When diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes, most people think it’s the end of the world or at least a boring life of limited and restricted foods. It doesn’t have to be that way. If you have Type-2 Diabetes, you can still lead an ordinary life, you just have to include the right food choices.
Once someone has contracted Type-2 Diabetes, other ailments will develop. Diabetes affects every organ in your body, including your heart, eyes, and kidneys. These are just some of the reasons to avoid the disease. If you already have it, you will need to learn how to control it. Just like with a lot of things, proper exercise and diet can make a big difference in controlling diabetes as well as any other complications brought on by the disease. It’s important to remember that the main thing that can lead to the onset of Type-2 Diabetes is a poor nutrition program along with a sedentary lifestyle.
Below are some foods that can help you to curb diabetes and it’s complications. As always, you should consult your Health Care Provider before making any changes in your food intake, exercise, or supplementation. The information below is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a treatment or cure for this or any other disease.
Containing vitamins, minerals (like magnesium and potassium), protein, and fiber, beans can be ideal for everyone and especially for people with diabetes. That’s because most people (and not just diabetics) are woefully lacking in fiber. Fiber makes you feel full longer, making it ideal for controlling appetite and controlling your weight. Cooked beans can be eaten alone, served in salads, or boiled in soups. Some types beans to consider:
Green & Leafy Vegetables
As if you need another reason to eat your veggies, here’s another… Green and leafy vegetables contain useful nutrients that make them great for diabetics. Vegetables are low in calories. They contain insoluble fiber, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C, all factors that have been shown to lower the risk of contracting Type-2 Diabetes. Five to seven servings (5-7 cups) of these veggies is the usual recommendation. Green and leafy vegetables to include in your nutrition program include:
• Mustard greens
• Collard greens
Fruit contains lots of sugars (fructose). Berries, on the other hand, contain lots of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, plus natural sugars that surprisingly don’t have a big impact on your blood sugar levels. They can help you control your blood sugar levels. I like to utilize berries in the preparation of desserts because they reduce the calories, while satisfying the need for sweets. You can also include berries with your breakfast, eat them as a snack, or add them to side dishes like salads. Some of my favorites include:
Try to eat berries when they are in season, but you can substitute frozen berries for a sweet treat when they are out of season.
Fish have many benefits when included in a healthy eating program. They contain Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) and are a good source of protein. You can substitute fish oil supplements if you can’t get fresh fish, don’t like the taste of fish, or are concerned with mercury or other toxins that some fish may contain. Cold water fish is your best bet. Try some of the following:
• Salmon (wild Pacific varieties)
Avoid fried fish. Healthy fish recipes include those for grilled, poached, or baked fish. Serve over brown rice or whole-grain pasta, and include it in salads.
Speaking of whole grains, whether or not you have diabetes, you still need to include carbohydrates in your diet. Stick to products that contain the whole grain, like whole-grain or sprouted grain breads, brown rice, wild rice (a grass), or whole-grain pasta. Keep portions small, and you can enjoy these foods every day because they contain complex carbohydrates, which do not affect blood sugar levels suddenly. Whole grains contain folate, magnesium, chromium, and Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs). Some research indicates that they may also help to reduce blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. The use of whole wheat flour, instead of all-purpose flour, as an ingredient in baked goods will allow you to include those items (albeit small portions) in your diet on occasion.
Besides EFAs and fiber, nuts contain vitamins (like vitamin E), minerals, magnesium, and other nutrients that can help to stabilize your blood sugar levels. In general, diabetics are recommended to eat smaller, more frequent meals and snacks. By including small amounts of nuts (usually 1 oz. per day), you can eat healthy and still enjoy a variety of food options. A little trick I learned from one nutritionist when eating nuts is to soak them in water overnight to help to release any enzyme inhibitors they may contain.
What would any diet be without Olive Oil? I’ve researched all the oils and none compares with this ancient elixir. Olive oil is great for using in cooking, straight from the bottle/can over salads, and yes, even topically on your skin! Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. It has been shown to be anti-inflammatory, to decrease your risk for heart disease, maintain blood sugar levels, and reduce insulin resistance. Olive oil is a healthy choice for diabetics and anyone interested in controlling their weight. Extra virgin olive oil has been shown to contain more antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
This spice is great for diabetics. Cinnamon improves your insulin sensitivity by controlling your blood sugar levels, plus it helps reduce cholesterol levels. Add 1-3 tsp (depending on your taste for it) per person of cinnamon powder to tea, oatmeal, chicken, or fish recipes. Of course, cinnamon is a healthy ingredient in many dessert recipes, too. It increases your insulin sensitivity and that helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady and reduce the incidence of diabetes.
I don’t know about you, but I was taught that diabetics should avoid starches in their diet. I have since learned that some starches are better than others. Sweet Potatoes contain beta carotene, an important antioxidant. They are also rich in vitamins like A and C, plus contain lots of natural fiber. They are low on the glycemic index, which makes them a carbohydrate food that in small portions, should be safe for diabetics. Sweet Potatoes can be baked or grilled with just a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Like other potatoes, most of the nutrients are in the skin, so leave it on. Serve it mashed, in salads, casseroles, soups, or whole as a side dish.
Onions are high on my list of meal ingredients. Their benefits include the trace mineral chromium, which makes insulin usage more efficient in your body. A chromium deficiency has many times been attributed toward the cause of diabetes. This can easily be solved by including onions in your regular diet. I like to use onions in most of the foods I cook. I personally like them cooked in stews and soups, or added raw to burgers and salads. Raw onions can affect your breath, so be sure to avoid raw onions if you’re going to be around people afterwards!
This is one of the few fruits (yes, tomatoes are actually a fruit!) I recommend to people. Tomatoes are a source of iron, vitamins C and E, and fiber. I like tomatoes because they are beneficial in every form, from raw in salads, to pureed in a sauce. Diabetics can include generous amounts of this nutritious, low calorie food.
The beetroot is one vegetable that is not only colorful, it’s also good for you. It’s benefits include high in vitamin C and folate. Prepare them by roasting in the oven to bring out their natural sweetness. After roasting beets, let them cool before peeling the skin away. Add roasted beets to salads, stews, or alone as a side dish.
I saved my all-time favorite for last. Brussels sprouts are often miss-categorized as a smelly, mushy, foul vegetable. I think they are just misunderstood (as well as mis-prepared). They can be of benefit to diabetics because they are low in sodium, cholesterol free, and contain healthy phytochemicals. They taste best when sauteed or roasted in a little olive oil. I usually serve them as a delicious, savory side dish, but have been known to put them in soups, stews, and salads, too.