Diabetes is a serious disease that can affect different parts of your body through its complications. Diabetes can damage your eyes, heart and blood vessels, kidneys, nerves, teeth and gums. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to:
- heart attack
- toe, foot, or leg infections requiring amputation
- kidney failure
- tooth and gum disease
- pregnancy complications
- sexual and urological problems
Fifteen foods that are familiar to you are very important in helping to control diabetes and its damaging effects. These foods contain nutrients that stabilize blood-sugar levels:
- Apples, onions, cabbage and berries, which are high in quercetin. Eating these foods resulted in a 20% decrease in diabetes and heart disease deaths in a Finnish study. Store berries properly. Red, blue and purple berries get their color from phytochemicals, which contain antioxidants.
- Citrus fruit delivers the antioxidants and vitamin C often seen in lower levels in diabetics.
- Spinach, Kale, and Collard Greens are good sources of fiber, B vitamins iron, calcium and vitamin C, or lutein, which can absorb damaging ultraviolet rays and protect the lenses of the eyes. Debilitating eye problems are a complication of diabetes.
- Cold-Water Fish or Flaxseed Oil can help lower bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and raise the good HDL cholesterol. Fish offers an important lean protein to the diet in addition to the omega-3 fatty acid, and together will help you feel full.
- Soy gives people with diabetes, and pre-diabetics, a complete protein that’s low in fat and rich in cancer-fighting chemicals called isoflavones, which can also lower cholesterol levels.
- Water is important so the body can flush out some of the blood sugar, so it needs to be replenished, especially if you drink caffeinated beverages or eat high-sodium foods. Also, high fiber foods (or dehydrated foods) require more water to flush out the bulk.
- Old-Fashioned Oats are less refined than the quick variety, so are digested more slowly. They are a good source of soluble fiber and that will help to stabilize blood sugar and lower cholesterol.
- Dairy and Calcium-RichFoods, according to research by Michael B. Zemel, PhD, director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee, used with restricted calories of 500 calories, led to twice as much weight loss as a “low-dairy” group – and more fat was lost instead of muscle.
- Fiber-Rich Foods, from 24 to 50 grams daily, had dramatic improvements in blood sugar level, in astudy done at the University of Texas Southwestern medical Center at Dallas Southwestern Medical School. The study found that increasing fiber was as effective as some diabetes medications! They suggest that for the best glucose control, an equal mix of soluble (oranges, grapefruit, prunes, cantaloupe, lima beans, oat bran,, and granola help lower blood cholesterol) and insoluble fibre (vegetables, legumes, whole grains that move waste through the digestive system and may help prevent colon cancer).
- Ice Cream, strangely enough, was found to help – low-fat, in addition to yogurt and fat-free milk … Harvard University researchers monitored the diets of more than 41,000 men for 12 years and they discovered that for every daily serving of low-fat dairy eaten, a man’s risk of developing diabetes dropped by 9%. Low-fat, not sugar-loaded is the key!
- Green Tea fights chronic inflammation caused by high-fat foods, lack of exercise, too few fruits, vegetables and good fats. Green tea, orange or cranberry juices contains flavonoids and are powerful inflammation-fighters.
- Nuts can lower heart disease rates, but don’t eat too many because they’re high in calories and you could easily gain weight. Eat about two tablespoons a day only. Eating natural nut butters should offer the same heart-healthy benefits. Some research shows that natural peanut butter may improve your balance of glucose and insulin levels – but only two tablespoons a day.
- Legumes include chickpeas, cannellini beans, kidney beans and lentils and are great in soups, salads and ethnic dishes. The fiber bulk pushes food through your system faster and helps to clear cholesterol from your system, slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream, preventing blood-sugar spikes that worsen diabetes.
- 100% Stone-Ground Whole Wheat Bread also prevents blood-sugar spikes because the body digests the flour very slowly, with a slow-release of glucose into the bloodstream. The first ingredient listed should be “whole grain,” “whole wheat” or “whole oats.”
- Chocolate, dark chocolate that is, can improve insulin sensitivity as well as produce a drop in blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol and improve blood vessel function, according to research conducted at Tufts University. This would be for the occasional small treat, but because of the fat and calories can’t be considered part of a regular diet.
No one wants to gruesome problems associated with diabetes. Start young – eat these foods and you’ll stay younger longer.
Go to www.betterhealth-fast.com for lower calorie ways to add to your nutrition “tool belt.”
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