An individual develops diabetes when their blood sugar/glucose levels are too high. Blood glucose is derived from the foods that are consumed and are the main source of energy for the body. Insulin helps transport glucose from the foods consumed to the cells in the body. If the body doesn’t make enough insulin, then glucose stays in the blood.
Eventually, the excess glucose in the blood causes a myriad of health issues. There are several types of diabetes, namely:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gestational diabetes
- Monogenic diabetes
- Cystic-fibrosis diabetes
Developing a healthy eating plan for diabetes is essential to managing weight and the risks associated with heart disease. Extra calories and fat cause blood glucose levels to rise, and if it’s not regulated, it can lead to hyperglycemia (high blood glucose level) and even nerve, kidney, and heart damage. Persons with Type 2 diabetes can control their blood sugar by losing weight.
Foods to Eat with Diabetes
The following food choices should be considered when a person has diabetes:
The consumption of healthy carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and peas and low-fat milk and cheese is essential. Unhealthy carbohydrates such as foods or drinks with added fats, sugars and sodium should be avoided.
Foods that are high in fibre such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and peas and whole grains regulate how the body digests and controls blood sugar levels.
Heart Healthy Fish:
Fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines which may reduce the risks of heart disease. Fried fish and fish with high mercury levels should be avoided.
Foods that are high in monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as avocados, nuts, and canola oil, olive oil and peanut oil, help to lower cholesterol levels. However, these should be consumed in moderation.
Foods to Avoid with Diabetes
Individuals who have diabetes are at a higher risk of developing heart disease and stroke as it speeds up the clogging and hardening of the aerteries. Avoiding the following foods can help:
High fat dairy products and animal proteins should be avoided. These include butter, beef, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, coconut oil, and palm oil.
Trans fats can be found in processed snacks, baked goods, shortening and margarine sticks.
Cholesterol sources include high-fat dairy products and high-fat animal proteins, egg yolks, liver and other organ meats. Aim for no more than 200 mg of cholesterol a day.
Aim for less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day. Your doctor may suggest you aim for even less if you have high blood pressure.