Diet and proper nutrition play an important role in the prevention and treatment of diabetes. Eating healthy foods in the proper balanced amounts can help lower blood sugar and manage the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Balancing carbohydrates, eliminating sugars, and adding protein will help stabilize blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes.
Carbohydrates and Sugar in a Diabetic Diet
Diabetics need to be watchful for “good” carbs and “bad” carbs. Good carbs contain complex carbohydrates and burn slower, helping to stabilize blood glucose. Bad carbs cause insulin to spike in the blood and should be avoided.
Bad carbs are found in sugar, refined white flour, corn sugar, and, unfortunately, fruits and juices. Because of the valuable nutrients in fruits, they can be included in a diabetic diet in small amounts, but fruit juices are best avoided. To add fruit juice to the diet without spiking insulin levels, juice can be diluted at least 50/50, so that the benefits of the fruit can be enjoyed without adding sugar to the bloodstream.
Beans for Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association recommends a half-cup of beans a day. Beans contain carbohydrates along with as much protein as an ounce of meat. Beans also contain magnesium and fiber.
Fiber for Type 2 Diabetics
Fiber is necessary in a diabetes diet because it lowers blood sugar. Fiber has been shown to prevent the onset of diabetes and it can also lower LDL cholesterol levels. Grains and beans are an excellent source of fiber, as are nuts, most fruits and vegetables. Potatoes and apples contain an especially soft type of fiber that is easy on the digestive tract. The recommended amount of fiber in the diet is 25 to 30 grams per day.
Nuts: Diabetic Superfood
Nuts are an excellent source of fiber and magnesium, a nutrient needed in a diabetic diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in some nuts, including walnuts. Nuts contain healthy fats that are good for the body and help slow the digestion of carbohydrates, leading to a lowering of blood sugar. The American Diabetes Association lists nuts as one of the superfoods for diabetics.
Protein is Good for Diabetics
Add protein to every meal to help slow the release of blood sugar. One quarter of each meal should come from protein foods, advises the American Diabetes Association.
With proper diet, the symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be mitigated or avoided.
About the author
Melanie Grimes is a writer, award-winning screenwriter, medical journal editor, and adjunct faculty member at Bastyr University. She also teaches homeopathy at the Seattle School of Homeopathy and the American Homeopathic Medical College.
A trained homeopath, she is the editor of the homeopathic journal, Simillimum, and has edited alternative and integrative medical journals for 15 years. She has taught creative writing, founded the first Birkenstock store in the USA and authored medical textbooks.
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