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Diabetes-Friendly Soups We Love

January 18, 2022
Written by
Team NutriSense
Brooke McKelvey

It’s winter, and what better time to talk about one of the coziest, cold-weather dishes around— soup! From vegetable soup to chicken soup, hearty stews to light, warming broths to chowder... it’s the ultimate comfort food this season. And there’s no better dish to warm yourself with on a cold wintry evening and no easier meal to spoon up on busy weeknights than a bowl of delicious soup. 

Not all soups are a healthy option for everyone, so it’s not as easy as a bowl of soup a day can keep the doctor away. Save that proverb for apples! And while there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to any kind of food, there are various healthy soups you can add to your meal plan. From low-calorie to hearty soups that add essential nutrients to your diet, there’s something for everyone. 

Soups and Diabetes

When you’re diabetic, looking for dinner recipes can be a little more complicated than prep times and available ingredients. Sure, you’re thinking about whether you’re feeling like eating a gazpacho or a minestrone, whether you want to saute the veggies or throw everything in an instant pot. But you may also be thinking about what works best for you regarding blood sugar responses. And not all recipes come with a blood sugar guide for your specific body!

If you have diabetes, you know that managing blood sugar levels are vital for your day-to-day health, and eating certain foods could cause unhealthy spikes. Glucose (what your body uses for energy) is broken down by your body from the food you consume. If you are diabetic, your body may not handle glucose properly. 

While everyone responds differently to different foods, there are certain things you can keep in mind when you’re testing your favorite soup recipes this season. To help you out, here are a few things you should know about diabetes and dietary choices. Then read on to pick from some of our favorite soup recipes, and see why they may be an excellent option to experiment with if you have diabetes.

Some Helpful Dietary Tips for Diabetics

A person in the kitchen cooking soup

If you have diabetes, you know how important your dietary choices are. But just because you have to be careful about what you eat doesn’t mean that you have to forego all the foods you love. It just means that you have to learn what works best for your body, moderate your intake of certain foods and find healthy options that work well for you. 

For example, bean and lentil soups may be a great way to lower cholesterol for some and a terrible option for others. Some people may respond well to soups with ground beef, while others may fare better with some simple vegetable soups. You have probably spoken with your doctor or are working with a registered dietitian to manage the condition. Also, consider tracking and monitoring your food intake using a tool like a CGM!

Foods to Focus On

Whole fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are packed with fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants and are a great addition to your meal plan. Remember to find the specific fruits and vegetables that work well for your body to add to your soups! 

Protein: Proteins helps to slow down the digestion process and subsequently, the release of glucose into the bloodstream. Eating protein with every meal can also help you stay feeling fuller, longer. Focus adding proteins like lean meat, poultry, fish, nuts, eggs, legumes, and tofu to your soups. 

Whole Grains: Whole grains like quinoa and brown rice may be a great addition to your meals, if you tolerate them. You can also add whole grains like oats to your soups if you choose to incorporate them in your diet. 

Legumes: Get healthy carbohydrates by eating beans, lentils, and peas. Legumes are packed with dietary fiber, a carb that helps your digestive system function and helps slow the uptake of sugar into your bloodstream.

Foods to Moderate 

Processed Sugary Foods: Avoid foods like candy, cookies, cakes, sweet cereals, and donuts. Opt for fresh over canned foods as canned versions often have added sugars. 

Starches: Consider moderating vegetables like corn, potatoes, and sweet potatoes in your diet. Starch breaks down into sugar and can spike blood sugar for some people. 

Sugary Drinks: Sodas, fruit juices, and energy drinks are high in added sugars. Stay hydrated with water and add some fruits, citrus, or herbs to add flavor while staying blood sugar friendly. 

Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages are often high in carbohydrate and sugar content. Stick to clear spirits and low sugar mixers if you have a cocktail or dry, red wines.

Processed Grains: Bread, pasta, and tortillas made with white flour will break down into sugar more quickly and can lead to elevated blood sugar levels.. 

Our Favorite Diabetic-Friendly Soups

When you’re looking through recipes so you can enjoy a delicious bowl of soup this season, focus on finding recipes with a balance of protein, high fiber carbs, and vegetables. Once you find a good base, you can examine what you add for flavor. 

It’s a good idea to experiment to find a combination that works best for your individual needs since not all these ingredients will be the perfect pick for everyone. Also, remember not to make any drastic changes to your diet without consulting a healthcare professional. Here are a few of our favorites: 

Hearty Tomato Soup with Beans & Greens from Eating Well

Hearty Tomato Soup with Beans & Greens

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) of low-sodium hearty-style tomato soup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped kale
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper (this is optional)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) no-salt-added cannellini beans, rinsed
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Why we love it: This recipe is packed with fiber and vitamins from its veggies. It’s pretty low-carb, and beans and cheese can be a good source of protein. 

