Diabetes is a metabolic disease which typically presents as high sugar in the blood. Diabetes is seen in two types – type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the cells of the pancreas responsible for producing insulin. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin. If you have diabetes, you should apply extra caution when choosing foods. Fighting diabetes requires maintaining a healthy weight, keeping your blood sugar level in check, and avoiding foods that will stress and strain the heart.
If you are diabetic, the diet you should consume depends on your age, sex, and diabetic type. You should also keep in mind that no food contains all the essential nutrients needed by your body, so you always have to choose a variety of healthy foods that will combine to give you all the needed nutrients.
In this article, we will look at the various diets you can opt for if you are fighting diabetes. While some of the foods will protect your heart, others will maintain your glucose levels and give you the needed energy for your daily activities.
Foods To Eat To Fight Diabetes
- Consume fatty fish
People who feed on fatty fish have less chance of getting acute coronary syndromes such as heart attacks. The major sources of omega-3 fatty acid DHA and EPA found in fatty fish include salmon, sardines, herring anchovies, and mackerel. As a diabetic, when you get enough of these fats on a daily basis, it will reduce your risk of getting heart disease or stroke. This is because DHA and EPA consumption have the functions of protecting the cells that line your blood vessels, reduce inflammation markers, and improve your arterial function. Additionally, fatty fish can help regulate your blood level and it is also a good source of protein.
- Consume enough leafy green
Leafy greens are a very good source of vitamin C. Research has shown that diabetic patients tend to have more need for vitamin C because their levels of vitamin C are low compared to people who are not fighting diabetes. Consuming enough leafy greens will help you get the benefit of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. This means that taking a high amount of vitamin C rich foods will help diabetics increase their serum levels and also reduce cellular damage and inflammation. Leafy greens are also very easy to digest because it has low carbs.
- Get enough eggs
Eggs will help keep you full in between meals. Other functions of eggs include:
- decreases inflammation
- lowers your risk of heart diseases
- improves your insulin sensitivity
- increases your good cholesterol levels
- changes the shape of your bad cholesterol
- Eat chia seeds
Chia seeds are very good for people fighting diabetes because they have a high fiber content. The numerous functions of chia seeds include:
- they have viscous fiber content which lowers blood sugar level
- helps maintain a healthy weight because it makes you feel full
- helps in the maintenance of glycemic management (levels of blood sugar)
- shown to reduce weight and markers of inflammation
- Consume avocado
Avocado is very good for diabetics because it has very few carbohydrates, a high fiber content, and is very low in sugar, which means consuming avocado won’t raise your blood sugar levels. Avocado can also help to lower body weight and body mass index.
- Eat enough beans
Beans contain beneficial minerals, vitamins, and a generous amount of fiber. Also since it has a low glycemic index (which means it doesn’t quickly increase blood sugar level), it can help in fighting diabetes.
- Consume nuts
Nuts are very nutritious for diabetics because they have fiber and contain low carbohydrates (the body converts most carbohydrates into sugar glucose). Regular intake of nuts can help diabetics in the following ways:
- reducing inflammation
- lowering of blood sugar level
- lowering of bad cholesterol levels
- lowering the risk of heart disease
- Eat broccoli
Broccoli is one of the most nutritious vegetables available. When diabetics eat broccoli sprouts, this vegetable can help lower your insulin level and help protect them against cellular damage.
- Load up on extra-virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil helps diabetics in glycemic management and reduction of post-meal triglyceride (unhealthy fat) levels as it contains monounsaturated fat. Studies have shown that monounsaturated fats help reduce the level of triglycerides. It also has antioxidant properties.
- Up the flaxseeds
Flaxseed contains healthy omega-3 fats for the heart, to fill up your fiber quota, and also contains other good plant compounds. It may also help in lowering the risk of heart disease and improving the management of blood sugar.
- Consume apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is mostly obtained from apples. It serves to reduce your blood sugar response by 20%, especially when taken with meals that contain carbs. Make sure to dilute your dose with water as it can be potent.
- Up the strawberries
Strawberries have a lot of antioxidants, specifically a type known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanin has the ability to reduce cholesterol and insulin levels after eating. It also improves blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of heart disease in type 2 diabetes.
- Add more garlic
Garlic helps in improving blood glucose management and regulating cholesterol. It can also reduce heart disease risk and is anti-inflammatory.
Aside from eating the foods mentioned above, exercising regularly can also help diabetics manage their blood glucose level and help to maintain weight. For people who have prediabetes (when the blood sugar is high but not as high as diabetes), exercise is essential as it can help prevent the full onset of diabetes.
Exercises For Fighting Diabetes
- walking – for type 2 diabetics, walking can lower blood sugar level and help in weight loss
- cycling – cycling can help you maintain physical activity while reducing pressure on your joints
- swimming – swimming keeps your heart, lungs and other organs healthy. It can also contribute to the lowering of your blood sugar level
- dancing – dancing, especially aerobic dancing, can help you in weight loss
- Weight lifting – weight lifting will help build your body mass and improve your blood sugar management
- calisthenics – calisthenics will help strengthen your muscles using your body weight
- pilates – pilates is a low impact an exercise that will help you to improve your core strength, balance as well as coordination
- yoga – yoga helps type 2 diabetics manage their blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, and weight
The importance of a good diet and exercise can’t be overemphasized. Not only for managing a diabetic condition but for the improvement of the overall health as well as to keep other diseases at bay. Consult with your healthcare provider before embarking on a new exercise routine and diet but ensuring you get enough of the foods mentioned in this article (providing you have no allergy) will help with the condition.