Because of the poor diets that most of us have lived with a majority of our lives, the number of those now living with Type 2 Diabetes has skyrocketed in recent years. While there is no direct cure for Type 2 Diabetes, monitoring your diet and exercising on a regular basis can definitely help curtail the negative effects of this affliction.
However, eating right with Type 2 Diabetes isn't always easy. The wrong quick snack or too much on one particular item can quickly send your blood sugar spiking which can be lethal while not eating enough can leave you dragging all day long. There are some easy guidelines though that can make sticking to a diabetes diet plan easy, and a few basic rules include:
Watch Your Carbs
Carbohydrates have the most direct impact on blood sugar because they are immediately broken down into sugars by the body. Because of this, most diabetic need to closely count the number of carbohydrates they consume on a daily basis. Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in dark, leafy veggies, are always better than simple carbs, and there are several easy diabetic recipes available online that can teach you how to adequately add them in to your everyday meals.
Ease Up On the Salt
Because Type 2 Diabetes can increase the risk for high blood pressure, those suffering from the disease are often asked to avoid foods and beverages high in sodium. While trying to avoid seasoning meats with salt or not using your favorite condiments such as ketchup or mustard may not seem like fun, there are various other ways to season your foods to make them equally as enjoyable. Simply swap out your canned veggies for fresh or frozen ones and try marinating meats with citrus juices.
Don't Eat Many Fats
In addition to high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes also increases your likelihood of heart disease. To avoid adding to that risk, those with Type 2 Diabetes should avoid high levels of fat in their diets. Lean meats, low fat dairy products, low fat cooking sprays, and low fat spreads should be used on a regular basis instead of their high fat counterparts.
Go For High Fiber
For diabetics, eating foods that are high in dietary fiber is one of the easiest ways to keep additional weight off, keep hunger satiated, and to control blood sugar levels. High fiber foods also provide the nutrients needed to ward off heart disease – which is highly beneficial to diabetics since their disease puts them at a higher risk for it. Good high fiber choices include vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole-wheat flour, and wheat bran.
While many believe that a diet with red meat and other forms of high, lean protein, such as chicken or lean cuts of pork, are a necessity, this isn't necessarily true – especially for diabetics. One of the best forms of protein for diabetics is heart-healthy fish which should replace other forms of protein at least twice a week. Fish such as salmon and mackerel are excellent choices and are lower in fat than other meats and poultry. However, there are fish, such as swordfish and king mackerel, which should be avoided because of their high mercury content.
Foods to Avoid
The above tips are simply guidelines, and there are several other facets of the diabetic diet that a diabetic needs to be aware about in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. While foods low in fat and sodium, high in fiber, and full of good carbs are good, those with high levels of saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol should be avoided – not only by diabetics, but by the populations as a whole. Foods that are generally high in the aforementioned include, but aren't limited to:
- hot dogs
- egg yolks
- baked goods
- organ meats
Even with this knowledge, anyone who is suffering from Type 2 Diabetes should speak to a trained and registered dietician before committing to any type of diet plan. Having Type 2 Diabetes may not allow you to take the same type of liberties with your diet as you did before, but you can still learn to eat right and enjoy your meals with the proper know-how and discipline.
About the author: Alex Summers is a recently graduate and avid blogger. An advertiser by trade, writer in dreams, and in reality somewhere in the middle, Alex is considered to be a grounded creative or literary business professional, whichever paradox you prefer.