Greens and Beans Turkey Soup from Taste of Home

Greens and Beans Turkey Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 leftover turkey carcass (from a 12-pound turkey)
  • 9 cups of water
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 can (15 and 1/2 ounces) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Why we love it: In this recipe, the turkey that is the focus of this delicious soup is full of lean protein. The beans make this a filling, hearty soup, and the spinach and celerity add fiber. 

Butternut Squash and Millet Soup from Diabetes Self Management

Butternut Squash and Millet Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 2 1/4 cups diced butternut squash or 1 (10 ounces) package frozen diced butternut squash
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 4 ounces each), cooked and chopped
  • 1 cup cooked millet

Why we love it: This recipe is a delightful way to warm up on a cold night. Squash is full of vitamins and antioxidants, and the chicken will add that much-needed protein to this meal. 

Vegan Mushroom Soup from Diabetes Strong

Two bowls of Vegan Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 16 oz. mushrooms
  • 8 sprigs of fresh thyme (leaves removed and set aside)
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 14 oz canned coconut milk (coconut cream can also be used for extra creaminess)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut Aminos (or regular soy sauce)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Why we love it: This recipe is an excellent option for vegetarians, vegans... anyone looking for a meat-free bowl of soup. Coconut milk has healthy fats, and mushrooms are a fantastic, hearty alternative to meats.

Effortless Egg Drop Soup from Everyday Diabetic Recipes

Effortless Egg Drop Soup on a chopping board with garnish alongside

Ingredients

  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Why we love it: This recipe is all about protein. There is a little bit of starch content, but as long as you don’t overeat, this soup is sure to warm your heart and provide you with healthy nutrients! 

Low-Carb Keto Zuppa Toscana Soup from Shugary Sweets

Low-Carb Keto Zuppa Toscana Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 pound mild Italian Sausage
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 32 ounces beef bone broth (or beef broth)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 head cauliflower, diced
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups fresh spinach (5 ounces) or kale
  • salt and pepper, optional
  • crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • shredded parmesan cheese for garnish, optional

Why we love it: We love how filling this hearty soup recipe is. If you want to pack in a little extra spice for heat, substitute the mild sausage with spicy Italian sausage. This soup is protein-packed from the meat to the bone broth and perfect for cold winter nights by the fire. 

Keto Mexican Chicken Soup for Your Crockpot from Low Carb Yum

Mexican Chicken Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds chicken pieces boneless/skinless
  • 15.5 ounces chunky salsa 
  • 15 ounces chicken bone broth
  • 8 ounces Monterey or Pepper Jack cheese cubed or shredded

Why we love it: This recipe is easy to make and will always hit the spot. The only part of this ingredient list that you need to be cautious about buying is salsa. Some salsas will have added sugar content. 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup from Delish

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed (seeds removed)
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
  • 1-quart low-sodium chicken broth

Why we love it: This recipe is packed with whole vegetables and herbs. It is incredibly filling and has a slightly sweet but savory flavor, thanks to the butternut squash.

Easy Pork Posole from Taste of Home

Easy Pork Posole

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder butt roast, cubed
  • 1/2 pound fully cooked andouille sausage links, sliced
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 can (16 ounces) hominy, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • Optional: Corn tortillas, additional chopped onion, minced fresh cilantro, and lime wedges

Why we love it: This soup recipe is a traditional Mexican dish that we adore! It’s packed with protein and vegetables. If you want to eat tortillas with it, make sure to opt for corn tortillas instead of flour. 

Classic Tomato Soup from Cookie and Kate

Classic Tomato Soup with a bowl of sunflower seeds alongside

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) of whole tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup cooked Great Northern beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into a few pieces
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar or brown sugar, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For the tomato-basil variation (optional): 10 to 15 fresh basil leaves, to taste

Why we love it: This recipe not only has whole vegetables in it but has the added protein and fiber from the beans. This version is one of our favorite takes on tomato soup because of how filling it is. 

Engage with Your Blood Glucose Levels with Nutrisense

Your blood sugar levels can significantly impact how your body feels and functions. That’s why stable blood glucose levels can be an important factor in supporting overall wellbeing.

With Nutrisense, you’ll be able to track your blood glucose levels over time using a CGM, so you can make lifestyle choices that support healthy living.

When you join the program, our team of credentialed dietitians and nutritionists are available for additional support and guidance to help you reach your goals.

Ready to take the first step? Start with our quiz to see how Nutrisense can support your health.

