Diabetes Diet | Top 7 Foods For Diabetics

Diabetics don’t have to follow a special type of diet that makes things difficult for them since it is already tiresome taking care of their medications and following up with their blood sugar levels, they just need to know what foods they are eating and be more mindful towards choosing food items that will help them control their condition and avoid its harmful comorbidities, diabetics with the worst prognostic factors are mainly those who are overweight or obese since the extra fat that is stored around their organs is one of the leading causes of insulin resistance and increased blood sugar levels it also contributes to the development of dyslipidemia and promotes cardiovascular disease risk.

When thinking about a healthy diet try to choose the types of food that will help you lose this extra weight and be able to burn fat to improve your blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity

Food items with more fiber content in them especially soluble fibers and those with a low glycemic index, low carbohydrates, and high proteins are the ones to go for to help you achieve better overall health and quality of life at the same time stay away from foods that are high on sugar, salt, and all types of processed foods in general.

Best foods for Diabetes:

1) Turkey

100 grams of whole roasted turkey contains 189 calories, 7 grams of fat, 0.1 grams of carbohydrates, 29 grams of protein

Turkey is a source of protein instead of chicken and red meat with fewer calories, less saturated fats, and healthy protein content

The fat content in Turkey differs according to the cut of meat you choose generally speaking a chicken breast has lower fat content than thighs and has more protein, the high protein content in turkey is very beneficial for building your muscles and in making necessary plasma proteins and enzymes that you need on daily basis, it also keeps you full for longer and curbs your appetite helping you lose weight.

Turkey is a wonderful source of vitamin B complexes vitamins B6 and B12 that are needed to make your DNA and help keep your nerves healthier for longer especially since peripheral neuropathy with tingling and numbness is one of the main complications of diabetes that need high vitamin B supplementation, it is also a great source of minerals like selenium needed for thyroid health, zinc for many metabolic processes, iron for red blood cell formation and phosphorus for bone health.

All these benefits are present only in unprocessed turkey breasts and preferably without the skin but if you choose other turkey products like deli turkey and turkey bacon, they are pretty much the worst choices for diabetes as they are highly processed and contain lots of chemicals and have high salt content in them.

You can brine your turkey and roast it as most people prepare it, or you can find other creative recipes to use it in, you can maybe turn it into tikka masala or turkey curries you can ground the turkey meat and make healthy burgers or meatballs and plenty more of wonderful recipes you can find online to use it more often and make sure to have it with a healthy plate of colorful vegetables better than having it along with stuffing that has high carbohydrate content.

2) Quinoa

Half a cup of quinoa about 93 grams contains 111 calories, 1.8 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 4.1 grams of protein

Quinoa is one of the healthiest trendy foods now in the world, a substantially nutritious, gluten-free grain, full of fiber more than many other types of grains which promotes fullness and helps you lower your portion size more easily, this fiber also supports your gut health through increasing the healthy microbiome of your colon and forming a healthy stool bulk to give you better bowel motions since diabetes comes with higher rates of diarrhea, fiber also makes quinoa one of the few grains with a low glycemic index of 53 that helps you have better control over your postprandial sugar spikes.

Quinoa is also high in protein that supplies you with all of the essential amino acids that are required to help you build muscles, plasma proteins, and enzymes, which makes it a great protein source for vegetarians as well. Since quinoa is gluten-free it makes a wonderful choice for people with gluten sensitivity like celiac disease patients.

Quinoa is rich in minerals and vitamins including folate, iron, magnesium, potassium which all help in lowering blood pressure levels, enhancing your red blood cell formation, maintaining proper cell signaling,  nerve impulses, and muscle contractions there has been a link between magnesium deficiency and insulin resistance one of the main causes of diabetes it also helps lower the levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol oxidation levels through the wonderful antioxidants content in them like quercetin and kaempferol which are flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory properties and promote overall health.

Quinoa has some types of anti-nutrients like phytic acid so it is essential to rinse quinoa and soak it well before you cook it to get the full range of the minerals and nutrients in it, then you just cook it like you would cook rice and enjoy it with some chicken breasts or some finely chopped vegetables to turn it into a salad with some feta cheese on top and a drizzle of olive oil.

3) Avocado

1 avocado about 201 grams contains 322 calories, 29 grams of fat, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein

Avocados are great fruit choices for people with diabetes it is one of the rare fruit options with fewer carbohydrate content in comparison to the high healthy fat content and wonderful fiber content which makes it ideal for controlling blood sugar spikes and helping you increase your insulin sensitivity, the high fiber content is what we need in diabetes to stay in your gut for longer periods of times and help you avoid sugar crashes and excessive cravings, it helps you digest and metabolize the food more slowly, and provides you with a variety of gut microbiota that enhances your stool bulk and your GIT health.

