Diabetes is a common condition in which the blood sugar levels, or more accurately the blood glucose levels, rise above a healthy level in the blood. It is estimated that 900,000 thousand people in Australia have diabetes, with the majority having type 2 diabetes.
The dietary advice for people with diabetes is to eat mainly least processed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low fat dairy, nuts and whole grain cereal foods. Those foods that are least processed generally have the least effect on blood glucose levels.
You may have heard of the Glycaemic Index (GI), which is the measure of the blood glucose response to carbohydrate-containing foods. It gives an indication of the rate at which the carbohydrate in food is digested and absorbed into the blood. The GI of mushrooms is so low it can’t be measured realistically in humans. In fact, to get a proper laboratory GI measurement for mushrooms, you would need to eat over 12 kg in less than 10 minutes!
The very low GI of mushrooms means that anyone, including people with diabetes, can eat them without any effect on their blood glucose levels. As the carbohydrate content of mushrooms is so low, the mushroom has a GI close to zero. In other words, eating mushrooms has no real effect on blood glucose levels.
Researchers at the University of Western Sydney found that mushrooms helped lower blood cholesterol and blood glucose in laboratory animals, possibly due to the fibre in mushrooms (Jeong 2010).
Mushrooms provide other very useful health benefits to anybody with diabetes. For example, they are cholesterol free and are virtually fat free and, with abundant antioxidants that may help to lower your risk of heart disease, which is more prevalent in people with diabetes.
Being a source of potassium and virtually salt-free, mushrooms help keep your blood pressure healthy. As they are low kilojoule they will never end up on your waist. The mushroom is ideally suited for weight control because it is low in fat, low in kilojoules and low in energy density.
Add to that all the essential vitamins and minerals in mushrooms and you have one super food!