Posted on Sep 11, 2020, 2 p.m.
Along with medication, sleep, and stress management diet is an important factor to keep in mind when trying to manage diabetes and blood sugar control. Diet is important because specific food choices can have a direct effect on blood sugar levels.
Managing blood glucose levels is the key to preventing future complications, as such what you do or do not eat can lead to some serious consequences such as an increased risk of vision problems, nerve, damage, amputations and even death.
Insulin resistance is largely the cause of why those with diabetes can develop excessive amounts of sugar in their blood, which is the hallmark of the disease. This is the inability of the hormone insulin to effectively transport glucose to the cells to be used for energy or stored as fuel, and when it can’t reach the cells it will accumulate in the blood potentially leading to complications.
There are certain kinds of foods that can be good or bad for a diabetes diet based on their nutritional value and where they are on the glycemic index. Keeping an eye on carbs may be a good approach as during digestion these are broken down into glucose, meaning that eating too many high carbs foods can increase the amount of sugar in your blood.
Foods that are high in sugar, sodium, and saturated fats can also complicate the management of diabetes as they can add to the waistline and maintaining a healthy weight is important to reducing insulin resistance. Losing just 5-10% of body weight can help prevent or delay the progression of type 2 diabetes for overweight adults who are at risk for the disease according to the Obesity Society. The CDC recommends that those with diabetes should steer clear of foods that are sugary, salty, and high in unhealthy fats to help their hearts.
Oatmeal may help to reduce insulin resistance and help prevent blood sugar skies due to the healthy beta-glucan soluble fibre content that slows down digestion. Opt for steel-cut or old fashioned varieties while steering clear of instant or quick oats that have added sugars. Keep in mind that oatmeal is a carb, so practice portion control.
Salmon is a rich source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids which may help to reduce the inflammation that is associated with insulin resistance. The American Heart Association suggests that fatty fish can help to improve heart health which is important to those with diabetes due to the increased risk of heart disease.
Almonds may help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels thanks to their vitamin E, biotin, riboflavin, iron, protein, zinc, and fibre content which is important because having diabetes makes one more likely to have high bad cholesterol levels.
Oranges are good sources of vitamin C and pectin soluble fibre that has been shown to help lower LDL cholesterol levels. Despite their natural sweetness oranges are low on the glycemic index according to the American Diabetes Association, making them a great snack option. Additionally, the fibre and antioxidants may help to prevent cell damage and decrease any effect on blood sugar.
Try adding beans to soups and salad to add more soluble fibre and protein to your diet as they are low on the glycemic index making them ideal for helping to prevent fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
Kale can add calcium, magnesium, folate, fibre, flavonoids, vitamins A, C, K, B6 and other antioxidants to your meal. Kale also contains bile acid sequestrants which will help to lower LDL cholesterol and limit the absorption of dietary fats.
In moderation, dark chocolate that is more than 70% cacao can be diabetes-friendly. A study published in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders found that 10 grams of flavonoid-rich dark cacao daily helped to lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in those with diabetes.
Cinnamon is a diabetes-friendly spice when it comes to sweetening foods. A study published in the Annals of Family Medicine suggests that it is associated with a decrease in fasting blood sugar levels, and other research shows that it may help to increase insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation and lower LDL cholesterol.
Cooking with vinegar may help to slow sugar absorption and improve insulin sensitivity to high carbs meals, according to a study published in the Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine.
Warm green tea can provide an antioxidant and polyphenol boost and it may have a beneficial impact on insulin resistance and blood sugar levels. A report published in Diabetes & Metabolism Journal suggests that those who drink green tea on a regular basis for over a decade had smaller waistlines and lower body fat composition than those who didn’t.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.