Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body cannot properly process glucose, the sugar in food that your body converts into energy.
This leads to high blood sugar levels, which can damage blood vessels and eventually lead to high blood pressure and nerve damage if left untreated.
Controlling diet is crucial for managing diabetes because it can help regulate blood sugar levels to prevent complications, says Gosselin Karam, director of endocrinology at The Division of Endocrinology at Maimonides Medical Center.
Nutrition plans for diabetics vary from person to person, but in general, Gosselin recommends:
* Eat fiber-rich carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, as fiber has been shown to improve blood glucose levels by preventing glucose spikes after meals.
* Avoid sweetened drinks such as soda and juice.
* Increase the consumption of lean proteins.
* Eat more unsaturated fats, which can improve insulin resistance in patients with Type II diabetes.
Here are six of the best foods within those categories that can help diabetics manage their blood sugar levels.
Beans contain two main components that make them great for diabetics: fiber and protein. Fiber and protein are digested more slowly by the body, which reduces the risk of high blood sugar, says Dalia Gomez, spokeswoman for the Association of diabetes care and education specialists (ADCE).
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends adding dried beans or low-sodium canned beans to meals.
And all types of beans contain fiber, but the best for diabetics are black beans, spotted beans and sea beans.
2. Dark leafy vegetables:
Dark leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale contain vitamin C and antioxidants that can reduce inflammation.
While most infections are short-lived, they can be chronic in people with diabetes, increasing the risk of complications, such as heart disease and kidney problems.
Gomez says that this vegetable is also low in calories and carbohydrates, which makes it a good choice for controlling blood sugar levels and weight.
Dark leafy vegetables for diabetics include spinach and kohlrabi.
3. Fatty fish:
Fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of unsaturated fat that can improve heart health and reduce inflammation, as well as fish is also a rich source of protein.
In addition to salmon, other examples of fatty fish include sardines, salted fish, and trout.
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Fruits are rich in natural sugar and carbohydrates, which is why there is a misconception that people with diabetes should avoid them. However, their high vitamin and mineral content means that they are a safe option.
And if you have diabetes, it is important to count the carbohydrates contained in the fruit as part of the overall meal plan.
And strawberries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been shown to reduce cholesterol and improve blood sugar levels. Blueberries are also less likely to cause high blood sugar, thanks to their low glycemic index and high fiber content.
Some fruits that are good for diabetics include strawberries, raspberries, bananas, oranges, and grapes.
5. Nuts :
Gomez says nuts are a good source of healthy fats, magnesium, and fiber. And some nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and flaxseed, are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Examples of nuts for diabetics include walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and pistachios.
Gosselin Karam says whole grains such as whole wheat bread and brown rice are preferable to refined grains, such as white bread because they contain more fiber.
And whole grains are also rich in B vitamins, magnesium, iron, and folic acid.
A 2016 study found that a diet rich in whole grains can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and death from Type II diabetes.
Examples of whole grains for diabetics include whole oats, quinoa, and whole barley grains.