Avocados are packed with healthy fats like omega 3 fatty acids, the type that saves your cells from damage caused by products of LDL cholesterol oxidation that has been linked to increasing your risk of getting dyslipidemia and atherosclerosis which will lead to cardiovascular diseases and stroke eventually, it also helps raise your HDL cholesterol levels the good type that keeps your vessels healthy.

Avocados are packed with the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which are necessary for eye health they help you minimize the damage done to your retina and the fat content also has high beta carotenes and vitamin c that prevent some degenerative diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration which come at an earlier age with diabetes than the normal population.

Avocados are great sources of folate which is an integral part of any healthy diet since it is a main component of DNA in your cells, folate has also been linked with lowering the rate of depression one of the most gruesome comorbidities with diabetes that affects their general condition greatly through inhibiting the buildup of a compound named homocysteine that impairs the production of serotonin and dopamine which are responsible for regulating your mood and sleep.

Avocados are full of magnesium and potassium that help lower your blood pressure levels and keep your heart disease risk even lower, they can help you lose weight if you consume them in moderation as a substitute to the other types of harmful saturated fats but don’t overdo it with avocados since they have high-calorie content which can have the opposite effect on you and lead to gaining weight instead of losing it.

Avocados are great on their own stack them on a piece of warm brown toast in the morning instead of using butter, put them next to a warm plate of scrambled eggs to have a hearty filling breakfast, or add them to a plain cup of greek yogurt for a healthy snack, they are of course fantastic in guacamole dip next to almost any dish you make, they are also marvelous in making smoothies since they add creaminess and don’t affect the taste drastically.

4) Whole wheat

Grains mainly consist of 3 parts the bran, which is the hard outer shell with the fiber, the endosperm, the middle layer with the carbs, and the germ, the inner layer with the vitamins and minerals the term whole wheat means that the grain you are getting has all of these 3 layers, unlike refined grains which are usually processed and have only the endosperm with the high carbohydrate content in them without any of the bran or the germ with their much-needed content of fiber and vitamins.

Whole wheat is one of the best carbohydrates options for diabetics since it has a high fiber content that keeps you full for longer and suppresses your appetite to make it easy for you to lose weight, whole-wheat also has a lower glycemic index than refined wheat which makes it better for controlling your postprandial sugar spikes and improving your insulin sensitivity, it also reduces the risk of obesity and developing cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

It is a wonderful source of manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium that aid in controlling your carbohydrate metabolism and increasing your insulin sensitivity, the healthy fiber content act as prebiotics which are very beneficial for your gut health and help promote the healthy gut bacteria that helps you have better colon health, lowering your chances of getting constipation and lowering the rate of colonic inflammation with subsequent lower risk of getting colorectal cancer.

To add more whole grains to your diet always go for brown rice, brown bread, use whole wheat pastry flours, breakfast cereals, make overnight porridge from oatmeal with some nuts, and make popcorn your best friend as it is a whole grain that has very little calories with a very satisfying crunch and flavor that keeps you full for very long.

5) Eggs

One boiled egg of 100 mg contains 155 calories, 11 grams of fat, 1.1 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of protein

Eggs are excellent choices for people with diabetes they are low on carbohydrates and high on protein along with a whole bunch of fantastic nutrients that are essential for your health, eggs have all of the essential amino acids you need to build strong muscles especially since diabetes can lead to weight loss and muscle wasting.

Eggs are wonderful sources of choline a substance that is needed to form the important neurotransmitter acetylcholine which is the main transducer at the neuromuscular junctions and peripheral nerves which is very handy to load up on if you have diabetes as it leads to peripheral neuropathy in many diabetics with numbing and paresthesia and choline can delay the neuropathy and protect your brain health as well.

Eggs are full of antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which are essential for the eye as they delay the progression of retinal diseases that are very common in diabetics from cataracts that occurs at earlier ages compared to the general population as well as macular degeneration and retinal atrophy.

Eggs are high in biotin which is needed for healthy skin, hair, and nails that become brittle and lusterless in diabetes.

The only concern with eating eggs for diabetics is the high cholesterol level that is present in the egg yolks since diabetes already increases your risk of dyslipidemia and cardiovascular diseases it is best to avoid any excess cholesterol in the diet so if you already have a high cholesterol level in the blood, stick with the egg whites and stay away from the yolks since there resides the cholesterol but you will lose the other benefits in the yolks from choline to calcium and the wonderful omega 3 fatty acids that are beneficial to you heart and vessels.