Click here to listen to the podcast.
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Diabetes-Friendly Soups We Love
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Vinegar and Blood Sugar: Does It Lower It?
Vinegar and Blood Sugar: Does It Lower It?

Read on to find out what impact, if any, vinegar really has on our body’s ability to balance blood sugar.

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8
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Useful Glycemic Index Charts For Fruits and Vegetables
Useful Glycemic Index Charts For Fruits and Vegetables

Review our glycemic index charts for the most common fruits and vegetables to better understand the impact on your glucose levels.

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8
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Understanding the Relationship Between Menopause and Metabolic Health
Understanding the Relationship Between Menopause and Metabolic Health

Did you know that menopause can affect your metabolic health, and vice versa? Read on to understand the relationship between metabolic health and menopause, and how to manage metabolic health during your menopausal journey. 

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7
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Understanding The Effects of Sugar on the Brain According to Research
Understanding The Effects of Sugar on the Brain According to Research

What really happens to your brain when you consume sugar? Review how interesting the relationship between the brain and sugar is, and why it’s important to control your blood sugar.

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9
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Understanding the Causes and Symptoms of Endometriosis
Understanding the Causes and Symptoms of Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a common yet often ignored condition. Learn more about the symptoms to watch out for, how you can seek treatment, and read first-hand accounts from two women who have dealt with endometriosis.

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6
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Understanding Hyperglycemia vs. Hypoglycemia and How to Recognize the Differences
Understanding Hyperglycemia vs. Hypoglycemia and How to Recognize the Differences

Quickly understand the differences between hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, how to recognize the signs, and key prevention tips.

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6
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Triglycerides and Blood Glucose [+Tips to Lower Triglyceride Levels]
Triglycerides and Blood Glucose [+Tips to Lower Triglyceride Levels]

Learn everything you need to know about the relationship between triglycerides levels and blood glucose.


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7
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Tips and Tricks for Staying Healthy in the Summer
Tips and Tricks for Staying Healthy in the Summer

If you're gearing up to travel or spend more time outdoors this summer, here are a few tips to help you stay safe and hydrated in the sun.

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7
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Tips for a Healthy, Happy Purim
Tips for a Healthy, Happy Purim

Purim, a joyous occasion celebrated around March or April every year, is just around the corner! Read on to learn more about the holiday and the delicious foods that accompany it.

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5
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Thoughtful Valentine's Day Gift Ideas from NutriSense Dietitians
Thoughtful Valentine's Day Gift Ideas from NutriSense Dietitians

Still haven't settled on the perfect gift for your Valentine this year? Take a look at our Nutrition Team's favorites for some thoughtful ideas.

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10
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The Warning Signs of Nerve Damage You Should Watch Out For
The Warning Signs of Nerve Damage You Should Watch Out For

Because nerve damage can have many silent symptoms, it often goes undiagnosed in the early stages. Read on to learn more about what causes nerve damage and some warning signs to watch out for.

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7
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The Ultimate Guide to Fiber and its Effect on Metabolic Health
The Ultimate Guide to Fiber and its Effect on Metabolic Health

Ready to learn all about fiber beyond just the basics? In this post, we dive deep into the different kinds of fiber and health benefits of each. From functional fiber to fermentation, we break down all the jargon into a layman's language.

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8
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The Relationship Between Cardio and Blood Sugar
The Relationship Between Cardio and Blood Sugar

Did you know that cardio can help you lose weight as well as optimize your health and blood glucose? Here's everything you need to know about cardio and its relationship with blood sugar.

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7
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The Side Effects of Unhealthy Weight Loss
The Side Effects of Unhealthy Weight Loss

Find out what unhealthy weight loss is and learn more about its side effects and what you can do to prevent them.

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6
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The Relationship Between Low Blood Sugar and High Blood Pressure
The Relationship Between Low Blood Sugar and High Blood Pressure

Learn about the warning signs of low blood sugar and the relationship it has on blood pressure.

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10
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The Positive Impact Weight Lifting Has on Blood Sugar
The Positive Impact Weight Lifting Has on Blood Sugar

Here is everything you need to know about the relationship between weight lifting and blood sugar.

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7
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The Relationship Between Cholesterol and Blood Sugar
The Relationship Between Cholesterol and Blood Sugar

Cholesterol plays a very important role in the human body, contributing to the structure of the cells, helping with vitamin D synthesis, and also promoting the production of steroid and sex hormones, like cortisol, aldosterone, testosterone, and estrogen. But how exactly is cholesterol connected to blood glucose levels?

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8
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The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Diabetes
The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Diabetes

NutriSense dietitian Katrina Larsen, MS, RD,N, LD, CDCES discusses the risk factors for sleep apnea and how this disorder is linked to other health conditions.

