inflammation during the first stage of infections.

How to use

Instead of fatty, creamy ingredients, the chicken soup should be made with chicken broth. In addition, the chicken breast should be utilized for the soup because it is low in fats. When buying from stores, a serving that has less than 600 mg sodium should be preferred.

6. Yogurt

Vitamin A and B

Yogurt is a great source of vitamins for people with diabetes. It contains vitamin B-5 (also known as pantothenic acid) and vitamin B-12 (also known as cobalamin), which are responsible for red blood cell production, lowering sugar levels in the blood, producing certain hormones, and proper functioning of the nervous and digestive system. 

Yogurt is also high in vitamin A, which aids in bone growth, white blood cell production, and wound healing and acts as an antioxidant to keep our immune system safe and healthy.

Impact on Immunity

Yogurt is high in calcium as well as other nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins. They can help in making your immunity stronger against diseases. However, it can cause some problems for diabetes patients because of the high levels of carbohydrates. Nevertheless, it does not mean you have to skip yogurt if you’re a diabetes patient.

A diabetes patient can also consume other yogurts, such as Greek or probiotic yogurt, with careful nutrition and intake. Greek and probiotic yogurts contain double amounts of protein with fewer carbohydrates, which is an ideal condition against diabetes. If you’re lactose intolerant, you can go for vegan substitutes for yogurt.

How to use

If you have diabetes, it is recommended that you consume 6 to 8 ounces of yogurt per day. Before buying any yogurt, make sure to read the label and the number of nutrients. Yogurt with high carbohydrates must be avoided for diabetes. You can use yogurt in your smoothies, dips, desserts, baking, etc.

7. Nuts

Vitamin E

Nuts are one of the richest immune-boosting foods available for people with diabetes. They contain a hefty amount of vitamin E, which is used for the defense against diabetes, arthritis and is very beneficial for the immune system, glowing skin, and cellulose.

Vitamin E is also considered a “powerhouse of antioxidants” because of its exemplary neutralizing of free radicals. 

Impact on Immunity

Nuts are one of the richest immune-boosting foods available for those with diabetes. They contain unsaturated fats that can help in the growth of cells. They also have other essential nutrients like protein, magnesium, potassium fiber, etc. However, not all nuts can be good for diabetes patients. Salted nuts should be avoided as they can increase the risk of complications.

Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, and pistachios can help regulate blood sugar levels, which is beneficial for patients with Type 2 diabetes. They are also helpful against heart diseases and weight loss. Nuts also function as antioxidants. 

How to use

Nuts can be used in a variety of ways because they come in such a wide range of varieties. The ideal approach is to consume at least 100 grams of nuts per week for diabetes patients. It can add luxury to salads, sugar-free desserts, or be used as a snack, i.e., roasted nuts. 

When dealing with a disease like diabetes, making the right decisions is a must. Your immune system requires boosters to prevent worsening the condition. Look through your options, and do not hesitate to make your diet diverse and versatile.

Many great app tools can help you manage your diabetes-friendly meal routine, such as Beat Diabetes, MyFitnessPal, or Klinio. The latter focuses on personalized tools like customized meal plans according to your allergies and food preferences, personalized workout programs, detailed tracking interfaces, etc.

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