Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects the way the body treats sugar (glucose) and it develops when the body doesn’t produce enough of the hormone insulin. Our bodies use insulin to convert blood sugar into energy and if this doesn’t happen, blood sugar levels in the body become too high.
Looking after your health and wellbeing is very important if you have Type 2 Diabetes. A healthy diet can help stabilise blood sugar levels which will also protect your body from the long-term damage caused by the condition.
We are all familiar with the phrase ‘You are what you eat’ and as March is National Nutrition Month, this is a great opportunity to have a look at the best foods to incorporate into your diet to help you stay in control of blood sugar levels and care for your long-term health.
Diabetes UK advises that there is no such thing as a ‘diabetic diet’ or diabetic recipes, however an important part of managing diabetes is to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
Cooking from scratch and avoiding processed meals will give you greater control over what you eat. When you know exactly what you are putting into your body, you will become more mindful of your diet and how it affects your health overall.
Eat regular meals with healthy snack choices in between, not only will this stop you reaching for a quick fix when you suddenly find yourself feeling hungry, it will help to keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day.
Planning ahead and stocking up on the right ingredients will help you avoid unwise snack and meal choices, but what foods should you be putting in your shopping basket? Here are some of the best foods to help you to stay in control of your blood glucose levels.
Beans, pulses and legumes are low in fat and calories, and high in fibre and protein – a winning combination. Fibre slows the release of glucose into your blood stream and helps to prevent spikes in blood sugar. Shop for Chickpeas, Kidney beans, Green lentils and even Baked Beans (aim for baked beans with reduced salt and sugar where possible), these are a great addition to salads, stews and soups so they can be added to all kinds of meals. A staple ingredient for your food cupboard!
Fresh, frozen and canned fish that are high in Omega 3 and protein are a great choice for meal times. Protein helps your body to repair and maintain itself, and it won’t affect your blood sugar levels either. Try to eat two portions of oily fish per week – salmon, tuna (if it is tinned, go for tuna that is canned in spring water) and mackerel are all tasty, versatile and easy to prepare too.
Eat your greens! Particularly leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale and salad greens which are plentiful in fibre and Vitamin A. You can add leafy greens to almost any meal – even breakfast, when they can be incorporated into a super-healthy green smoothie. Here’s a great green smoothie recipe for you to try.
If you are looking for a quick savoury snack, avoid crisps or crackers and opt for raw, unsalted nuts instead. Raw nuts such as almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts are packed full of protein, fibre and healthy fats, so they are an excellent source of nutrients. Sprinkle them on salads or a bowl of low-fat yoghurt, or grab a handful as a tasty snack.
Staying hydrated is so important for our all-round health, and especially important for maintaining blood glucose throughout the day. It is common knowledge that the recommended amount to drink is 8-10 glasses of water per day but avoid drinking this all in one go and try to get into the habit of taking regular drinks instead. You don’t have to drink water, but try to avoid sugary drinks which will cause a spike in your sugar levels. Water can be interesting too! Make up a jug of infused water and keep it in your fridge – you can add all kind of ingredients to jazz up your H2O like lemon, lime, cucumber, mint or orange. We found some great ideas for infused waters here.
If you are struggling for ideas or inspiration, or you feel you need some guidance with managing your diet, the Diabetes UK Recipe Finder is a fantastic source of recipe information.
The key thing to remember when it comes to managing your blood glucose is to keep everything in moderation. Learn to understand which foods cause a spike in your glucose levels by monitoring your bloods regularly. You can do this with the help of the Kinetik Wellbeing Diabetes Care range. Our Blood Glucose Monitoring System offers easy, fast and discreet blood glucose testing and can be used either at home or on the go, it is compatible with our range of accessories which can also be purchased separately.
For an in depth guide on How To Manage Your Type 2 Diabetes With Diet see this blog by Jen Miller.