Diabetes is commonly diagnosed among men, women, and even children in the country. In fact, an estimated 34 million people were identified with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes in 2020. Further studies indicated that over 34% of the entire population were prediabetic above the age of 18. The condition is chronic and there is no viable cure. However, diabetes can be managed with a few healthy changes in your lifestyle, and especially starting with your diet.
Best and worst foods for diabetes
Some foods increase the risk of coronary heart diseases, high blood pressure, and obesity. So, here are some options that promote a holistic balance to restore optimal health.
- Foods you can eat
Fatty fish, leafy greens, avocados, beans, broccoli, strawberries, squash, garlic, nuts, and seeds must be incorporated into your daily diet. These foods are rich in essential omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin C, antioxidants, high fibers, vitamin B, essential minerals, and healthy probiotics for reduced insulin resistance. Best sources of proteins include beans, nuts, poultry, eggs, and oily fish. Fresh berries, sweet potatoes, and non-starchy vegetables are excellent choices for your new diet. You must also consume low-fat milk and yogurt and switch to whole grains rich in complex carbohydrates.
- Foods you must avoid
It is advisable to avoid processed grains (white rice and pasta), sweetened or canned fruits with preservatives, fried foods rich in trans, saturated and processed fats, baked goods and confectionaries made with refined flour, and foods, fruits, vegetables, and other diabetes trigger foods with a high glycemic index (GI). You must also cut back on salty foods as sodium increases the risk of high blood pressure. Further, diabetics should limit or stop consuming alcohol as it impairs the body’s ability to break down the glucose from foods consumed. This results in an imbalance of blood glucose levels in the body.
Popular diets for diabetes management
Nutritionists recommend either of the following diets based on the type of diabetes, the severity of the symptoms, age, and food preferences.
- DASH diet
While the main purpose of a DASH diet is to control hypertension, its cumulative effect also helps reduce the risk of diabetes as well when done properly.
- The Mediterranean or paleo diet
These diets mainly consist of foods rich in poultry, fatty fish, plant-based foods, and lots of healthy fats.
- Vegan or vegetarian diet
Diabetics who prefer to go vegan can benefit from whole grains, soy, leafy greens, legumes, beans, fruits, and nuts loaded with essential vitamins, nutrients, and minerals.
Healthy snacks for diabetics
Unhealthy snacking is a strict no-no when it comes to maintaining blood sugar levels. However, it is okay to have the following diabetes-friendly foods in moderation to curb those frequent and untimely hunger pangs.
- Apple slices with peanut butter
A simple nutritious and protein option that is a healthy substitute to the greasy mayo sandwiches. Simply cut up a few apple slices and smear some delicious creamy or crunchy peanut butter (depends on how you like it) to enjoy this blissful salty-sweet calorie-rich snack.
- Hard-boiled eggs
Eggs pack a lot of proteins and are loaded with healthy fats. Plus, hard-boiled eggs are in fact recommended before bedtime to curb those night cravings. Have an egg or two with some light seasoning or a condiment of your choice.
Just have a couple of tablespoons of fresh guacamole. Avocados are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids that are designed to help the body produce more insulin.
- Nuts and seeds
A handful of almonds or some spicy pumpkin seeds will help provide that nutritional balance to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Measure the grams to ensure you stay well within the limits recommended for daily consumption.