Healthy Smoothies with Low Glycemic Index for Diabetics
Diabetics have special dietary needs. They cannot afford to eat foods that would raise their blood sugar levels. At the same time, they need all the important nutrients that they can get, including minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. People with diabetes need healthy smoothies with low glycemic index.
The glycemic index tells you how much a certain food item will raise a person’s blood sugar level after eating that food. Foods with low GI avoid blood sugar spikes. They include most vegetables, especially leafy greens, and fruits such as berries, grapefruit, apples, peaches, coconut and oranges. Dates and watermelons have high GI’s.
Tips for Making Smoothies with Low Glycemic Index
Base. Whole milk (cow’s or goat’s) is actually a good low-glycemic index base for a smoothie. You can also use whole kefir, yogurt, homemade nut milk or diluted coconut milk. Rice milk and commercially sweetened yogurts contain extra carbohydrates that are not good for diabetics.
Whole milk is recommended because the fat slows down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. Fat lowers the overall glycemic index of the drink.
Coconut oil is, in fact, a good addition to a healthy smoothie. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to keep you full longer. This healthy fat also boosts the metabolism and supports the thyroid.
Fruits. Fruits provide fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. All kinds of berries are high in fiber and have low glycemic index. Apples, pears, peaches and cherries also have low GI. Bananas, papaya, grapes, pineapple and mangoes have moderate GI. If you have diabetes, you can safely add these fruits to your smoothie and pair them with whole milk or yogurt to lower the glycemic index. Avoid dates and watermelons.
Keep in mind that the fiber in fruits regulates the release of sugar into the bloodstream. Thus, fiber helps prevent blood sugar spikes.
Sweeteners. Sugar, honey and maple syrup should be avoided for obvious reasons. Most smoothie recipes are sweet enough from the natural sugars in the fruit. If you need to sweeten your drink, use stevia, a natural sweetener.
Extra nutrition. To boost the nutrition of your low-glycemic index smoothie, add a few leafy greens such as spinach or lettuce. You can also add greens supplement powder.
Try the following recipes to make healthy smoothies with low glycemic index.