It is only recently that this Italian dish called ‘Polenta’ making its presence felt across restaurants and households across the globe, thanks to its high nutritional value to both- people having diabetes and not. Fair credit to the fact that polenta is relatively inexpensive.
You may very well ask- what is this polenta? Originated in Italy, polenta is a dish made of ground cornmeal. This ground cornmeal cooks by adding salt to the water, cooking it until it softens and forms a porridge.
The cornmeal used in preparing polenta is a versatile ingredient. You can make polenta in numerous ways. You can bake, grill, or fry, as well as eat it as a sweet or a savory dish. You can add vegetables and herbs to it or eat it vanilla. Numerous options, you see!
Also, did we forget to mention that it is easy to prepare polenta? It requires minimum ingredients and apparatus to cook polenta.
Let’s get back to our topic of discussion- can diabetics eat polenta?
The answer is a positive ‘Yes’- this is because the glycemic index of polenta lies in the medium range, and its glycemic load is low. The polenta glycemic index is 68, and its glycemic load is 6.
(The glycemic index indicates the rise in blood sugar levels a particular food item can cause)
Now that we know that polenta is diabetes-friendly- let us see some polenta nutrition facts– what is it that makes polenta a beneficial inclusion in the pro-diabetes diet.
Polenta is an excellent source of carbohydrates, and it contains a low amount of calories. Polenta also has a low content of minerals and vitamins.
A 125gms serving of polenta has about 17gms of carbohydrates, 2gms of proteins, about 1 gm or less of fat and fiber each, and up to only 80 calories.
Some other polenta nutrition facts a person with diabetes can consider before adding polenta to their diet-
- Foods with high carbohydrate content are favorable for diabetics. The cornmeal used in preparing polenta has high amounts of complex carbohydrates. It contains carbohydrates like amylose and amylopectin, which are digestion resistant.
- Polenta is gluten-free.
- It is rich in antioxidants, such as phenolic compounds and carotenoids, that protect body cells from damage during oxidation. Antioxidants are known to reduce the ill effects of diseases like diabetes.
- Because of its medium glycemic index of 68, polenta is a food ingredient you can add to a diabetes-friendly diet.
To summarise and to remind you- ‘can diabetics eat polenta?’- yes, people with diabetes can eat polenta, but just like you monitor all other food items you eat, the same is the case with polenta.
Small portions of polenta usually go well with fresh vegetables and proteins such as fish and meat. Remember, moderate eating is the key to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
The medium glycemic index, low glycemic load, high carbohydrates content, and antioxidant content, being gluten-free are the primary reasons that a person having diabetes should include polenta in their daily diet.
Cornmeal being readily available everywhere and polenta being easy to prepare- is the secondary reason why polenta features in the daily diets of people with and without diabetes the world over.