Phytonutrients and Insulin Sensitivity

Phytonutrients and Insulin Sensitivity

Diets high in processed meat, sugar and refined grains increase a persons’ risk for developing type 2 diabetes. However, diets high in plant nutrients may reduce a persons’ risk of developing type 2 diabetes by reducing inflammation, improving insulin sensitivity and promoting weight loss. (1)(2)(3)(4)

Plant nutrients are also known as phytonutrients and have the effect of reducing inflammation because they contain antioxidants. You can reap the benefits of powerful phytonutrients by simply eating more vegetables.

The Idaho plate method offers a great guide for how to compose meals that contain the right amount of vegetables. It encourages people with diabetes to make half of their meal from vegetables. With these seven tips for integrating vegetables and eating less processed foods this can be an easy change.

  1. Grow a small garden of leafy greens, herbs and edible flowers in a large planter pot on your porch. This will make it easy to toss together a quick salad fresh from the garden. Some plants to include: Romaine lettuce, spinach, Chinese mustard, arugula, cilantro, parsley and Johnny jump ups.
  2. Plan ahead. Buy vegetables and prep them by cutting to easily toss into meals or even cooking them, so they become easy to incorporate into meals.
  3. Buy veggies that are already cut up so they are easy to snack on.
  4. Practice impulse control. If you don’t want to eat it, don’t buy it. If you want to switch out veggies for processed foods then make the thing you know you should do easier than the unhealthy thing you have been doing.
  5. Buy frozen vegetables. It is easy to integrate them into a quick dinner. Try thawing them in the fridge, then mince and then sauté with seasoning and include into any type of dish for added texture.
  6. Use vegetables to reinvent party dips. Almost any vegetable after being cooked can be blended with some olive oil and herbs to create a tasty nutritious treat. After being steamed asparagus makes a great guacamole like dip!
  7. Incorporate vegetables at every meal. Seriously, mix veggies into eggs, smear a homemade veggie spread on toast or try a breakfast salad.


  1. Mahan, L. K., & Raymond, J. L. (2017). Krauses food & the nutrition care process. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
  2. Boeing, H., Bechthold, A., Bub, A., Ellinger, S., Haller, D., Kroke, A., . . . Watzl, B. (2012, June 09). Critical review: vegetables and fruit in the prevention of chronic diseases. Retrieved June 07, 2017, from
  3. Marta González-Castejón, Arantxa Rodriguez-Casado, Dietary phytochemicals and their potential effects on obesity: A review, Pharmacological Research, Volume 64, Issue 5, November 2011, Pages 438-455, ISSN 1043-6618, ( Keywords: Obesity; Adipocytes; Phytochemical; Food; Gene–nutrient interaction; Multigenic diseases; Nutritional prevention; Anti-obesity
  4. Carter, P., Gray, L. J., Troughton, J., Khunti, K., & Davies, M. J. (2010, August 19). Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis. Retrieved June 07, 2017, from


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This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.

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