5 foods to help manage diabetes (that are also delicious)
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, the first thing to remember is it’s not a death sentence.
While there is currently no cure for this chronic condition, you can live an enjoyable life by learning as much as you can (read our diabetes breakdown post here ) and effectively managing it.
One of the first and most important things you’ll need to address is your diet. You’ll want to ditch the high-sugar, high-fat, highly processed garbage and focus on eating plenty of whole, unprocessed foods: veggies, fruit and quality sources of protein.
Here are some specific food suggestions that may help you manage your diabetes – that also happen to be damn delicious.
Greek yogurt (that is, the natural full-fat stuff with no added sugar), appears to have some promising benefits for people living with diabetes.
Quality probiotic yoghurt comes complete with Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium cultures (the good bacteria guys that live in your gut). The science is young, but initial studies suggests probiotics could improve cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes, lower the risk of heart disease as well as reduce inflammation and increase insulin sensitivity (that is, your body needs less insulin to lower its blood sugar levels).
Try it: In the morning with some low-sugar muesli, berries and cinnamon, as a healthy snack sprinkled with a handful of nuts or dolloped on curries and stews.
Needing to satisfy your sweet tooth but worried about those blood sugar levels? Lakanto has your back.
Lakanto is made from monk fruit – a type of melon grown in the mountains of Southern China. Legend has it that Buddhist monks were the first to cultivate it (hence the name).
Monk fruit gets its sweetness from natural compounds called mogrosides. It's generally safe for people with diabetes because it doesn't increase blood sugar levels, has zero calories and zero carbs.
Beans will fill you up much like pasta or rice, but they’re much lower on the GI scale, which makes them a better choice for blood sugar regulation than their more starchy, refined mates.
Relatively high in complex carbohydrates, the body tends to digest them more slowly. They’re also a great source of plant-based protein.
One study identified the fibre in beans and other legumes among the fibre types associated with reducing risk for metabolic syndrome, which includes glucose disturbances and increased risk of diabetes.
Try it: baked with poached eggs for brekkie (homemade not Heinz), as the protein in a lunchtime salad or in a zesty Mexican stew.
It’s little secret that fatty fish is a boon for health. They’re brimming with omega-3 fatty acids, proven to keep the heart and brain in ship shape.
Fish high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (think salmon, mackerel, sardines or trout) may also help improve blood sugar control and blood lipids in people living with diabetes.
Try it: with poached eggs at breakfast time, as the protein in a lunchtime salad or roasted with greens for dinner.
Cinnamon doesn’t just add a delicious sugar-free sweetness to both sweet and savoury foods.
It’s also a powerful antioxidant and has been proven to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. A recent analysis also found that cinnamon may also lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Try it: sprinkled over morning oats, roast veggies, or as a sweet kick in a homemade curry.
Left untreated, diabetes can be life threatening, and everyone’s needs will be different when it comes to managing the condition. Be sure to regularly discuss your medication, diet and exercise strategies with your doctor to find a healthcare plan that works for you.