Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body cannot properly process glucose, the sugar in food that your body converts into energy.
This leads to high blood sugar levels, which, if left untreated, can damage blood vessels and ultimately lead to high blood pressure and nerve damage.
Diet control is crucial to managing diabetes because it can help regulate blood sugar levels to prevent complications, says Gocelyn Karam, director of the endocrinology department at the Division of Endocrinology at Maimonides Medical Center.
Diabetes nutrition plans vary from person to person, but in general Gocelin recommends the following:
• Eat high-fiber carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Fiber has been shown to improve blood glucose levels by preventing glucose spikes after meals.
Avoid sweetened drinks like soda and juice.
Increase your consumption of lean protein.
Eat more trans fats, which can improve insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics.
Here are six of the best foods in those categories that can help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels.
Beans contain two main ingredients that make them great for diabetics: fiber and protein. The body digests fiber and protein more slowly, which reduces the risk of high blood sugar, says Dalia Gomez, a spokeswoman for the Association for Diabetes Care and Education Professionals (ADCE).
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends adding dried beans or canned beans low in sodium to meals.
All beans contain fiber, but black beans, spotted beans and navy beans are the best ones for diabetics.
2. Dark leafy vegetables:
Dark leafy vegetables like spinach and kale contain vitamin C and antioxidants that can reduce inflammation.
While most infections are short-lived, they can be chronic in people with diabetes, which increases the risk of complications, such as heart disease and kidney problems.
Gomez says this vegetable is also low in calories and carbohydrates, making it a good choice for controlling blood sugar levels and weight.
Dark leafy greens for diabetics include spinach and cabbage.
3. Fatty fish:
Fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of unsaturated fat that can improve heart health and reduce inflammation, as well as fish is also a rich source of protein.
In addition to salmon, other examples of fatty fish include sardines, salted fish and trout.
Fruits are rich in natural sugar and carbohydrates, which is why there is a misconception that people with diabetes should avoid them. However, their high content of vitamins and minerals means that they are a safe option.
And if you have diabetes, it is important to count the carbohydrates in the fruit as part of an overall meal plan.
Strawberries contain an antioxidant called anthocyanins, which have been shown to reduce cholesterol and improve blood sugar levels. It also reduces the possibility of blueberries causing a spike in blood sugar, thanks to its low glycemic index and high fiber content.
Some fruits that are good for diabetics include strawberries, berries, bananas, oranges, and grapes.
Gomez says nuts are a good source of healthy fats, magnesium and fiber. Some nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and flaxseeds, are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Examples of nuts for diabetics include: walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and pistachios.
6. Whole grains:
Gosselin Karam says that whole grains like whole wheat bread and brown rice are preferred over refined grains, like white bread because they contain more fiber.
Whole grains are also rich in B vitamins, magnesium, iron and folate.
A 2016 study found that a diet rich in whole grains can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and death from type 2 diabetes.
Examples of whole grains for people with diabetes include whole oats, quinoa, and whole grains of barley.
Source: Business Insider