Eat your greens! This has been a common health mantra since time immemorial. Green vegetables, especially the leafy kind, are one of the most nutritious foods you can add to your diet. And if you are at risk of or already suffering from diabetes, you need to consider consuming more of these veggies. A wide variety of leafy greens are available in different parts of India. But one of the most widely available ones is spinach or palak. Wondering exactly how and why you should be including palak in your diabetes diet? Then check out the key benefits and simple tips below.
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Why Is Palak (Spinach) Good For Diabetics?
1. Low glycaemic index
Spinach has a glycaemic index (GI) below 20, which is quite low. This implies that eating spinach leads to a gradual - rather than a sudden - increase in blood sugar levels. Thus, you can prevent unwanted spikes in the same. Note that a low glycaemic index alone is not a measure of foods being diabetes-friendly. Portion size also matters. But the other benefits of spinach combined with its low GI make it especially suitable.
2. High fibre and water content
Spinach has a high-water content (more than 90%) as well as a high fibre content. This allows it to curb your appetite and makes you feel full for longer. This characteristic can help diabetics keep their blood sugar levels under control. It can also be useful for those on a weight-loss diet.
3. Packed with nutrients
Palak is an excellent source of vitamins Vitamin A, C, K1 and B9 as well as minerals including iron and calcium. It also contains many antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds. Many of these nutrients support heart health and may also decrease the risk of chronic diseases - both of which are associated with diabetic complications. Hence, palak is nothing short of a superfood. Here are some tips and recipes for adding it to your diet:
How To Cook Spinach For Diabetics? 7 Easy Ways To Consume Palak For Diabetes:
1. Spinach salad
Add spinach to your salad for a burst of colour, texture and flavour. Spinach pairs well with a variety of ingredients and dressings. For instance, you could try making a spinach and chickpea salad for a power-packed meal. Click here for the recipe.
2. Palak Dal Khichdi
Homemade khichdi is one of the best foods for diabetics, as the lentils used are full of protein and fibre. You can make it even more nutrient-rich by adding some palak to it. Wholesome and satisfying, this khichdi might just become your new comfort meal. Here's the full recipe.
3. Palak idli and dosa
You can also give your idlis and dosas a special spinach twist. These unique palak treats can be relished with regular chutneys and sambhar. You are sure to like their delicious taste and distinctive green colour. Watch the recipe video for palak dosa here. As for spinach idlis, click here for the recipe.
4. Saag preparations
Sometimes, traditional delicacies are the best options. And when it comes to palak, many of us regularly savour it in the form of saag. Different regions of the country have their own versions of not only saag in general but also the palak preparation itself. Most of the other common ingredients in saag, including legumes, onions, tomatoes and spices - are diabetic-friendly. So, continue to savour this desi dish without guilt! Just take care to avoid using too much oil or cream as it will increase the calorie count. If you want to try a Punjabi-style saag, find the detailed recipe here.
5. Palak Juice
Tired of eating spinach? Then you might want to consider drinking it. Spinach juice is an amazing green juice with wide-ranging health benefits apart from diabetes management. And it's pretty simple to make at home. You can also blend other greens and veggies with it while preparing the juice. Here's a recipe for a spinach-cucumber juice you need to try.
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6. Spinach soup
This is another great way to drink your greens. Spinach is commonly used to make several types of soups and creamy ones are especially popular. However, diabetics are generally advised to reduce/ avoid consumption of high-fat cream or milk. So, if you want a low-calorie recipe for spinach soup, check out this one.
7. Palak parathas and rotis
Give your rotis, parathas and cheelas a green upgrade with the help of spinach. You could incorporate it into the dough or in the form of a filling. For instance, you can make a bajra palak roti that combines the goodness of millets, spices as well as spinach. Full recipe here. Another energy-boosting option is ragi roti stuffed with palak. Here's the complete recipe.
You can also incorporate spinach in a range of healthy, homemade snacks, including dhoklas, tikkis, cutlets and more. Healthy, tasty and versatile, palak is here to make your diet more enjoyable.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
About Toshita SahniToshita is fuelled by wordplay, wanderlust, wonderment and Alliteration. When she is not blissfully contemplating her next meal, she enjoys reading novels and roaming around the city.