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Home arrow Health arrow Diabetes arrow Is Spinach Good for Diabetes? Nutrition, Glycemic Index

Is Spinach Good for Diabetes? Nutrition, Glycemic Index

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 8, 2023
3 min read 1498 Views 0 Comments
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Are you on the hunt for some food that improves a diabetes diet? Well, you have come to the right place because we explain why spinach is good for diabetes and whether it affects blood sugar levels.

is spinach good for diabetes

Spinach is one of the healthiest foods you can eat.

Just one cup of this leafy green vegetable contains all of the nutrients you need. This can be iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. These minerals play a very important role in regulating blood sugar levels, especially in those who struggle to follow a balanced diet.

Of course, spinach is quite plain on its own. That’s what makes it such a versatile ingredient for green smoothies, wraps, and salads. The low glycemic index pushes spinach to the top of your diabetes-friendly food list, so why not try it? 

In this article, you’ll discover if spinach is good for managing diabetes.

Is Spinach Good for Diabetes?

Yes, spinach is good for diabetes due to the high amount of vitamins and minerals. This leafy green contains almost no carbs or sugars, making it great for lowering blood sugar. You can enjoy this with other healthy vegetables, like carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, and kale.

Raw spinach has a negligible effect on blood glucose levels in your body. The fiber content slows the absorption of sugar, leading to reduced diabetes-related symptoms. Any type of dietary fiber prevents blood sugar spikes and maintains strong glycemic control.

The low amount of carbohydrates may control blood sugar levels. Eating too many carbs on your diabetes-friendly diet can promote weight gain, weaken your metabolism, and increase the risk of heart disease. To avoid this, eat green leafy vegetables like spinach in every meal.

Spinach is also great for the ketogenic diet. You would eat low-carb meals to boost ketone production – a process that pushes your body into ketosis. This diet can help with long-term weight loss, but it’s especially vital in improving diabetes and boosting insulin sensitivity

People with diabetes can follow the keto diet for weight loss. The body burns calories throughout the day while still regulating blood sugar control. You could make spinach juice (much like green smoothies) using strawberry slices, avocados, almond milk, and spinach. 

Does Spinach Affect Blood Sugars? 

No, eating spinach in your meals will not raise blood sugar levels. Spinach has a low GI score that can’t disrupt diabetes management. Some people enjoy spinach in large quantities, as this water-soluble vegetable benefits your long-term gut and heart health. 

There are many nutrients in spinach that help lower blood sugar content. The antioxidants can reduce oxidative stress in those with diabetes. Vitamins C and E are two antioxidants you’ll be digesting, which may decrease inflammation associated with chemicals called cytokines. 

Magnesium is another mineral that will boost your overall health. It can manage both insulin and carbohydrate metabolism, leading to reduced insulin resistance. Some people also take magnesium for weight loss when losing stubborn weight on a diabetes diet plan. 

Nutritional Value of Spinach 

Spinach contains lots of important nutrients that offer long-term health benefits. You should consume spinach at least two to three times a week to balance your healthy diet. Just remember that you can never eat too much of this food, as it doesn’t harm blood sugar levels.

Below, you’ll find the nutritional value of spinach per 100g

Net CarbsTotal CarbsFatsProtein
CaloriesFiberSugarsGlycemic Index

As you can see, spinach is great for those with type 2 diabetes. It has a low-carbohydrate content and doesn’t contain many calories. One thing to note is that spinach holds 6,103mcg of beta-carotene – an organic pigment that strengthens your eye health in the long term.

You should aim to eat around one bowl of spinach a day to gain the benefits. This amount is especially good for people who want to improve their diabetes. People can add spinach to fruit smoothies, salad dishes, stir fry meals, and vegetable juices to absorb the nutrients.

Spinach Glycemic Index 

The glycemic index of spinach is 15. This low-GI food won’t raise your blood glucose levels or trigger diabetes-related symptoms. However, be aware that spinach juice might have a higher GI, depending on the ingredients you mix with the green smoothie. 

Since spinach is so healthy, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has advised people to include it in their diet. The “superstar” food can’t disrupt glucose production and encourage more insulin. Because of the low GI, you can consume spinach in large amounts with every meal.

Spinach is one of the cruciferous vegetables that provide many health benefits. Of course, it can regulate blood sugar, but it also prevents serious diseases. The zeaxanthin and carotenoids in spinach leaves eliminate cancerous cells that might otherwise do long-term damage.

Diets containing a low-glycemic load can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. This is because they often contain no saturated fats, carbs, or sugars that strain your blood vessels. You can pair spinach with chicken, carrots, tomatoes, or avocados for diabetes management

A Word From Our MD

You should definitely consume spinach when controlling diabetes. Spinach can be eaten raw or mixed with other green leafy vegetables in your diet. This non-starchy veggie contains all diabetes-friendly nutrients, like magnesium, thiamine, carotenoids, zinc, iron, and vitamin C.

To manage diabetes in the long term, you should avoid starchy vegetables that have lots of carbohydrates, fats, and sugars. For example, potatoes have a high GI, meaning they can raise blood sugar. Always stick to non-starchy vegetables that can’t affect your blood glucose content.

People are also advised to stay away from canned vegetables. This is because companies add sugars and preservatives to maintain flavor. Added sugars are known to trigger diabetes symptoms, especially in those who struggle to maintain good weight management.

Consult with a doctor if you struggle to manage diabetes. They can find the right treatment or direct you to a registered dietitian. Gaining professional advice is important for changing your diet in a healthy way and consuming a rich source of nutrients for your long-term health.


So, can spinach support those with diabetes?

Spinach has an excellent nutritional profile that will regulate your blood sugar levels. The soluble fiber can prevent diabetes-related complications and serious constipation. Just remember that more is better, as you can eat spinach whenever you want throughout the diet plan. 

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 8, 2023
3 min read 1498 Views 0 Comments

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