Are you constantly wondering what to eat? If you shook your head in yes, it is time to stop worrying. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it does not mean you have to feel deprived all the time.
To help you learn how to balance your meals and make the best food choices to control your diabetes, read on to find out some food items that are known as super foods for diabetes.
Here’s the List of Foods for Diabetics
When you have got diabetes, your choices for food matter a lot. Some food choices are better than others. However, nothing is totally off limits. Even food items that you think of as ‘bad’ could be occasional or special treats – in a very little amount. These treats, however, will not help you nutrition-wise. So, if you want to manage your diabetes easily, stick to the best food options.
Below is a list of foods for diabetics – rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber – that not only help you maintain your diabetes but also promote your overall health:
Pinto, kidney, Black or Navy beans are packed with vitamins as well as minerals such as potassium and magnesium. These beans are high in fiber too. According to the American Diabetes Association, individuals with diabetes should add no-sodium canned beans or dried beans to their quite a few meals each week. Being low on the glycemic index, they can help maintain levels of sugar in the blood better than several other starchy foods. They, however, do contain carbs, but a half cup of beans also provides protein equals to one ounce of meat, without saturated fats.
If you are using canned beans, ascertain to drain and rinse them before consuming. This helps you to get rid of the excessive salt.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) asserts that several types of fruit are packed with vitamins and minerals that are good for diabetics. Citrus Fruits like grapefruits, lemons, oranges and limes etc. are few of the best options to choose if you have diabetes. These fruits not only have good-for-you minerals and vitamins, but they also contain fiber. Fiber, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is a great nutrient that helps control blood sugar levels.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, collards, and kale are known to be loaded with minerals and vitamins such as calcium, iron, potassium, vitamins A, C, E, and K. These vegetables are low in carbohydrates as well as calories. Try adding them to your soups, salads and stews.
Be it strawberries, blueberries or any other variety of berries, they all are loaded with antioxidants, fiber and vitamins. And they can be a great option to satisfy your sweet tooth. In a research study by the USDA, individuals who consumed 2 and a half cups of berry juice per day for twelve weeks were able to lower their blood sugar levels, improve their memories and lift their depression. According to the researchers, these results were shown due to the anthocyanins present in the berries.
Craving something sweet? Well, sweet potatoes – packed with vitamin A and fiber – can be another good option to satisfy the craving. To add to its benefits, sprinkle some cinnamon powder on it.
Omega-3 fats in fatty fish such salmon, trout, sardines, herring, mackerel and tuna are known to reduce the risk of inflammation and heart disease. However, avoid eating fried or breaded fishes and opt for the baked or grilled options, instead.
“Eating fish (mainly fatty fish) twice per week is recommended for people with diabetes.” – The American Diabetes Association Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes 2017.
Trying to manage your hunger? An ounce of nuts can do the job while helping you get key healthy fats for your body. In addition, nuts are also a good source of fiber and magnesium. They are literally full of life. A research from Louisiana State University revealed that “people who regularly eat tree nuts — including macadamias, almonds, pistachios, cashews and walnuts — have lower risks for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. So, let these nuts change your life.
When looking for bread, cereal and other grain-related options, the first ingredient on the label should read “whole” on it. Whole grains are full of minerals and vitamins like B vitamins, magnesium, iron, folate and chromium. They are loaded with fiber too. Some examples of whole grains are quinoa, whole oats, whole grain barley and farro. So, try to include whole grains in your daily routine.
Milk and Yogurt
Milk and yogurt are two popular dairy items that are celebrated for their role in building strong bones and teeth. In addition to calcium, many dairy products are fortified with vitamin D as well. They, however, do contain carbohydrates that should be a concern when you have diabetes. So, look for products that are low added sugar and fats.
Cinnamon is delightful spice that can be used in variety of dishes. A controlled study revealed that cinnamon can lower the glucose blood levels and improve the sensitivity to insulin.
Another study revealed that people with type 2 diabetes who consumed cinnamon for 90 days had more than a double drop in hemoglobin as compared to those who only received standard care.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of 10 studies revealed that cinnamon may also lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
However, the intake of cassia cinnamon – the kind of cinnamon found in most grocery stores – should be limited to less than 1 tsp per day. This type contains coumarin which is linked to health problems if taken in high quantity. Contrariwise, Ceylon – the true cinnamon – contains coumarin in much lesser quantity.
Egg is another superfood for diabetics and it keeps you full for several hours. Regular egg intake may also lessen the risk of heart disease in several ways. Egg consumption also reduce inflammation, increase good cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity and alter the shape and size of you bad cholesterol.
In a study, type 2 diabetes patients who ate 2 eggs daily as part of an energy-restricted high-protein diet had improvements in blood glucose levels and cholesterol levels.
