For many people, a diet focused on prevention and treatment of diabetes can be vital in promoting good health and reducing the risk or symptoms of this disease afflicting over 20 million Americans. Fortunately, there are some foods known or widely thought to help fight diabetes.
A good, diabetes-fighting diet can be beneficial in combatting both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes—also known as juvenile-onset diabetes—is normally diagnosed during childhood or early adulthood. This is the type of diabetes many people have to deal with throughout their lives. Common symptoms include fatigue, thirst and hunger, frequent urination, and loss of feeling in the feet. People with Type 1 diabetes normally deal with their condition through daily injections and frequent monitoring. Sticking to a healthy diet is another important part of dealing with Type 1 diabetes, and foods we will look at below are believed to play a role in helping keep symptoms in check.
Type 2 diabetes—also known as adult-onset diabetes—often strikes people who do not even know they are at risk. Type 2 symptoms generally mirror Type 1 symptoms, but they often develop so gradually that many people do not even realize they are developing symptoms of diabetes. Regular screening is highly recommended for people who are overweight, people with a family history of diabetes, and people 65 and over—and remember, Medicare covers regular diabetes screenings for many people. Also important in preventing or treating Type 2 diabetes is a healthy diet centered on foods that can reduce risk and symptoms.
It is important to remember that diabetes is not simply a “self-contained” condition. Everyone should be aware that diabetes is believed to be linked to various other conditions, including hypertension, heart disease, obesity, kidney disease, eye problems, and even hearing loss.
In general terms, the American Diabetes Association recommends a diet with plenty of vegetables—especially non-starchy vegetables such as carrots, spinach, green beans, and broccoli. Fish is also recommended in a diet for fighting diabetes, along with nonfat dairy products and plenty of water.
But the recommendations don’t end there, and many people consider the following good foods to combat diabetes:
- Whole grains
Anyone who is diabetic, prediabetic, or at possible risk should avoid or limit highly refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, and most pasta. Healthier substitutes such as whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice are readily available. Substituting bran and other whole grain or high-fiber cereals for some of the sweeter, more refined varieties of cereal is also a good choice—especially if you go the extra mile and top off your cereal with berries and nuts. Sticking to healthier whole grains, which are digested more slowly than refined carbohydrates, reduces your body’s production of insulin and can help keep your glucose level low.
Since few foods are more versatile than the tomato, it’s very good news that this omnipresent dinner fruit—still a vegetable to many—can remain front and center on your daily menu. In fact, few foods would make a better choice—whether for overall health, diabetes prevention, or just all-around great taste and menu options. Why not start the day with a glass of tomato juice? For lunch, how about adding a few slices of tomato to that whole-wheat sandwich—and a bowl of tomato soup to wash it down with? For dinner, start with some tomato sauce to go with that whole wheat pasta, and the sky’s the limit.
Perhaps tea isn’t technically a food, but it goes well with just about any kind of food, and the health benefits of tea seem irrefutable. Tea is excellent hydrator and source of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. It is also believed to reduce effects of stress, which helps reduce the risk associated with various conditions, including diabetes. Research also suggests that consumption of green tea helps reduce the release of sugar into the bloodstream and is effective in minimizing symptoms associated with diabetes.
Fruit definitely should not be avoided simply because of its natural sugar. While it may be advisable for people who are diabetic or at risk to avoid drinking too much fruit juice—even if it is unsweetened—whole fruits generally contain enough fiber to prevent too much sugar from getting into the bloodstream too quickly. A diet including plenty of pears, apples, peaches, and especially citrus fruit and berries is highly recommended.
- Dessert—if you’re careful
Simply reducing the amounts of such ingredients as flour, sugar, and whole milk can ensure some of your favorite desserts stay on your menu regardless of diabetic concerns. While FoxNews reports that a recent study suggests dark chocolate may be effective in combatting Type 2 diabetes, it may be wiser to lean toward other dessert options—such as easy-to-make ice cream using substitute ingredients that will not put your health at further risk. If you love desserts, why not fight diabetes on your terms?
Of course, exercise regularly, and see your doctor if you have any concerns about diabetes. And remember, just as your doctor and a healthy diet can greatly reduce your risk of diabetes, Medicare supplement insurance can greatly reduce your risk of ever having to pay out of pocket to see your doctor or to get any tests or treatments he or she says you need. Contact MedicareMall to learn more about how a Medicare supplement plan is designed to protect your health and finances.
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