Type 2 diabetes has become an increasingly growing problem for countries across the world. As more people become overweight and obese, consume unhealthy diets high in sugar, fat and salt, and fail to get enough physical exercise, there is an increased risk of becoming pre-diabetic and diabetic when older. Although easily preventable, type 2 diabetes accounts for over 90% of diagnosed diabetic cases in the U.S., with a tenth of all adults believed to be a sufferer. Amongst seniors this statistic grows to 25%.
A very important aspect of stabilizing this condition when diagnosed, and when pre-diabetic, is to manage diet. Generally, a portion controlled healthy balanced diet is very important and will go along way I making this condition easier to handle. Here are a few dietary guidelines to support this effort.
- Do not skip meals – even if you are trying to lose weight to help in alleviating the condition, you must ensure that you eat regular meals. Skipping meals will cause drastic fluctuations in your blood sugar and appetite.
- Pick your starches wisely – starchy foods are important in providing you with energy so you have to include them in your diet. Try to stick to those that have a lower glycemic index and will allow for loser absorption. Go for varied choices like sweet potato, brown rice, grainy breads, porridge oats and bran cereal. High fiber choices are great for encouraging healthy bowel movements.
- Choose good fats – a high fat diet can increase your blood cholesterol and put you at increased risk for problems like coronary heart disease and stroke. Your body does however need fat, so stick to healthy choices. Limit your intake of saturated fats, and seek out unsaturated options. Some good sources of this include olive oil, rapeseed oil, avocado and nuts. Also pick low fat foods like fish instead of red meat, low fat yoghurt and milk rather than the full fat versions, and avoid processed foods. You can also limit your fat intake by choosing healthier cooking options like grilling, steaming and baking over deep-frying and sautéing with oil.
- Boost your fruit and vegetable intake – rule of thumb is to ensure you consume a minimum of five a day. That means five portions of fruit and vegetables through the day. This will boost your intake of vitamins, minerals and fiber. To make things interesting try to pick brightly colored and varied choices. Making them a part of your snacking will also help ensure your blood sugar levels are regulated through the day. Always opt for fresh fruit and vegetables, rather than canned options that came with higher sodium and sugar levels.
- Limit sugar consumption – sugar tends to cause blood sugar levels to spike and can lead to a diabetic attack. It is important to monitor your sugar intake and avoid situations where you have an unnaturally high spike. The biggest culprit tends to be refined sugar and other processed foods like ice cream and sodas. Aim for low sugar foods and drinks, and even then consume in limited quantity. Be sure to read the labels on packaged foods to ensure you know what you are putting into your body.