This is a continuation of last week’s discussion about meal planning with type 2 diabetes. Some studies suggest that a diet rich in whole grains and high fibre food can reduce the risk of diabetes by 35-42%. Try to include the following foods in your diet as they help to stabilise your blood sugars and keep you fuller for longer:
Beans will raise your blood sugar levels slowly and over a long period of time. Where possible try to include high quality carbohydrates with protein rich beans (kidney, black, Lima, soy) as it’s an excellent combination to stabilise blood sugar levels and keep hunger at bay. Beans are also inexpensive, low in fat and very versatile. Bear in mind the sauces that are pre-mixed with beans (eg. Baked Beans) can be high in sugars so consume in moderation.
Porridge oats are an ideal breakfast as they are a natural mood booster and a fibre rich carbohydrate. Oats are also low GI (glycaemic index) foods meaning they release sugars into your blood stream over a longer period of time, keeping you fuller for a long time and regulating your sugar levels.
Combine fish with high quality carbohydrates such as vegetables, lentils, beans as this will keep your blood sugars from rising. Fish is also a great source of lean protein and contains very little fat; fats in fish are in the form of omega-3 fatty acids which is an essential fat, vital for development and functioning of the brain. The Omega-3 present in Salmon can help reduce the risk of heart disease, which is vital for an individual with diabetes whose risk of heart disease is already elevated. Oily fish like wild salmon, sardines and herring contain not only omega -3 but they also contain a healthy fat and protein combination which slows the body’s absorption of carbohydrates and this will help stabilise blood sugar levels.
An individual with type 2 diabetes should opt for low fat dairy across the board as this reduces the amount of saturated fats in the diet. Low – fat natural or Greek yoghurt contain both high quality carbohydrates and protein. It’s a brilliant food for preventing a peak in blood sugar level. Calcium rich foods are also known to be beneficial in preventing risks associated with type 2 diabetes. Watch out for hidden sugars in low fat dairy products; always read the label.
Almonds contain magnesium and monounsaturated fats. Magnesium is known the reduce risks of developing diabetes by about 33%, so if you already have diabetes type 2 including more magnesium rich foods is advisable. Include foods like pumpkin seed, spinach and of course your almonds.
Vegetables contain a huge number of essential vitamins, minerals and fibre. Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, peppers and mushrooms are high quality carbohydrates and keep you fuelled for a longer period of time. As they are low in calories and have a low impact on your blood sugar, they are a vital component of any diabetes food plan. Also if you are trying to lose weight this is one food group you can eat as much as you like.
An avocado is an excellent food to eat as it contains monounsaturated fats (considered one of the healthiest fats). A diet high in monounsaturated fats can improve insulin sensitivity and overall heart health. Avocado is a great alternative to mayonnaise in a sandwich – just mash up ¼ and then spread! It’s also great to bulk up a salad.
Aisling Murray has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and offers a one to one specialist nutrition service at Whelehans Pharmacy. Call Whelehans at 04493 34591 for an appointment. Aisling’s Nutriton Clinic costs only €10 per week.