Diabetes is a growing problem.
According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population, had diabetes - that number rising 1.4 million Americans each year.
In 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes; this is up from 79 million in 2010. YIKES!
Diabetes was the 7th leading cause of death in the United States in 2010, with 69,071 death certificates listing it as the underlying cause of death, and a total of 234,051 death certificates listing diabetes as an underlying or contributing cause of death.
America, sadly has the HIGHEST rate of diabetes in the developing world - while the UK, Australia and Lithuania are among those nations with the lowest rates of the condition.
As Americans, our diets are horrible. We are the king of fast food, processed junk and sugary beverages. Yes, we enjoy socializing around food, which many other cultures take part in, but it's the types of foods we are consuming that are causing the most harm.
Sugar, trans fats, artificial colors and flavors, breads, cereals, decadent desserts, sodas, alcohol, the list can go on and on. When was the last time you went to a social event with 100% Organic whole foods with nothing processed or artificial? I definitely can't think of a single one.
If you have diabetes or want to make sure you do not develop diabetes in the future, read on for a list of diabetes-friendly foods that will keep you from getting into trouble.
RAW, COOKED, or ROASTED VEGETABLES
Of course vegetables are going to be number 1 on the list. Why? Vegetables are loaded with fiber which fill you up and keep you from binging on other foods. Choosing low-carb veggies like mushrooms, onions, eggplant, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts and zucchini can help to keep your blood sugar on track and your taste buds happy.
Try them with dips such as homemade hummus, guacamole and salsa, or roasted in olive oil with different seasonings such as rosemary, cayenne pepper, or garlic. YUM!
Go beyond your regular salad and try kale, spinach, or chard - they’re healthy, delicious, and low-carb.
If it's chips you are craving, roast kale leaves in the oven with olive oil for a quick, crunchy snack. You can also mix greens in with your roasted veggies to add texture and a different flavor, or serve them with a little protein, like salmon.
When you have diabetes, sugary beverages are out. Drinks like water, coffee (plain), fruit infused water, and tea are all safe bets.
Oolong tea is especially great for maintaining your blood sugar to keep you from craving unhealthy foods all day.
Oolong tea contains polyphenols and other components that may reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. Oolong tea affects glucose metabolism and insulin signaling, which, as a result, has spurred interest in the health effects of tea consumption on diabetes.
Find the purest form of Oolong tea here and start reaping the benefits right away! See for yourself how it has helped our customers, like Nia, maintain her blood glucose in the video below.
MELON or BERRIES
Did you know that 1 cup of either of these has just 15 grams of carbs?
It’s a little more expensive, but it’s a healthy treat packed with nutrients and fiber, and it’s sweetness can satisfy even the strongest sugar craving.
For a different twist, mix the melon or berries with plain yogurt, or put them in ice cubes and throw them in your water.
Fill up on these to keep from overeating or choosing the wrong foods.
Try legumes like dried beans, peas and lentils. You can even enjoy a black bean and corn salsa with your raw vegetables or salad.
These foods still have some carbs, but they have interesting flavors that can help keep you satisfied and keep you from getting bored with the same old foods each day.
Good fat choices include olive oil, avocado and fatty fishes -- think salmon served on of a bed of lettuce, for example.
In moderation, these healthy fats can help you to absorb the nutrients from the other foods. They also help to keep you feeling fuller without the added guilt.
Bonus: drizzle some olive oil over your veggies and roast them with a little salt for a delicious side dish.
Proteins like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs and lean meats are all good choices when you have diabetes.
Peanut butter or almond butter on a celery stick is a good fat and protein mix for a healthy, satisfying snack when you want to shake things up a bit.
You can also snack on a lower-fat cheese stick or a beef jerky stick -- but keep an eye on how much sodium is in them.
Overall, your eating plan shouldn’t be boring. It should include the foods you love with a balance of carbohydrates.
You can help get your diabetes under control if you eat smart. The right foods can be an ally in your fight to keep your blood sugar levels in check.
Talk to your doctor, a registered dietitian, or a diabetes educator about how to keep track of how many carbs you eat, which can affect your blood sugar.
They may recommend that you use the glycemic index. It ranks how different foods raise glucose. Foods with a high glycemic index raise it more.
Also try these tips:
Make your plate colorful. That's an easy way to be sure you eat plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, and lean protein.
Watch your calories. Your age, gender, and activity level affect how many you need to eat to gain, lose, or maintain your weight.
FOODS TO AVOID
- Saturated fats. High-fat dairy products and animal proteins such as beef, hot dogs, sausage and bacon contain saturated fats. Limit your daily calories from saturated fat to less than 7 percent.
- Trans fats. These types of fats are found in processed snacks, baked goods, shortening and stick margarines. Avoid these items.
- Cholesterol. Sources of cholesterol include high-fat dairy products and high-fat animal proteins, egg yolks, liver, and other organ meats. Aim for no more than 200 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day.
- Sodium. Aim for less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day.
Aside from managing your diabetes, a diabetes diet offers other benefits, too. Because a diabetes diet recommends generous amounts of fruits, vegetables and fiber, following it is likely to reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. And consuming low-fat dairy products can reduce your risk of low bone mass in the future.