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What are some cool edibles that are good for diabetics?

 
Kevin Goheen
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Location: Western Kentucky - Zone 7
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I am looking at designing a diabetic's food forest and three plants I have seen so far are sunchokes, stevia, and Kuwa mulberries which inhibit sugar absorption. What are some other cool options? I prefer perennials as it will make it easier on the people themselves. Thoughts?
 
Anne Miller
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Kevin, welcome to permies!  I saw you posted this in another thread:  "I am in zone 7 in Kentucky, we are surrounded by water and rainfall is pretty stable until July and August. The soil is largely clay. I don't know why we get such hot summers, but usually our winters never drop below around 5 degrees."

My husband had type 2 diabetes but eats lots of beans which he feel controls it. I would suggest Scarlet Runner Beans and sweet potato. I tried to search for perennials that are specific for diabetes, but the only list I found was for the southwest and included mesquite, prickly pear and sages.
 
Dan Boone
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Based on my own experience I would go with "anything you could grow."  My type II diabetes is 100% controlled (no meds, normal blood sugar levels and A1c) by a plant-based diet.  No animal products,  no added oils, whole plant foods, done.

I do enjoy sun chokes but most of my calories come from legumes, potatoes, and whole wheat bread.  I eat a lot of fruit.  I really don't think it matters what plants you eat as long as you *just* eat plants.
 
chip sanft
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Dan Boone wrote:I really don't think it matters what plants you eat as long as you *just* eat plants.


Yes to this. Diabetes runs in my family so I've read quite a bit and the upshot is that basically any plant you consume in an unprocessed state is fine. The sole exceptions are some tropical fruits and, arguably, potatoes. But as Dan's example shows, as part of a healthy diet potatoes can be fine, too.

The thing is, people often look at Glycemic Index (GI) and see what looks high. But that measures only the quality of the carbohydrate, on the basis of the effect of 100g of the carb on blood sugar. That's why the Glycemic Load (GL) measure was invented: to reflect how much carb you'd get from a usual eating quantity. And while some plant foods have high GI numbers (watermelon, for example) their GL is so low that if you consume normal amounts, they are fine.

All that said, I still generally limit my eating of potatoes. We often substitute daikon radish, which eats sort of like a potato but has a lower GI.
 
Kevin Goheen
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Location: Western Kentucky - Zone 7
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Good to know. My parents have diabetes and some days they just can't get around to doing anything. Since I am growing the food for next year I thought it might be nice for something diabetic friendly. I think that is really cool about prickly pear cactus since there is a species that local Cherokee have here in Kentucky that is very hardy. I actually have some growing next to my barn. IT survived -10 F a couple of years ago when our fig trees died back to the ground. Course I read there is an opuntia for every contiguous state except the upper Eastern states. But yeah good stuff folks!
 
John Saltveit
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Berries are favored over fruit for diabetes. REd potatoes over brown.  Leafy vegies over starchy ones.  Intact, whole, sprouted grains are way better than flour.  Sprouted beans are better than bean paste. Small amounts of lean, pastured or wild meat over large amounts of cheap, CAFO feed lot meat with the fat still on it.   Like others have said, whole intact unprocessed food over processed food.
JohN S
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Nicole Alderman
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Aren't there a lot of roots whose main source of carbohydrate comes from inulin. I thought I remember reading that inulin good/not bad for diabetics. Some of the sources I know of are like sunchokes (jerusalum artichokes), yacon, camas, and chicory, and I think dalia roots. I think those are also all perenials, depending on where you live.


Cultivariablesells a lot of varieties that they have bred of yacon, sunchokes, dalia, as well as a lot of really neat perenial edibles (seakale, perenial onions, oca, mashua, chinese artichoke....)

 
John Saltveit
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Jicama too.  Mashua?
John S
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Kris Mendoza
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It's an annual, but BITTER MELON is excellent for diabetics. My next door neighbors are in their 70s and are managing diabetes well. They grow and eat tons of the stuff, and swear to its effectiveness. A quick google showed that there has been a fair amount of research that supports this.
 
Nicole Alderman
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John Saltveit wrote:Jicama too.  Mashua?
John S
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Mashua is a plant I tend to consider more medicinal than edible, as it reduces the reproductive function in men (and maybe women too). But it does seem to have a lot of advantages, too. I can't seem to find anything about mashua having inulin, or being particularity good for diabetics, but it wouldn't surprise me if it did.
 
John Saltveit
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Kris Mendoza wrote:It's an annual, but BITTER MELON is excellent for diabetics. My next door neighbors are in their 70s and are managing diabetes well. They grow and eat tons of the stuff, and swear to its effectiveness. A quick google showed that there has been a fair amount of research that supports this.


Yes, and it's well known medicinally, especially in Asian countries. I think there's even a bunch of research on it, although most of it is probably in Japanese or Chinese.  You can usually buy it cheaply at Asian grocery stores.   I think it tastes terrible plain.  No one in my family will eat it except me.  I ferment it,and then the bitter is smaller and balanced by sour, so I can eat it on my green salad.
JohN S
PDX OR
 
Kris Mendoza
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They stir-fried it, sliced like zucchini, with onions and tomatoes and then scrambled the whole thing with eggs. I enjoyed it that way.
 
John Saltveit
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Thanks Kris,
There are many exceedingly healthy foods that are really not good tasting one way. The whole point of cuisine as a part of culture is to figure out how to make the good stuff palatable.  I can't tell you how many very healthy types of food I tried and couldn't tolerate.  Then eventually I found a way to eat it that I liked, and now I eat it regularly.  You can make a huge improvement in your health and your life that way.
John S
PDX OR
 
Galadriel Freden
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How about mushrooms
 
Tobias Ber
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stinging nettles? they have enough protein to pack some calories as a leafy green.

edit: and nut trees/bushes
 
Angelika Maier
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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I don't know if you can grow yacon but the leaves have the reputation to be antidiabetic, my guess is that the roots have then some antidiabetic properties too. The yields of this plant are ridiculous. They sell a syup out of yacon roots too. The best root after potato (OK sweet potato).
 
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