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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Healthy Diabetes Recipes to Control Blood Glucose Levels

Love to eat but have to watch your blood sugar? The delicious Fruity Salad, Sweet Potato Bake and Garlic-Onion Bean Dip recipes below let you eat well while you watch your blood glucose levels.

Every year, 1 million Americans aged 20 years or older are diagnosed with diabetes, a disease characterized by high blood sugar levels. According to the National Institutes of Health, an additional 16 million people suffer from impaired glucose tolerance, or IGT, a condition in which the blood glucose levels are elevated, although not high enough to be classified as diabetes. With our typical high-sugar American diet, it's no surprise that incidences of diabetes and IGT are on the rise.

Fortunately, keeping your blood sugar levels in balance is often as simple as adjusting your eating habits. While foods high in simple sugars (e.g., candy, soda, peanut butter, canned soup) can increase your blood glucose, research shows that fiber-rich diets that include vegetables, whole grains and fruits can help control blood sugar levels in most people, and may prevent health complications (such as heart disease or kidney disease) in those who already have diabetes. It's also a good idea to take a nutritional supplement that contains, in particular, the vitamin C, as well as vitamins E and B-complex, and the mineral chromium, all of which are thought to help maintain blood glucose balance. And choosing dishes that are high in fiber can make a world of difference to your blood sugar levels.

The following side-dish recipes offer a delicious way to eat your way to good health:

Fruity Salad
Makes 4-6 servings

The fruit in this salad has natural sugar, but the fiber content of unpeeled fruit helps keep blood glucose levels in balance.

4 red apples (for example, McIntosh, Cortland or Ida Red)
2 Bartlett pears
1/2 pound red grapes
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon apple juice

1. Wash and core apples and pears; cut into one-inch chunks.
2. Wash grapes and cut in half.
3. Combine fruit and walnut pieces in a mixing bowl.
4. In a small bowl, mix cinnamon, nutmeg and apple juice with yogurt.
5. Pour yogurt mixture over fruit and nuts, stirring to coat evenly.
6. Chill before serving.

Sweet Potato Bake
Makes 3-4 servings

One medium sweet potato has 3.5 grams of fiber; one cup of raisins has 4 grams of fiber.

4 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup sun-dried raisins
2 tsp. butter
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. Spray a medium-sized baking dish with non-stick spray.
3. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1/4-inch slices.
4. Arrange layer of potatoes in the baking dish; then dot with butter and sprinkle with raisins.
5. Repeat Step 4 until all potatoes and raisins are used.
6. Blend orange juice, lemon juice and nutmeg; pour over potatoes and raisins.
7. Bake at 350° F for about 35 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
8. Serve hot.

Garlic-Onion Bean Dip
Makes 6-8 servings

Scientific studies indicate that members of the onion family, such as garlic and scallions, help regulate blood sugar. This recipe's added perk: One cup of pinto beans has a whopping 12.2 grams of fiber.

2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped
One can (15-½ oz) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
4-½ tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
Dash cayenne pepper

1. Saute garlic and onion in one teaspoon of olive oil.
2. Place beans, garlic and onion in a food processor.
3. Add remaining ingredients; process until well blended but not entirely smooth.
4. Serve with wheat crackers or assorted fresh vegetables.
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