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5
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The Paleo Diet and Blood Glucose Levels
The Paleo Diet and Blood Glucose Levels

The premise of the paleo diet is that the body can handle a mix of meats, fruits and vegetables, eggs, fish, and complex carbohydrates better than processed meats, refined fats, grains and simple carbohydrates because it evolved to eat the first category as hunter-gatherers.

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8
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The Health Benefits of Winter Squash
The Health Benefits of Winter Squash

A common ingredient in cozy winter recipes, winter squash is one of our favorite foods this time of year. Read on to learn more about how it can benefit your health.

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6
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The NutriSense Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers We Love
The NutriSense Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers We Love

Haven't finished your holiday shopping yet? Pick from this list of NutriSense-approved holiday gifts to find some great last-minute stocking stuffers for everyone on your list!

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8
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The NutriSense Holiday Gift Guide: Health-Focused Gifts They’ll Love
The NutriSense Holiday Gift Guide: Health-Focused Gifts They’ll Love

Still haven't bought all your holiday gifts this year? Don't worry—there's still time to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Read our guide for some great ideas!

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9
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The Link Between Inflammation and Blood Glucose
The Link Between Inflammation and Blood Glucose

Learn more about inflammation, how it affects blood glucose levels and what you can do to prevent and manage it.

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9
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The Health Benefits of Adding Fermented Foods to Your Diet
The Health Benefits of Adding Fermented Foods to Your Diet

Fermented foods have a range of health benefits. Read on to learn more about what they are and why you should be adding them to your diet.

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9
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The Health Benefits of Potatoes, Yams, and Sweet Potatoes
The Health Benefits of Potatoes, Yams, and Sweet Potatoes

Potatoes, yams, and sweet potatoes are similar in usage, but pretty distinct in taste, texture, appearance, and even nutritional content! Read on to find out more about each one.

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8
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The Health Benefits of Living With Pets
The Health Benefits of Living With Pets

Did you know that living with a pet can do more than just put a smile on your face? Read on to learn all the ways living with pets improves your wellbeing.

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7
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The Health Benefits of Cooking With Herbs and Spices
The Health Benefits of Cooking With Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor to dishes, and also have a range of health benefits. Learn more about a few of our favorites.

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12
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The Health Benefits of Beans
The Health Benefits of Beans

Learn about the health benefits of beans and how they can help you live a healthier, longer life.

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6
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The Guide to Metabolic Diets: What Are They, Do They Work, And Who Should Try Them?
The Guide to Metabolic Diets: What Are They, Do They Work, And Who Should Try Them?

Review our guide to metabolic diets to help get a better understanding of what they are and whether they might be right for you.

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The Foods and Traditions of Kwanzaa
The Foods and Traditions of Kwanzaa

Learn about the traditions and nutrient-dense food commonly enjoyed during Kwanzaa. 

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9
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The Blood Sugar and Joint Pain Connection
The Blood Sugar and Joint Pain Connection

Have you ever wondered how your glucose levels might be connected to joint pain? We'll take a deep dive into this connection and share tips for reducing pain.

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10
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The Best Diet for Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia
The Best Diet for Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia

This article explores hypoglycemia in non-diabetics, how to manage symptoms through diet, and the advantages of glucose monitoring.

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6
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The Effect of Aging on Your Blood Glucose Levels
The Effect of Aging on Your Blood Glucose Levels

Take a look at how aging can affect your blood glucose levels.

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9
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The Best Diet to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels
The Best Diet to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels

Read on to learn more about vitamin D-rich foods and what you should include in your diet to make the most of this vitamin’s health benefits.

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10
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The Best Diet for Menstruation
The Best Diet for Menstruation

When it comes to your menstrual cycle, what you eat can significantly impact how you feel. Read on to learn more about the best foods to add to your diet to help during that time of the month.

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8
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The Benefits and Risks of Popular Ayurvedic Herbs and Spices
The Benefits and Risks of Popular Ayurvedic Herbs and Spices

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian holistic healing system that dates back over 5,000 years. In the second installment of our series on the practice, review the benefits and risks associated with popular Ayurvedic herbs and spices.

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The Beginner’s Guide to the Low FODMAP Diet
The Beginner’s Guide to the Low FODMAP Diet

In this article, we break down what a low FODMAP diet looks like for beginners, and its potential benefits and drawbacks for gastrointestinal health.

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The 6 Worst Foods for Osteoporosis
The 6 Worst Foods for Osteoporosis

When it comes to bone health, good nutrition is absolutely critical. Read on to learn what osteoporosis is and why some foods may increase your risk of or worsen the condition.