Millions of people in the US have been diagnosed with diabetes, and millions more are at risk. It is a very common disease not just in the US, but also in a lot of other countries all over the world. There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and 2. Type-1 diabetes usually starts at a young age, and is the genetic form of diabetes wherein the pancreas cannot secrete insulin. Type-2 diabetes, on the other hand, is the result of a combination of factors: the body not producing enough insulin due to pancreatic insufficiency, and when the body becomes resistant to insulin. Type-2 diabetes is due to bad eating habits and composes 90-95 percent of all people with diabetes.
This scenario is alarming because diabetes can cause so much damage to the body, and will ultimately result in a higher risk for stroke and deadly heart conditions. Preventing and combating diabetes using your diet and lifestyle can greatly decrease your risk of developing diabetes. Here are 10 foods that may help.
Avocadoes have monosaturated fat, which is a good kind of fat, and makes its digestion longer, keeping you full and preventing you from seeking out sweets for some time. It helps the blood sugar levels from spiking after intake, so it is perfect for those with diabetes and prediabetic conditions. Another positive effect of good fats is its ability to fight insulin resistance, which can cause long-term blood sugar stability. You can incorporate avocado into your diet by substituting it for mayonnaise, because it resembles the rich and creamy texture. A lot of recipes nowadays recommend using avocado as a healthy substitute, so it’s a lot easier to make meals using this diabetes-fighting fruit.
These fruits are the natural version of Skittles, and are also sweet, healthier, and more beneficial for the body by a long shot. They contain antioxidants, which remove damaging agents in food products that may harm the body, and fiber, which helps the body metabolize food quicker. Berries also contain anthocyanins, which give the berries their colorful hues of blue, purple, and red. These anthocyanins have been studied and have been found to possess loads of health benefits, ranging from anti-inflammatory properties, anti-carcinogenic activity, heart disease control, and diabetes and obesity control and prevention. Add these fruits to your diet through smoothies or snacks to curb your hunger and keep you healthy at the same time.
Substituting barley for the usual grains like white rice helps a lot with regards to blood sugar control. White rice is known for giving the blood sugar a bad kick which results to a sudden rise, which is not good for those trying to control their diabetic diets. Barley is known to reduce peak rise of blood sugar after a meal by 70 percent! Aside from this, due to its nature as a complex carbohydrate as well as its fiber content, barley take a long time to digest, so the body feels full hours after consumption. Blood sugar levels are also stabilized due to the slow digestion ergo slow release of sugar into the bloodstream. It is also used to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and is a helpful adjunct to weight loss programs.
This fibrous vegetable contains two things that are beneficial for diabetics and those with intolerance to carbohydrates: Chromium and vitamin C. Chromium is usually added to dietary supplements because of its ability to enhance insulin action, making it more effective in converting sugar in the blood to energy. Long-term effects of ingesting chromium-containing food include stability of blood sugar levels. A study conducted relating vitamin C to sugar levels has shown that consuming vitamin C led to a decrease in blood sugar levels as well as blood lipid levels in individuals with type-2 diabetes, therefore reducing their risk for developing complications. One cup of broccoli contains 135% the daily requirement for vitamin C, making it a valuable addition to any diet.
The risk of developing cardiovascular disease in type-2 diabetics is two to four-fold when compared to individuals without diabetes. Heart disease is the deadliest complication, as 68% of type-2 diabetics who are 65 years or older die from cardiac complications. Fish contains Omega-3 fatty acids, and is shown to reduce cardiac risk by 40% when eaten at least once a week. The fatty acids in fish are known to reduce arrhythmias (or abnormal heart beats), decrease lipid levels in the blood, slow down rate of developing plaque which can lead to heart attacks and stroke, and lower blood pressure.
- Olive oil
The anti-inflammatory activity of olive oil makes it very valuable as an addition to any diet. Inflammation is a vital component in the development of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, as well as arthritis. It is shown that a Mediterranean diet, which uses olive oil a lot, leads to some form of protection against these diseases due to the anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil. The effects of olive oil against diabetes are shown through an improvement of blood sugar levels, better utility of insulin in the body, as well as better levels of blood lipids.
Cuts of lean beef at small portions can also benefit diabetics through the protein it provides the body. Since protein is digested slowly, the body feels full longer, and will not crave for snacks after a few hours, preventing fluctuation of blood sugar levels. Aside from that, when attempting to lose weight, the protein assists muscle mass maintenance so the metabolism will not slow down.
Nuts are considered as slow digesting foods due to the protein and fiber that they contain. They have healthy fats that slow digestion and keep you full for a longer period of time. This makes nuts a healthy go-to snack for diabetics in lieu of sweet treats. For prediabetics, pistachio nuts are known to lessen the risk of the disease progressing to full-grown type-2 diabetes through increasing the hormone glucagon-like peptide 1, which helps control levels of glucose in the blood.
- Flax seed
Flax seeds have the magic four: protein, fiber, healthy fat and magnesium. These four components help diabetics have adequate control of their sugar levels through promoting metabolism while keeping the digestive system busy through the fats and protein. Magnesium plays a role in detoxifying the body from harmful chemicals, and a higher magnesium intake led to protection against type-2 diabetes as well as better glucose control in those who already had diabetes.
- Peanut butter
Monosaturated fats in peanut butter dampen appetite for a lot more time compared to other snacks that are high in carbohydrate content and low in fiber. This childhood favorite can be used to lose weight and help in controlling blood sugar, making it a good snack substitute for diabetics.