In addition to that, eggs are known to be one of the best sources of zeaxanthin – antioxidants that provides safeguard to the eyes from various diseases.
The beneficial nutrients are chiefly found in the yolk, so make sure you eat the whole egg rather than just eating egg whites.
If you are diabetics, chia seeds should be incorporated in your routine diet. They are low in digestible carbs yet immensely high in fiber which can help you lower your blood sugar levels. This is done by slowing down the rate at which food is absorbed in your body.
These seeds may also help you achieve a healthy weight as the fiber present in them diminishes hunger and makes you feel full. Additionally, the fiber content also help decrease the amount of calories your body absorb from other foods consumed at the same meal.
List of Foods to Be Avoided in Diabetes
Now that you know some of the best options in food to maintain your diabetes, it is time to put the spotlight on some worst options or foods that you should avoid or eat in moderation.
Worst Options in Protein Rich Foods:
- Hot dogs
- Beef jerky
- Deli meats, like salami, bologna, roast beef, ham, and turkey
- Sweetened protein shakes or smoothies
- Pepperoni and Sausages
- Flavored or sweetened nuts, like spicy or honey-roasted peanuts or cashew nuts.
Worst Options in Grains:
- White bread
- White pasta
- Sugary breakfast cereals
- White rice
Worst Options in Dairy:
- Full-fat or reduced-fat cottage cheese
- Reduced-fat (2%) or Full-fat milk, especially flavored milks
- Full-fat cheese
- Full-fat, sweetened kefir
- Full-fat yogurt
Vegetables to Enjoy in Moderation:
- White potatoes
- Sweet potatoes
Worst Options in Fruits:
- Packaged juices
- Dried fruit
- Canned fruit in sugary syrup
- Fresh juices – part of fad cleanses
Worst Options in Fats:
- Packaged snacks, like corn chips, crackers, and other chips
- Fast food
- Full-fat dairy products
- Lamb, veal, pork and beef
- Palm and coconut oil
- Processed sweets, like cakes, doughnuts, muffins and cookies
Adapt a Healthier Lifestyle
Apart from eating healthy, there are a few habits that you need to adapt as to control your diabetes:
Are you a laid-back person who likes spending hours lying and watching TV? If this is the case, it is time to start being active now. To stay active, you don’t necessarily need to join a gym. A walk, bicycling, running are enough to keep you fresh and energetic.
Your goal should be 30 minutes of exercise or any physical activity that makes you breathe a little harder and sweat. An active routine will help you maintain your diabetes by dropping down your blood sugar level. In addition, it also reduces the risk of heart diseases. Not only that, it can even help you ease stress and shed some extra fat.
Get Regular Checkups
Seeing your physician at least twice a year is a must as diabetes can raise your odds of heart disease. So, get your blood pleasure, cholesterol and blood sugar level check regularly. In addition to that, get a full eye exam done each year. Also, visit a foot doctor to rule out problems like nerve damage and foot ulcers.
Learn to Manage Stress
It is a known fact that your blood levels go up when you are stressed. And anxiety can make it hard for you to manage your diabetes. It may make you forget to eat the right foods for you, take your medication and exercise. It may also lead to binge eating. Hence, find ways to ease your stress like yoga, deep breathing or other techniques.
Avoid Smoking and Alcohol Intake
Diabetes make you more prone to health issues like eye disease, heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, stroke, foot problems and blood vessel disease. So, if you smoke, the probability of getting these health problems increases. Also, smoking can reduce your stamina and make it hard for you to exercise.
In addition, watch your alcohol too. It gets easier to maintain the blood sugar level if you don’t consume too much wine, beer or liquor.
Even if you choose to drink on special occasions, don’t overdo it. According to American Diabetes Association, “men who drink should have no more than two drinks a day and women should have no more than one.”
Alcohol can make your blood glucose go too low or too high. So, ensure you check your blood sugar level before you decide to drink and also take some steps to elude low blood sugars.
Make sure you eat something while drinking if you take oral medication or use insulin. Some drinks may be high in carbs, so don’t forget to take this into account when counting carbs.
The End line
Embracing a healthy diet plan by incorporating the aforementioned list of foods for diabetics is one of best ways to keep your blood sugar level under control and prevent further complications. If you are over-weight and want to lose weight, you can tailor the above-mentioned list to your specific goals. You can also add exercise to your routine for added benefits.
The list of foods for diabetics mentioned above not only help you manage your diabetes, but it also offers several other health benefits. Since this list includes fruits, vegetables and fiber, following it is likely to help you reduce the risk of certain types of cancers and heart diseases. And the intake of low-fat dairy products can lower the risk of low bone mass in the future.