It is best to limit eggs consumption to three days a week and choose cooking methods that are low on fat like boiling and poaching to get the most out of the healthy eggs without adding harm to them, don’t add bacon or sausage to your eggs since they have high sodium content and can raise your blood pressure go instead for healthy colorful vegetables.

6) Fatty Fish

One medium-sized sardine of 30 grams contains 47 calories, 1.9 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 7.1 grams of protein

Fatty fish is known for its wonderful health benefits which is why it is a great source of protein for diabetics. When people say fatty fish, we immediately think of salmon, cod, or tuna but not a lot of people get sardines in mind. Well, sardines are in fact a great different choice for fatty fish that you should incorporate more often into your diet, since sardines feed only on plankton they don’t have as much mercury in them as other types of fish.

Sardines are full of course of omega 3 fatty acids that have excellent anti-inflammatory properties that help you lower the risk of getting heart diseases and neurodegenerative disorders by lowering the risk of blood thrombosis, atherosclerotic plaques formation, and lowering your blood pressure to decrease your risk of getting heart attacks and strokes which are high in diabetes.

There are also many research papers now linking high intake of omega 3 fatty acids and fighting depression and having a better mood which is a very common problem in the world in recent years, especially for people with chronic diseases like diabetes, another factor that helps elevate your mood is the high vitamin D content in sardines along with them being an excellent source of calcium as well which plays a great role in giving you healthy strong bones and prevent diseases like osteoporosis and pathological fractures, sardines are also full of vitamins C and A which are great for boosting your immunity and helping you fight infections which are very common comorbidities in diabetes.

Sardines are very common in Mediterranean cuisine you can find many recipes that have sardines in them you can grill fresh sardines, add canned sardines on top of salads, or make a sardine casserole with some lemons and olive oil or add them on top of a cracker or to a plate of pasta and when you buy canned sardines be more attentive to the types that don’t have high salt content in them to avoid hypertension.

7) Citrus Fruits

1 orange about 140 grams contains 69 calories, 0.2 grams of fat, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 1.3 grams of protein

Citrus fruits of all kinds like oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and many more are all superb fruits for people with diabetes they have a low glycemic index which means they don’t really raise your blood sugar levels fast after you eat them like other types of fruits, they are very rich in fiber as well that delay your digestion and help you process food more slowly so as to control your blood glucose levels this has a wonderful impact on your GIT health and your diabetes control and it helps decrease your Hb A1C levels.

Oranges are packed with vitamin C that has antioxidant potential, it helps you reduce the free radical damage on your body and rejuvenate your cells, they are also full of potassium which helps you reduce the risk of insulin resistance and delays cardiovascular disease onset through lowering your blood pressure by getting rid of the trapped salt and water content in your body. citrus fruits are full of flavonoid antioxidants that have great anti-inflammatory actions and help improve your insulin sensitivity with blood oranges having a special type of flavonoids called anthocyanins that combats inflammation and lowers the risk of chronic diseases.

Always go for the real fruits eat them whole to get as much fiber content as you can, use them in your cooking more frequently, try to avoid orange juice despite it having the beneficial vitamins content we look for, it usually lacks the fiber that we need from the fruit, it also is high on sugar content that can lead to high sugar spikes and weight gain so if you want to drink orange juice make it at home with no added sugar and try not to strain it so much to get some of the pulp that has the healthy fibers.

Did You Know?

Diabetes is one of the most common metabolic diseases around the world with millions of people suffering from this horrible disease and its lifelong complications, in 2019 the WHO estimated that diabetes was the ninth leading cause of death with over 1.5 million deaths directly attributable to diabetes.

There are two types of diabetes type 1, in which your pancreas cannot produce any insulin which is the hormone responsible for regulating your blood sugar levels due to genetic causes or autoimmune conditions, and type 2 diabetes, which is the most prevalent form of the disease where the pancreas produces enough insulin but the body cannot utilize it properly what is known as insulin resistance and this type of diabetes is mostly caused by modifiable risk factors like obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and bad eating habits so it can be prevented or at least you can delay its onset since it is becoming very common among obese children nowadays.

Complications of Diabetes

The problem with diabetes is that it robs you of your health and exposes you to tons of complications from an early age. Diabetics are more likely than many other people to suffer from heart diseases, strokes, ischemia, leg ulcers, and gangrene that end up in amputation, kidney damage, peripheral nerve damage, increased rate of infections, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and even blindness.

overall diabetics are more prone to premature mortality than other people, to avoid this big and devastating list of diseases it is very important to change your lifestyle early on to obliterate the risk factors that cause the disease through achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active with a regular exercise routine and most importantly changing your diet to more healthy and nutritious food choices.

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