Diabetes currently affects over 34.2 million Americans, with a further 88 million Americans living with prediabetes. Worryingly, diabetes is one of the top ten leading causes of death in the U.S., with over 83,000 people losing their lives every year.
Diabetes is a condition that causes the body to be unable to process food for energy properly. This is because the organ that creates insulin, the pancreas, either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use it correctly. This causes sugar to build up in your blood and can lead to serious health issues such as; kidney failure, heart disease, and the loss of lower limbs.
There are two different types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is present from birth and is caused by the body's immune system attacking and destroying the insulin-creating cells in the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is the most common type of diabetes in the U.S. and is typically diagnosed later in life. Fortunately, Type 2 diabetes can be prevented, and even reversed, with healthy lifestyle choices.
If you or someone you love is living with diabetes, it is crucial to be proactive when managing diabetes care. Educating yourself about the importance of diet and building your nutrition around diabetes-friendly food that don't spike your blood sugar is vital for your ongoing health.
With this in mind, here are 12 delicious foods that people with diabetes can enjoy.
1. Whole Grains
Whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, and barley are packed full of nutrients such as protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, iron, zinc, and magnesium — helping to lower and regulate blood sugar levels.
Avocados contain 20 different vitamins and minerals, making them a nutrient-dense food. They also provide plenty of monounsaturated fatty acids, which help to reduce harmful cholesterol levels in your blood and keep a stable blood sugar level.
Eggs are packed with protein, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer, plus, they're one of the most versatile foods around — eat them poached, boiled, or in a delicious veggie omelet. They also have little impact on your glucose levels, so you don't need to worry about them spiking your blood sugar.
Research has shown that garlic can help to regulate blood glucose and reduce the effects of certain diabetes complications. It also has excellent antimicrobial benefits and can help your body to fight infections.
Quality sources of protein are vital to every diet; however, they are especially crucial for anyone living with diabetes. Opt for portions of lean meats and fish, such as skinless chicken, salmon, tuna, and flounder.
6. Leafy Greens
Research by the British Medical Journal found that eating green leafy vegetables can significantly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Adding leafy greens such as kale and spinach into your diet can provide plenty of fiber and help you to maintain steady blood sugar levels.
Nuts are a healthy source of fats, and an ideal snack for people with diabetes, as they don't cause a spike in blood glucose levels. Opt for nutritious nuts such as almonds and walnuts to help lower your fasting glucose and insulin levels.
Berries have a low glycemic index, but they're packed full of antioxidants and vitamins, making them the ideal fruit for people with diabetes. Opt for blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries to satisfy your sweet tooth.
9. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber and omega-3, plus they can help to maintain steady blood sugar levels. If you want to incorporate this superfood into your daily diet, sprinkle over salads, or bake into fresh muffins.
Some days we need a pick-me-up, and coffee is a great energy boost choice for many people. If you have diabetes, opt for black coffee and skip the sugar to avoid wreaking havoc on your blood glucose levels.
Legumes are complex carbohydrates that provide high levels of fiber and protein. To incorporate legumes into your diet, add beans, lentils, and chickpeas into your salads, chili, and stews; however, be mindful of the canned varieties, as these can contain added sugar.
Oats are an excellent source of Beta-glucan (B-Glucan). B-glucan can help to lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar management by reducing the glucose and insulin response in your body.
There are plenty of delicious and nutritious foods that people living with diabetes can enjoy. Maintaining a steady blood glucose level is the best way to ensure you're managing your diabetes care effectively. There is an abundance of informative and trustworthy sources online to help you make informed dietary decisions that empower you to be proactive with your healthcare. Remember to consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
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