Chocolate is rich in flavonoids, and research shows that these nutrients reduce insulin resistance, improve insulin sensitivity, drop insulin levels and fasting blood glucose, and blunt cravings. But not all chocolate is created equal.
In a 2008 study from the University of Copenhagen, people who ate dark chocolate reported that they felt less like eating sweet, salty or fatty foods compared to volunteers given milk chocolate, with its lower levels of beneficial flavonoids (and, often, more sugar and fat, too).
Dark chocolate also cut the amount of pizza that volunteers consumed later in the same day, by 15 per cent.
The flavonoids in chocolate have also been shown to lower stroke risk, calm blood pressure and reduce your risk for a heart attack by 2 per cent over five years.
Another benefit of dark chocolate is its ability to boost cognitive performance.
Broccoli is an anti-diabetes superhero.
As with other cruciferous vegies, like kale and cauliflower, it contains a compound called sulforaphane, which triggers several anti-inflammatory processes that improve blood sugar control and protect blood vessels from the cardiovascular damage that’s often a consequence of diabetes.
(Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people with diabetes, so this protection could be a lifesaver.)
Sulforaphane also helps flip on the body’s natural detox mechanisms, coaxing enzymes to turn dangerous cancer-causing chemicals into more innocent forms that the body can easily release.
A diet packed full of lots of vegies is the best way to go for overall good health.
Blueberries really stand out.
They are a good source of fibre: both insoluble fibre (which “flushes” fat out of your system) and soluble fibre (which slows down the emptying of your stomach, and improves blood sugar control).
In a study by the United States Department of Agriculture, people who consumed 2.5 cups of wild blueberry juice per day for 12 weeks lowered their blood glucose levels, lifted depression and improved their memories.
Researchers credit these results to anthocyanins in the berries, a natural chemical that shrinks fat cells and also stimulates the release of adiponectin, a hormone that regulates blood glucose levels, among other things.
Increasing adiponectin levels can help keep blood sugar low and increase our sensitivity to insulin.