Diabetes onset can be prevented, how? Sticking to a healthy or well-balanced diet can provide a lot of health benefits, including helpful for lowering the risk of diabetes (particularly type-2 diabetes). A kind of diet to prevent and treat this disease is also medically familiar called as MNT (medical nutrition therapy) for diabetes. Generally, this diet involves eating a wide variety of nutritious foods (moderate in calories & low in fats) and sticking to have regular mealtimes.
While in type-1 there is still no any information how to prevent it, type-2 can be prevented and even sometime also can be reversed.
Healthy eating plan is not the single answer for lowering your risk of diabetes. It also should be followed with other appropriate ways – particularly such as regular exercise (to improve your fit status and maintain your healthy weight).
Anyone can be affected by this disease, but many statistics show that it is more likely to occur in:
- Certain ethnic groups – the disease is more common in Asian-Americans, Hispanics, Africans, and American-Indians.
- People who have poorly controlled their cholesterol (having frequent high levels of LDL and triglycerides).
- Those who experience prediabetes.
- Those who have poor physical activity (being physically inactive).
- Those who have one or some family members diagnosed with type-2 diabetes.
- Obesity individuals – many cases of this disease occur in people with overweight. Read also the previous post about how to get rid of type-2 diabetes by losing weight in here!
- People who are older than 45 years of age. In other words, your risk gradually increases as you age.
- And women who have personal history of developing a temporary diabetes in pregnancy or often familiar called ‘gestational diabetes’.
In addition, this disease also tends to occur in people who have frequent high blood pressure!
Again, eating right is one of crucial keys to help lower your risk of this disease. It is not only recommended for individuals who have many risk factors (as written before), but also all people who seriously want to keep healthy.
Well … taking steps to lower your risk of diabetes doesn’t mean that you will live in deprivation. You don’t need to step down yourself to a lifetime of bland. You can still enjoy what you want, but ensure anything that you eat is proportional – in the right amount!
In general, foods you need to prioritize to prevent diabetes are foods that can help maintain your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels which then also can help promote good health for your entire body and maintain your healthy weight. The following are some major checklists you need to concern!
It’s undeniable that foods that you eat can significantly affect the fluctuation of your blood sugar – and carbohydrates have the most significant contribution, it is much greater than fats and proteins in affecting blood sugar. However, without carbohydrates you cannot carry your life forward since they are the most essential substance for your energy.
You don’t need to avoid them, but you need to eat them in moderation or in the right amount! For instance, don’t eat them too much if you don’t have adequate physical activity a day to burn them – just maintain the balance between your input and output!
Furthermore, concern also about the types of carbohydrates that you eat. Choose slow-release carbs (complex carbohydrates) instead of quick-release carbs (simple carbohydrates)!
Complex carbs can help make you full longer because they are relatively slower to be digested. Therefore they are often considered healthier to prevent too much production of insulin! And the effectively use of insulin is important to keep your risk of diabetes lower.
The following are some complex carbs you can choose:
- Bran muffin.
- Cereals high in fiber (such as Raisin bran). Read also about the role of fiber in diabetes!
- Healthier breads, such as whole-grain /whole-wheat breads.
- Choose whole-wheat pasta instead of regular pasta!
- Sweet potatoes & cauliflower mash are also good choice.
- If you want to choose rice for your carbs, brown rice is the best recommendation.
GI or glycemic index is a parameter to determine how fast foods that you eat will be converted into glucose /sugar in your body. Foods with low GI rate are considered better to prevent diabetes, because they are relatively slower to be converted into glucose.
In other words, lower GI foods cause the lower effect to your blood sugar – on the other hand, higher GI foods can affect and spike the level of your blood sugar more rapidly.
Typically, most of foods with low in glycemic index are also high in protein and fiber. Complex carbohydrates are low-GI foods. Beans, lean meats, whole grains, seeds, and nuts also can be other choices of your low-GI foods.
Below are some major principles to stick with low-GI eating!
- Don’t eat too much or higher than your body needs – and eat your foods slowly!
- Never skip breakfast! If you skip your breakfast, you tend to lose control of what you will eat in the next meals.
- Unhealthy fats can affect you blood sugar. Therefore restrict your diet from saturated fats and trans-fats (such as animal products, fried foods, etc)! Unsaturated fats such as avocadoes, walnuts, pecans, canola, almonds, and olive oil are much more recommended than saturated fats.
- Concentrated sweets (such as ice cream and sugar-sweetened beverages) also should be restricted. You can eat them, but again don’t eat them too much!
- After carbohydrates and fats, protein taken from foods that you eat may be the third factor in affecting the fluctuation levels of blood sugar. For this reason, chose healthful proteins for your diet! Skinless chicken, fish (such as salmon and sardine), soy products, and beans are some good choices for your healthy protein.
- Don’t choose refined grain products (such as regular white pasta) and white potatoes for your main meals. It’s much better to eat them for your small side dishes! Moreover, although fruit juices can provide a lot of vitamins and other essential nutrients for your body but they are also concentrated-sweet food that can immediately affect your blood sugar after eating them – therefore, don’t consume fruit juices more than 1 cup /day!
- Grains with the least-processed condition are much more recommended. These include wheat barriers, whole barley, millet, and whole-kernel breads. You can also try with muesli-cereals, natural granola, or stone-ground bread – these are traditionally processed grains.
For in-depth information, there are many tables of glycemic index foods that you can find on internet. Certain fruits are more recommended than others when it comes to lowering the risk of diabetes. Papayas, mangoes, bananas, or other tropical foods are commonly considered lower in GI rate.
And don’t forget to full your diet with adequate fiber from vegetables (particularly non-starchy vegetables).
Moreover, salt of your foods also should be concerned as well. Excessive consumption of salt can raise your blood pressure, and having high blood pressure can increase your risk of diabetes.
As noted before, eating the right type and amount of fat is important to maintain your blood sugar. The following are some helpful tips:
- Rather than choosing heavy cream to create a creamy soup, it’s much better to add low-fat sour cream or pureed potatoes in making a yummy soup.
- Rather than adding cheese to your sandwich, it’s much better to choose avocado to make your sandwich creamy in texture without sacrificing your health.
- Fried foods are very popular in this modern living – but did you know that they are loaded with a lot of trans-fats? You can eat them, but don’t go too much or avoid them if necessary for the health of your heart and controlling your blood sugar & cholesterol! Instead of frying – you can choose broiling, grilling, or even steaming if necessary for much better result in eliminating unhealthy fats.
- If you notice any visible fat from meat that you want to cook, trim it off! If you want to cook turkey or chicken – don’t forget to remove the skin of these animals before you cook them.
- Instead of using vegetable oil or butter — olive oil is much more recommended and often considered healthier.
- Rather than using butter for baking; applesauce and canola oil are much healthier and also great in taste.
- Get more essential nutrients for your health by eating salmon or other healthful fish for about 2-3 times /week. This idea is much better than if you full your diet with red meat (high in saturated fats)!
In addition, replacing crackers for a part of your breakfast by snaking seeds /nuts also can help reduce your unhealthy fat intake.
Again, the key is moderation. If you have many risk factors of diabetes, this doesn’t mean that you need to totally avoid sugar every day! You can still eat sugar and enjoy your favorite dessert, but remember to eat them in moderation!