Green Vegetables, Salad Vegetables and Diabetes

Why Eat Vegetables?

Green Vegetables and Salad Vegetables are high in fibre, very low in fat, low to very low in calories and carbohydrate.

Some of that carbohydrate being the slow acting fructose (or fruit sugar) too.

Like fruit they are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and other nutritional needs. Many have a protective effect too, against cancer as well as heart disease and the other complications of diabetes.

There are no glycemic index figures available for many foods on this page. Probable because you would have to eat Kilo's of the stuff to get even a small effect on blood sugar levels!

If you don't like one or some of them. Try some of the others there is a lot of choice, far more than this page shows.


Include Vegetables with Meals.

Eaten on their own the vegetables on this page have a very modest effect on blood sugar levels.

Eaten by diabetic's as part of a meal or together with a sandwich/snack. They can slow down the effects of other foods with more carbohydrate. Helping to keep blood sugar levels under better control.

That's on top of the 5 a day benefits that everyone gets.

Cooking Vegetables.

Don't over cook. Vegetables lose nutritional value when over cooked. Nutritionally too, steaming is a better option than boiling.

If you super heat vegetables in the microwave too, that can lose nutritional value. Try cooking small quantities on a lower power setting you can add a little water, in effect steaming the food.

Stir Fry's.

Stir Frying is an excellent alternative way to cook vegetables.

Cooking fresh vegetables is best of course, but a stir fry is a good way of using up all the left over vegetables too, toss 'em all in!

Colour in Vegetables.

Colour in vegetables is a guide to what nutritionally is in the vegetable. To get a varied (and a very healthy) diet choose a range of brightly coloured vegetables (and fruits).

That should includes some dark green vegetables too, lots of those on this page! Remember white and pale green are not as good.

Fresh or Frozen?

Fresh is marginally best as long as it is fresh. If its not; or if it looks stale, blemished or discoloured then frozen is better.

Fresh vegetables like fruit lose nutritional value as they age.

External Links.

Green Vegetables and Salad Vegetables.Notes.
Over rated and expensive in my opinion, but nutritionally fine (external link).
Bean Sprouts A healthy stir fry ingredient as are most vegetables on this page.
Brocolli: one of the Vegetable Stars!
Much as I dislike Broccoli it is actually very good for you, a vegetable star in fact. I do eat (a little of) it but only for that reason.

High in soluble fibre, rich in Vitamin C, a source of Iron, Beta Carotene and the list goes on.

One of the Brassica family which includes Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Kohlrabi and Sprouts.

Don't like Cabbage? Try it a stir fry, its quite different rather nice actually. Or 'Tipsy Cabbage': Slow cook with onions, cider, pepper and diced turkey thigh.

Nutritionally Savoy (a dark green cabbage with wrinkled leaves) is one of the best cabbages. I also think it tastes better than the bland white cabbage.

Cauliflower Relative of the Cabbage. High in vitamin C but not one of the vegetables stars, the leaves are edible too.
CeleryAlkaline if you suffer from excess stomach acid.

As well as a salad vegetable it adds flavour to casseroles and vegetable bakes or stir fries.

CourgetteNice grilled or baked.
Sliced Cucumber
Cucumber goes well with oily fish like Tuna or Salmon.
Kale or Curly Kale Kale another cabbage like vegetable, needs a saok and rinse as dirt can get trapped in the leave curls. I think its seasonal as I have only seen this in Spring.
Kohlrabi Haven't actually tried this, yet.
Leeks A mild relative of the onion, nice and chunky so easy to eat a portion.

A simple way to prepare it: Cut the Leeks into rings, add a little water, black pepper and english mustard. Cover and microwave until tender, stirring midway through cooking. Great with a cheese sauce too.

LettuceDark coloured lettuce having the most nutritional value.
Mushrooms. Okay not a Green or Salad Vegetable. Another low calorie food though that counts towards the 5 a day total.

I never understand why people fry them, they are great just microwaved:-
No need to add water, just wash and pop them in the microwave in a covered dish. Add a few herbs if you fancy. Microwave until the juices bubble and thats it.

Onion Slice
Onions have about 8% carbohydrate. Low in calories, a tasty and healthy choice (external link).
Pak Choi. Another Brassica related to the Cabbage.
Red Pepper
Another of the tastier vegetables. Excellent in a stir fry too.
Radish A small root vegetable actually but low in calories and only 5% carbohydrate.
Spinach Another vegetable star that you can eat raw, don't over cook. High in soluble fibre, beta carotene. Thought to help protect the eye from cataract and macular eye damage.
Spring Greens
Spring Greens.
Fairly loose headed cabbage like plant. Spring seasonal vegetable. Consists mostly of dark green leaves, which takes 5 or 6 minutes to boil or steam.
Spring Onion
Spring Onion.
Most people discard most of the green ends. Chop the ends up and try using them in your cooking.
Sprouts. They are fairly chunky and I find them an easy (and not unpleasant) way to get up to the 5 a day total.

If you eat some of the leafier sorts of greens it can seem a huge amount of the lighter weight greens to get to 80g (3oz) for 1 portion of vegetables.

A healthy and in season a very cheap food. Has modest quantities of Carbohydrate and may have a small effect on blood sugar levels.

Slow rated on the glycemic index scale.

Green and Salad Vegetables: Typical Food Group and Fibre Content

As shown on the labels of pre-packaged foods: (Asda = Walmart in the UK) -
Nil or Trace Sodium on all of these foods.

Fresh VegetablesCalories in 100g (3½oz)Protein Carbohydrate
Total Fat
Cauliflower - Asda May 2005282.9% 2.1%
Mushrooms (Closed Cup) - Asda April 2006131.8% 0.4%
Peppers - Asda Sep 2005241.0% 4.8%
Spring Greens - Asda March 2006201.9% 1.6%
Canned VegetablesCalories in 100g (3½oz)Protein Carbohydrate
Total Fat
Bean Sprouts - Asda April 2005231.8% 3.8%

 * In the UK fibre is not included in with the carbohydrate figures.