Suffering from diabetes does not have to mean that one should feel deprived. People can learn to balance their meals and make healthy food choices while still including the foods they enjoy.
Sugar and starch both can increase a persons blood sugar levels, but a person can choose to include these foods in the right proportions as part of their balanced meal plan.
For those having diabetes, it is important to calculate the total amount of carbohydrates in a meal. Carbohydrate needs will vary based on various factors, including a person’s physical activity levels and medications,such as insulin.
A dietitian can recommend proper carbohydrate guidelines to best meet with a person’s needs. Moreover, as a general rule, one should always try to follow the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ and should not include no more than a quarter plate of starchy carbs in one meal.
For people who are having diabetes, the key to a good diet, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), is as follows:
- Include fruits and vegetables.
- Eat lean protein.
- Choose foods with less added sugar.
- Avoid trans fats.
Here is a list of some fruits, veggies, and foods that contain less added sugar.
- Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are full of proper vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. They also have least impact on blood sugar levels.
Researches prove that eating green veggies are helpful for people suffering from diabetes due to their high antioxidant content and starch-digesting enzymes. Green leafy veggies include:
- collard greens
- bok choy
One minor level study showed that kale juices can help maintain blood sugar levels and improve blood pressure in people suffering with subclinical hypertension. In the study, people drank 300ml of kale juice everyday for 6 weeks.
One should include green veggies in their diet,with combination of a proper source of lean protein, such as chicken or tofu.
- Whole grains
Whole grains have good levels of fiber and essential nutrients than refined white grains.
Eating a high fiber diet is important for a person suffering from diabetes as fiber slows down the digestion process. Slower the absorption of nutrients the more stable levels of sugar levels.
Whole wheat and whole grains are lower in the glycemic index (GI) scale than white breads and rice. This have less of an impact on blood sugar.
Nice examples of whole grains to include in the diet are:
- brown rice
- whole-grain bread
- whole-grain pasta
- Fatty fish
Fatty fish is a very healthy addition to ones diet. Fatty fish has important omega-3 fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
People require a certain amount of healthy fats to keep their body working and to promote heart and brain health.
The ADA suggest that a diet with high polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can regulate blood sugar control and blood lipids in a diabetic person.
Some fishs are rich in both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These are:
- albacore tuna
People can also eat seaweed,like kelp and spirulina.These are plant-based alternative sources of fatty acids.
- BeansShare on
Beans are a good food option for people having diabetes. Beans are plant-based protein, and they can fulfill the hunger and help people reduce their carbohydrate intake.Beans are complex carbohydrate, so its digestion is slower than other carbohydrates.Eating beans will also help with weight loss and should help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol.
There is a large variety of beans for the people to choose from:
- kidney beans
- pinto beans
- black beans
- navy beans
- adzuki beans
Beans have important nutrients, which include iron, potassium, and magnesium.Beans are an excellent food choice
Nuts are an excellent addition to ones diet. Like fish, nuts also contain good fatty acids which help keep a healthy heart. Walnuts are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids also called alpha-lipoic acid (ALA).People having diabetes may have a high risk of heart disease or stroke, so it is very important to get these fatty acids in ones diet. Walnuts also have major nutrients, such as protein, vitamin B-6, magnesium, and iron.
- Citrus fruits
Research shows that Citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, have antidiabetic effects.Consuming citrus fruits is a healthy way to get vitamins and minerals from fruit without the carbohydrates.It is belived that two bioflavonoid antioxidants, called hesperidin and naringin, are mainly responsible for the antidiabetic effects of oranges.
Citrus fruits are an optimal source of:
- vitamin C
Berries are full of antioxidants, that can help prevent oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is often linked with a wide range of health disease, that include heart disease and cancers.Studies show that chronic levels of oxidative stress in people having diabetes. OS happens when there is an imbalance between antioxidants and unstable molecules which are called free radicals in the body.Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries all have a high levels of antioxidants and fiber. They also have other good vitamins and minerals, like:
- vitamin C
- vitamin K
- Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes also have a lower GI than normal potatoes. This makes them a great alternative for people having diabetes. Sweet potatoes are also a source of:
- vitamin A
- vitamin C
People can enjoy sweet potatoes in a various ways, like baked, boiled, roasted, or mashed. For a good meal, eat them with a source of lean protein and green leafy veggies.
- Probiotic yogurt
Probiotics are the good bacteria that live in the human gut which improve digestion and health. Research from 2011 suggested that eating probiotic yogurt improves cholesterol levels in people having type 2 diabetes. This helps lowering the risk of heart disease.People can choose a natural yogurt, like Greek yogurt, with no sugar. A probiotic yogurt will have live and active cultures called Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium.
- Chia seeds
People call chia seeds a superfood due to their high antioxidant and omega-3 value. They are also a great source of plant-based protein with fiber. In one small scale trial from 2017, people who were overweight and had type 2 diabetes lost more weight after they includeded chia seeds in their diet compared with others.The researchers therefore firmly believe that chia seeds helps people manage type 2 diabetes.