What Should You Eat If You Have Diabetes?

by Danny Fernsby
food and glucose meter

Glucose plays a key role in your overall health and wellbeing. It serves as the primary source of energy for your muscle and tissue cells, and it also fuels your brain. However, if it is found in large amounts in your blood, it can lead to some serious health complications. Thus, you have to make sure that your blood glucose or sugar levels are within the normal range at all times.

What are the different types of diabetes?

There are several different types of diabetes, but the two most common ones are type 2 diabetes and type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is the most widespread type of diabetes, and it is a condition that occurs when your body is inefficiently metabolizing sugar. If you have it, your body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin or is unable to produce sufficient amounts of insulin to keep your glucose levels within the normal range.

On the other hand, type 1 diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin. Also called insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes, it commonly strikes children or adolescents and has no cure. If you have it, you have to take a lifelong treatment plan to manage your blood glucose levels and protect yourself against health problems.

What are the common signs and symptoms of diabetes?

Many people with type 2 diabetes do not manifest symptoms early on, while those with type 1 diabetes tend to experience symptoms as soon as they develop the disease. Below are examples of signs and symptoms that usually appear:

    • woman weight loss          ♦  Frequent urination
    •           ♦  Increased thirst
    •           ♦  Sudden and unexplained weight loss
    •           ♦  Extreme hunger
    •           ♦  Fatigue
    •           ♦  Slow-healing cuts, wounds, or sores
    •           ♦  Frequent skin or gum infections
    •           ♦  Blurred vision

What are normal blood sugar levels?

The normal blood sugar range varies, depending on a number of factors.

If you do not have diabetes:

    •           ♦  Fasting – between 80 milligrams and 100 milligrams per deciliter
    •           ♦  Less than 3 hours after eating – between 170 milligrams and 200 milligrams per deciliter
    •           ♦  3 hours after eating – between 120 milligrams and 140 milligrams per deciliter

If you are pre-diabetic:

    •           ♦  Fasting – between 101 milligrams and 125 milligrams per deciliter
    •           ♦  Less than 3 hours after eating – between 190 milligrams and 230 milligrams per deciliter
    •           ♦  3 hours after eating – between 140 milligrams and 160 milligrams per deciliter

If you are diabetic:

    •           ♦  Fasting – over 126 milligrams per deciliter
    •           ♦  Less than 3 hours after eating – between 220 milligrams and 300 milligrams per deciliter
    •           ♦  3 hours after eating – over 200 milligrams per deciliter

What foods are good for people with diabetes?

People with diabetes have to keep their blood sugar levels low so that they can lower their risk of complications. One way they can achieve that is by eating a healthy and nutritious diet. Below are highly recommended foods for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes:

  1. Spinach

Spinach is a green, leafy vegetable loaded with essential nutrients, including manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin b2, vitamin b6, vitamin e, vitamin c, calcium, and potassium. It is also low in calories. Several studies have found that it can help fight against breast cancer, colon cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, and skin problems. In addition, it can improve digestion and bowel function, and maintain blood glucose levels.

Simple spinach recipe – Sautéed spinach

♦  The ingredients needed are spinach, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and salt.

♦  To make it, wash the spinach, and remove the thick stems. Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add garlic, and sauté for one minute or until garlic turns light brown. Add spinach into the skillet, turning it over a few times to coat it with the garlic and olive oil. Leave the mixture to cook for about one minute. Turn the spinach a couple of times again, then leave to cook for another minute. Repeat two or three more times until spinach is completely wilted. Remove spinach from the skillet, and serve. Add salt to taste.

  1. Strawberries

fresh strawberriesStrawberries are sweet, juicy, and highly nutritious. They are rich in vitamin C, manganese, folate, potassium, and antioxidants, which are vital to cardiovascular health and blood glucose management. They are also a good source of simple sugars, such as sucrose, glucose, and fructose, and fiber. According to health experts, they have a glycemic index score of 40, which is considered low, meaning that they are safe to eat for people who have diabetes.

Simple strawberry recipe – Fruit salad

♦  The ingredients needed are fresh strawberries, pineapple, kiwifruit, honey, white vinegar, ground mustard, salt, canola oil, poppy seeds, and onion powder.

♦  To make it, put all the non-fruit ingredients in a large bowl. Let the dressing mixture sit for an hour. Then, add in the fruits — strawberries, pineapple, and kiwifruit, and toss to coat. Refrigerate and then serve.

  1. Salmon

Salmon is a fatty fish overflowing with essential vitamins and minerals that can lower your risk of several illnesses and diseases. It is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower blood pressure, prevent cancer and inflammation, and enhance cellular function. It also contains protein, which contributes to bone and muscle growth and development. Thanks to its high B vitamin content, it can support brain and nerve function, heart health, weight and blood sugar management, and digestion and metabolism too.

Simple salmon recipe – Garlic butter baked salmon

♦  The ingredients needed are salmon, garlic, butter, brown sugar, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.

♦  To make it, start by preparing the sauce by mixing the garlic, butter, brown sugar, rosemary, thyme, oregano in a large bowl. Place the salmon on a sheet pan. You may add broccoli, asparagus, green peas, or other vegetables on the sides. Pour the sauce over the salmon and veggies on the sheet pan. Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve.

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