The Diabetes Diet: Foods for Health and Prevention

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Whether you are someone trying to manage your type 2 diabetes, or you're in good health but want to prevent type 2 diabetes from creeping up on you, the food choices you make on a day-to-day basis will make all the difference. 

Let's start with a basic understanding of type 2 diabetes. Technically a metabolic disorder, this kind of diabetes is characterized by hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, due to the body's inability to control and regulate the glucose levels in the blood. If gone unchecked for long enough, high blood sugar can lead to more serious diseases such as heart disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and Alzheimer's disease. 

But enough of the heavy talk- the good news is that type 2 diabetes is absolutely preventable and, in some cases, reversible. Some studies indicate that a low calorie diet alone can help reverse diabetes completely. Needless to say, more severe cases may require medication such as insulin or metformin. However, we must never underestimate the extraordinary power that a simple change in diet can have.

What to Cut Out? 

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Carbs have the largest effect on your blood glucose levels, and while we need a certain amount of them to stay healthy, we also need to be mindful of which foods will overload us with carbs, thereby sending our our blood sugar sky high. Sweet, starchy, fried and heavily processed foods/beverages should be avoided, as they contain the highest level of carbohydrates. Stay away from saturated fats, which are prevalent in our dairy products like butter and cheese. And, as we often do on our site, we can't stress the importance of eating organic enough!

Reduce your Intake of...

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Fruits
  • Corn
  • Candy
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • White Bread
  • Fast Food (Duh!)

Note: Diet "staples" like white bread and milk can be replaced with healthier alternatives, such as almond milk and organic, whole wheat bread.

What to Eat?

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Non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and foods rich in omega fatty acids (such as fish and avocado) all comprise a healthy, preventative diet. Rely on your intuition/common sense with other things; go for the fat free yogurt, the sugar free juice, the egg white omelette. We are lucky enough to live during a time in which we have options!

Increase your Intake of...

  • Beans
  • Oatmeal
  • Nonfat Yogurt
  • Almonds
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Peppers
  • Wild Salmon
  • Avocado
  • Egg Whites

Note: If  you are taking diabetes medication, keep a consistent meal and exercise schedule every day. That way, the body can become accustomed to the routine and more easily regulate glucose levels. Talk to your doctor or dietician about the meal plan that works best with your medication.

Author: Nate Morgan

Sources:

  • http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press/news/2015/10/type2diabetes/
  • http://inhealth.cnn.com/tips-for-managing-diabetes//type-2-diabetes-and-food-choices?did=t1_rss10
  • http://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes-pictures/joy-bauer-foods-for-diabetes.aspx#09
  • http://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes/management/diet/
  • http://www.joybauer.com/type-2-diabetes.aspx
  • http://www.prevention.com/health/diabetes/how-cure-diabetes-food