Diabetes is a debilitating disease that affects an estimated 3.8 million people in the UK, a figure that has more than doubled since 1996 (Diabetes Prevalence Model by Public Health England, 2016). This represents roughly 9% of the (adult) population. According to the same model, 90% of all cases are type 2 diabetes which is a manageable disease. The chances of getting this type of diabetes increases with certain risk factors such as age, weight, family history and ethnicity. It is a disease that can be prevented when lifestyle changes are applied. Diet management is important to avert diabetes and eating superfoods can help control sugar levels.
Breaking Down Sugars
When a person has type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce adequate levels of insulin to break down sugars. Controlling blood sugar levels, therefore, is important. In addition to being active, losing weight and taking medication to keep blood glucose on target, you can also make specific diet changes. You may choose what and how much to eat.
Eating foods that are low on the glycaemic index (GI) can help sufferers control blood sugar levels. The GI is an indicator of how quickly foods can raise blood glucose levels. Foods that have a low GI will release glucose slowly, which helps in weight loss. More importantly, it will help keep blood sugar levels under control.
Foods that Are Good for Diabetes
There are several food groups that are low on the GI scale and can help type 2 diabetes sufferers. These are:
- Nuts and Seeds (Walnuts, Flaxseed, Peanuts, Cashews)
In general, nuts are great sources of healthy fats and fight hunger pangs. They also have low GI scores ranging from 27 for cashews and 7 for peanuts. Studies also show that consuming nuts on a regular basis reduces the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular problems (Lovejoy, 2005).
Berries are brilliant sources of vitamin C and fibre. In addition, they have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They also lower the risks of getting heart disease or cancer. Strawberries, goji berries, blackberries and blueberries are good choices for people affected by diabetes.
- Non-Starchy Vegetables
Artichokes, broccoli and asparagus are examples of non-starchy veggies with fewer carbohydrates. They are also low in calories and can satisfy hunger. Moreover, non-starchy vegetables contain abundant minerals, vitamins (C, A and K) and fibre for a balanced diet. Diabetics can eat as much of non-starchy vegetables without fear of overdosing on carbohydrates.