Around the time of World Diabetes Day, November 14, doctors and medical professionals often highlight the importance of diet in avoiding complications linked to hyperglycemia. Here are five simple and easy-to-follow dietary tips for diabetics.
Choose low glycemic index fruit
Current health recommendations encourage us to eat five portions of fruit and vegetable per day. Diabetics, however, should avoid fruits that are said to have a "high glycemic index," which can cause blood sugar levels to spike. Diabetics should ditch bananas, dates, pineapple and mango in favour of red berries (raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries), apples, pears, oranges, grapefruit, peaches and nectarines. Note that cinnamon can actually lower blood sugar levels. It can be used to sweeten coffee or tea or sprinkled over yogurt or other desserts.
Shop for low-sugar treats
Certain bakeries and food stores sell special diabetic cakes, cookies and pastries, which contain half the amount of sugar as regular versions, notably thanks to natural sugar substitutes. These sweet treats should be eaten occasionally and always as part of a meal to limit their effects on blood sugar levels.
Fill up on anti-inflammatory foods
As well as favouring low glycemic index foods, diabetics are encouraged to follow a Mediterranean diet, which has anti-inflammatory properties. The diet includes foods such as oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel), vegetables, olive oil and canola oil. Inflammation is one of the causes of insulin resistance.
Green light to oats and barley
These two fibre-rich grains are a good choice for diabetics as they slow down the absorption of carbohydrates in the gut, improving the regulation of blood sugar levels and insulin requirements. According to a recent study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, barley and oats could reduce the risk of heart disease linked to "bad" cholesterol (LDL). Barley could be particularly beneficial to patients suffering from type 2 diabetes with high levels of "bad" cholesterol.
Herbs and spices can lower blood sugar levels
Diabetics can add flavour to dishes with turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, garlic and onion without putting their health at risk. In fact, these herbs and spices are actually capable of helping lower blood sugar levels, as well as making mealtimes tastier.