According to statistics, diabetes is one of the leading causes of mortality, and there are different types of diabetes, so that that management may differ from one patient to another. In diabetes management, there is no such thing as a “one size fits all diet.” However, there are general rules that you need to keep in mind for healthy eating habits to regulate your blood sugar level, cholesterol, and blood pressure. These habits can help you manage your weight and reduce complications associated with diabetes like kidney problems, heart problems, and stroke.
1. Choose your Carbs Wisely
All kinds of carbohydrates can affect the blood sugar level in the body, so you must find out which food contains carbohydrates that have a greater risk of increasing your sugar level. Through the right choices and portion control, you can live everyday life as a person with diabetes. It is good to know that there is food for diabetics that are good choices for healthy carbohydrates.
One of the healthier choices is whole grains such as brown rice, whole oats, and buckwheat. You can also consider consuming more fruits and vegetables in the diet as it is loaded with fiber known to decrease blood sugar level, but you need to take fruits in moderation. Foods that are high in plant proteins like lentils, beans, and chickpeas are good options as fiber and protein in the diet can promote fullness for a longer period.
As you look for diabetes snacks, you need to cut down consumption of simple carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, and processed cereals as these foods have low fiber content.
2. Watch out for Salt
Being a diabetic means that you are also at risk of developing heart conditions, and eating high salt and sodium foods promotes high blood pressure. As much as possible, you need to limit your intake of salt to 6 grams or less every day. Almost all pre-packed and processed food already contains salt, so always bear in mind the importance of reading food labels at the back and choose less salt. Recommended food for diabetes is home-cooked meals as you can keep an eye on the amount of salt you use. Another great idea is to substitute salt with other healthier spices and herbs for an additional flavor.
3. Forget about Red Processed Meat
People with diabetes usually do not consume many carbohydrates, so some result in the addition of protein in the diet, but consumption of red and processed meat is not a good idea. You can try substituting red meat with other high protein foods like eggs, beans, lentils, fish, chicken, and turkey for healthy eating habits. Also, unsalted peanuts are good snacks for diabetes.
Consumption of legumes in the diet can provide you with both carbohydrates and protein making it an ideal substitute to processed red meat. Fish are another great option as it contains healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids that can promote a healthy heart.
4. The Fibrous the Better
It is a cliché to say that eating fruits and vegetables is good for health, but this is scientifically proven. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and essential plant compounds. These are healthy foods for diabetes, even fruits that most people think is bad for blood sugar. Fruits are composed of natural sugar called fructose, making it a better food choice than cookies, biscuits, and cakes if you are craving some sweets. Do not be lured by processed fruit juices as they are loaded with sugar. You can squeeze fresh fruits and make a healthy beverage.
5. Choose your Fat Wisely
Fat is imperative as a source of energy in the body, but different fats affect health in diverse ways. Not all fats are bad. There are healthier fats to include in your healthy eating habits such as those come from avocados, fish, seeds, nuts, and plant oils like olives, sunflower, and rapeseeds. It is essential to avoid trans fat and saturated fat that are common in processed foods. Always see food labeling as your guide.
6. Drink Alcohol Moderately
If you are trying to lose weight because of obesity or diabetes, then drinking alcohol will not help you to lose weight as it is high in empty calories. Taking alcohol as a snack for diabetes may hamper with your medications and insulin. Also, you should not drink on an empty stomach.
7. Beware of so-called Diabetic Foods
The law is against food fraud, so it is prohibited to include “diabetic food” in food labeling. The reason for this is the fact that there is no scientific basis or evidence that these foods can provide exceptional benefits over eating healthy foods. These are also processed foods containing a high amount of calories and fat that can affect health.