Diabetes often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, is a disease in which the blood glucose or blood sugar levels of a person are too high. There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. People with Type 1 diabetes have either a total lack of insulin or have too little insulin while people with Type 2 diabetes, which is the more common kind, cannot use insulin efficiently within the body.
What is Insulin? Why do we need it?
The cells in our body need sugar to produce energy. However, sugar cannot go into most of our cells directly. Insulin has a better role in this process. In fact, it helps keeps your blood sugar level from getting too high or too low. Meaning, the key role of insulin is to control the glucose in our body.
Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows the human body to use sugar or glucose from carbohydrates in the food that we eat to produce energy. Without an adequate amount of insulin, the glucose stays in your blood and may lead to prediabetes. This statement means that your blood sugar is higher than the average level but not high enough to be called as diabetes.
Know More about Diabetes
Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause serious problems – not just diabetes. According to a study, a high sugar level can also damage your eyes, kidneys, nerves, and other parts of the body. Moreover, diabetes can also cause heart disease, stroke, and even the need to remove an extremity or a limb. Pregnant women can also get diabetes, and it will be called gestational diabetes.
The most common symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, intense thirst or polydipsia and extreme hunger, weight gain, unusual weight loss, weakness, non-healing wounds, numbness and itching in hands and feet. If you are experiencing at least two of the said symptoms, it is better to see your doctor right away.
Foods to Eat for Diabetes
The best, most comfortable, and most practical way to cure or prevent diabetes is through eating healthy. If you already following a healthful meal plan packed with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, then good for you! You are taking a significant step in controlling your weight and glucose levels.
However, if you are new to diabetes and still wondering what to eat to help you overcome this phase of your life, this article is just right for you. Here are the top 10 foods you may add to your healthy meal plan.
One of the spring vegetables, asparagus is high in an antioxidant or natural substance called glutathione, which performs a key role in easing the effects of aging and many diseases, including diabetes, heart and kidney diseases, as well as cancer. Asparagus can also help you control your blood sugar levels while boosting output of insulin.
2. Kale and Spinach
According to a conducted study, people who ate the greenest leafy vegetables were less likely to develop diabetes than those consuming the least amounts. Kale and spinach are two of those green leafy vegetables that are highly nutritious. In fact, it is proven effective to help reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
Kale and spinach contain two pigments, lutein, and zeaxanthin, that are helpful for eye health. These two veggies help improve blood glucose control in diabetes, lower the risk of cancer, reduce blood pressure, and help prevent the development of asthma.
Avocados are a stone fruit that grows in warm climates. Their potential health benefits include improving cholesterol levels, enhancing digestion, decreasing the risk of depression, and protection toward cancer.
According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, avocados can help to decrease the risk of obesity and diabetes. An avocado is a fruit, but because of its high-fat content, it should be treated like fat. It has also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, thanks to its fiber content.
Beans are high in fiber and a good source of protein. According to a non-profit organization in the Dallas, Texas that fosters appropriate cardiac care – the American Heart Association (AHA) journal Stroke, consuming this kind of food may lower the risk of stroke. Also, it is also suitable for controlling your blood sugar levels. Beans, including black, white, navy, lima, pinto, garbanzo, soy, and kidney, are a winning combination of high-quality carbohydrates, lean protein, and soluble fiber that helps maintain your blood glucose levels and keeps restraint hunger.
Blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries are three of the most common berries which can help to improve your blood sugar levels. They are all rich in fiber and flavonoids, which is known to be part of the most abundant nutrient families.
Recent research proved that eating foods rich in anthocyanins could help you prevent type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, a variety of antioxidants found in blueberries and cranberries are anthocyanins. In fact, these are the substances that give them their natural color. On the other hand, raspberries make the American Diabetic Association's list of superfoods and have the American Heart Association's endorsement.
A powder containing a highly concentrated dose of sulforaphane is proven to be able to lower your blood sugar levels. Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which are established to have this unique powder compound.
Aside from Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, and other edible green plants in the cabbage family also contains glucosinolates. These sulfur-containing compounds are said to be useful in preventing colorectal, breast, kidney, esophageal, and oropharyngeal cancers.
The carrot is a root vegetable which is rich in vitamin A and K, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. According to a 2013 study from the Stanford University School of Medicine, the vitamins found in carrots are helpful to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes especially among people who have a genetic inclination.
Plates of seafood, which includes fish, are known to be low in unhealthy saturated fat and cholesterol. Aside from that, fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, halibut, and albacore tuna are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Diabetes experts recommend eating fish for cardiovascular health. According to them, “it’s a great protein choice, a source of healthy fat, and it contains important vitamins and minerals" that diabetes people need to control blood sugar levels.
9. Red Goods (Red Grapefruits, Red Onions, Red Peppers)
Red grapefruit, red onions, and red peppers are said to be helpful in controlling human glucose levels. Aside from that, these three red goods are also able to regulate blood pressure, prevent asthma, and improve cholesterol levels.
Red grapefruits are packed with more antioxidant power and more health benefits compared to its white version. Red onions, on the other hand, are said to be rich in fiber, potassium, and folate, which are all good for heart health. While red peppers are composed of nutrients including the antioxidants vitamin A and C, beta-carotene, and lycopene.
There is also growing indication that nuts can improve not just heart health but also control blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes. In fact, according to Diabetes Care in 2011, eating nuts every day can decrease blood sugar levels and LDL or most known as bad cholesterol.
In addition to that, research from Louisiana State University, a public, coeducational university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, also found that people who frequently eat tree nuts such as almonds, cashews, macadamias, pistachios, and walnuts, have lower risks for type 2 diabetes.
Prevention at Its Best
Blood tests can show if you have diabetes. If you think you have high glucose, a test called A1C can help you check on how you are managing your glucose content. Following a healthy meal plan, exercising, and controlling your weight can also help you achieve your blood sugar level. You should also monitor your sugar intake and take medi9cine if prescribed by the doctor.
The foods on this list must not limit you to eat a tasty meal. Take note that the foods here shouldn't be the only healthy foods you can eat. You must try to incorporate other foods that will satisfy your cravings or else you may lead to stress eating.