Healthy Eating For Diabetics

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Diabetes is becoming one of the fastest growing diseases of the modern age.  As a diabetic I needed to start eating healthy and did a little research on foods that were good for diabetics.

Filtering out any foods that were inaccessible or unusual.  Here is a list of top 10 healthy foods for diabetics: 1) Fatty Fish,  2) Cinnamon,  3) Greek Yoghurt,  4) Apple Cider Vinegar,  5) Strawberries,  6) Garlic,  7) Flaxseeds,  8) Extra Virgin Olive Oil,  9) Leafy Greens,  10) Eggs

There are 2 types of diabetics:

  • Type 1 – inject the hormone insulin to stay alive
  • Type 2 – make lifestyle changes, such ‎as change of diet and exercising more in order to keep well.

A diabetic is more likely to suffer from diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, blindness and amputations.

It can be said that for every disease in existence today, a diabetic is more likely to get that disease compared to a non-diabetic.  A healthy diet is vital for the wellbeing of everyone but even more so for people with diabetes.

Here are the top 10 healthy foods for diabetics in detail.

  1. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish is one of the best sources of omega-3.  These fatty acids are good fats for the body unlike the saturated fats found in red meat. Fatty acids are hugely beneficial for heart health and reduce negative fats in the body, lowering high blood sugar levels.

Regular consumption of these fats is extremely vital for people with diabetes as they are more prone to strokes and heart disease. 

Fatty fish includes mackerel, salmon and sardines.  They provide an excellent source of protein which the human body requires for building and repairing tissues as well as making enzymes for metabolic processes.

  1. Cinnamon

A delightful spice that contains lots of antioxidants that reduces oxidative stress (when free radicals cause damage to cells in the body). This can potentially reduce the chances of developing diabetes.

Cinnamon essentially mimics the effects of the hormone insulin and increases the transport of energy in the form of glucose into cells.  As a result, the spice may aid in lowering blood sugar levels and combat diabetes.  It also inhibits insulin resistance thereby making it more sensitive and so more productive at transporting glucose into cells.

  1. Greek Yoghurt

A better alternative to regular yoghurt, with fewer carbohydrates plus reduced sugar.  Greek yoghurt is packed with more protein and keeps you full for longer.  

Protein also causes your pancreas to produce more insulin so if you need to lower your blood sugar, make sure to have a bowl of Greek yogurt.

Greek yogurt as well as other dairy products can lead to weight loss and can improve the percentage of fat, bone, water and muscle in the human body for those with type 2 diabetes.

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

An outstanding product that every diabetic can gain from.  ACV shown to improve insulin sensitivity within high-carb meals by 19-34% as well as greatly reducing blood sugar levels.  

It has also been shown that to be most effective when consumed on an empty stomach.  Simply mix a tablespoon of vinegar in a glass of water and drink before a meal.

ACV acts as a detox, it clears the bowels and removes toxins from the body.  It can also help you feel fuller for longer, which is important in diabetics if your blood sugar level is high and no carbs are needed. ACV is also high in fibre.

  1. Strawberries

A delicious fruit and excellent for lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels after a meal.  They are low in calories and carbs and are a superb source of vitamin C and magnesium.  Vitamin C has been known to reduce the chances of gaining type 2 diabetes.

Strawberries provide the body with fibre which is important for diabetic people as it reduces sugar absorption.  They also keep you feeling fuller for longer.

  1. Garlic

A herb which is known to reduce blood pressure, inflammation and cholesterol for those with diabetes.

Research shows that consuming garlic lowers blood glucose levels when you are fasting, particularly on an empty stomach when no food is eaten overnight.

  1. Flaxseeds

Also known as linseeds, are a very beneficial food for diabetics as they decrease incidences of heart disease and help blood sugar management. Flaxseeds are also high in fibre which aid a healthy gut, feeling fuller for longer.

Flaxseeds  also increase insulin sensitivity .

  1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

It’s proven to have robust anti-inflammatory attributes and a key antioxidant within olive oil has demonstrated to work just like the anti-inflammatory drug Ibuprofen.

Extra virgin olive oil also proves to be beneficial for heart health as it lowers blood pressure and boosts the function of blood vessels.  

Furthermore, consuming extra virgin olive oil is  not linked to any signs of weight gain and instead a reasonable amount can possibly support weight loss.

A Mediterranean diet high in olive oil consumption is said to decrease the chances of type 2 diabetes by over 40%.

  1. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, cabbage, watercress amongst others are low calorie and low carb too.

They are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, which can subsequently help protect against diabetes eye complications such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

  1. Eggs

Eggs are a wonderful food for diabetics.  They fill you up, decrease inflammation and minimise the bad cholesterol in your body.  Just like leafy greens, they contain the same antioxidants to safeguard the eyes from macular disease.

The Takeaway

The ideal diabetic diet must be low on carbohydrates and high in fibre.  It is advisable the diet contain the aforementioned foods, due to an increase in insulin sensitivity, decrease in insulin resistance, reduce inflammation in the body and actively minimise eye and heart diseases. All of which diabetics are more likely to get, than not!

Like it or not, if we’re not diabetic ourselves, we will certainly know someone who is.  Diabetes is a life spent on a tightrope, trying to keep your balance. If blood sugar levels are high, the body suffers long term.  If blood sugar levels are low, the damage is immediate e.g. a diabetic driver losing consciousness at the wheel, leading to goodness knows what!…That is just one example.

Diabetes and the complications of this disease puts tremendous strain on an already overburdened NHS.  

It’s in our best interest to look after our health through lifestyle changes including diet and exercise because diabetes, once developed, is really hard work!

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