People who eat legumes such as beans, peas and lentils regularly are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Legumes can also help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood glucose levels as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Legumes are ideal foods to help manage or reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes as they are nutrient rich and most are low glycemic index (GI).
Low GI carbohydrate foods help to improve blood glucose control as these foods are absorbed more slowly than high GI foods and so cause smaller rises in blood glucose levels over time. Choosing legumes more often lowers the overall GI of your diet, assisting blood glucose control.
Eating nutrient rich foods as part of a healthy diet is important for people with diabetes as they are at higher risk of being overweight and developing heart disease. As a high fibre source of protein with a range of vitamins and minerals legumes are a nutritious choice for a healthy diet for everyone, and especially for people with diabetes. Legumes are a good source of B-group vitamins (especially folate), iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium. They are also a source of different fibres including both insoluble and soluble fibre, plus resistant starch.
GLNC recommends all Australians, including people with diabetes, enjoy legumes 2 – 3 times a week for a healthy diet and to reduce risk of disease.
Using legumes to lower GI of a meal
For more information on eating a healthy diet and diabetes visit Diabetes Australia.