It’s getting hotter outside, and an easy way to cool down is with something tasty to drink. While diabetics may sometimes think that beverage options consist of water and diet soda, there are so many delicious drinks out there that won’t raise your blood sugar!
Let’s begin with an obvious choice, good old-fashioned water. We all know we should be drinking more water, but how many of us actually know the importance of it? Are we still more likely to reach for a soda than a glass of water?
Water is critical to each and every body process. From the transportation of nutrients throughout the body, to regulating body temperature, digesting food, and more. The brain, kidneys, gut, and skin are just a few organ systems that require water to function at all. Not to mention minor ailments like constipation and headache that can be relieved simply by drinking water.
Since your brain is mostly water, when you drink water, your brain works better. Your thought process will be faster, you will be more focused, and be able to concentrate more. You will feel more alert, awake and refreshed.
Speaking of alert and awake, let’s move on to coffee and tea! According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day appears to be safe for healthy adults. That’s no more than 4 cups of coffee per day. If we consume more than 400 mg of caffeine daily, symptoms can range from insomnia to irritability. Upset stomach, muscle tremors, and elevated heart rate can also occur.
In moderation, there are several health benefits to drinking coffee and tea. Many of these benefits are focused in the brain. Studies show that caffeine may improve memory and cognitive performance. Caffeine has also been associated with lowered risk for Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. The antioxidants found in tea help fight free radical damage to the body’s cells and coffee consumption has been linked to decreased risk of Type II diabetes.
Enjoying a glass of wine may be something that many think is off-limits for diabetics. However, in recent years, research has found that drinking red wine has several potential health benefits. Is that the best news you’ve heard so far today? While most enjoy a glass while socializing or to de-stress, red wine could now be a tool to help improve your health!
For diabetics, the most obvious benefit is the regulation of blood sugar. This is believed to be due to resveratrol (a polyphenol with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.) Resveratrol helps to enhance the release of insulin into the blood stream, therefore keeping blood sugar down. You can thank grapes for the resveratrol present in wine. Resveratrol can also be found in other foods like blueberries, raspberries, and peanuts.
Have you ever heard someone say “Red wine is good for your heart?” Another benefit of resveratrol is the reduction of fat buildup in the arteries. Flavonoids, also present in red wine, help fight cardiovascular diseases, and procyanidins help to keep blood vessels healthy. When consumed in moderation, red wine raises levels of good cholesterol and lowers risk of heart diseases and stroke.
While there are many beverages to enjoy without raising blood sugar, there are certain drinks to avoid.
Fruit juices and concentrates may seem healthy, but are likely packed with added sugars. Whole, fresh fruit is always the best choice when it comes to enjoying natural sugars, and if you really love juice, invest in a juicer and make your own tasty blends at home!
If you’re a milk drinker, be sure to choose full-fat, organic milk. Skim milk may appear to be the healthier choice, full-fat milk contains the lowest amount of sugar, and the highest amount of healthy fats. (Same goes for yogurts and cheeses!)
Traditional sodas and soft drinks are obvious sugar-spikers, with 12-14 teaspoons of sugar per can! Diet sodas may be tempting – after all, they have zero sugar and zero calories… it’s almost like drinking water, right? Wrong!
Diet sodas contain all manner of artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Sucralose, saccharin, and acesulfame are all names for artificial sugar and can wreak havoc in the body. Science is now showing us that artificial sweeteners could be just as harmful to the body as real sugar, even though they don’t “technically” contain sugar.
So take this knowledge, pour a glass of your favorite diabetic-friendly beverage, and toast to your best health!