Diabetes is a medical condition that causes high blood sugar and occurs when there is a problem with insulin levels. While no cure for diabetes currently exists, there are plenty of measures to help reduce your risk of developing this disease. Believe it or not, the foods you eat can play a major role in preventing a diabetes diagnosis. Whether you have a family history of diabetes or currently have pre-diabetes (a precursor to diabetes), it’s never too late to start incorporating healthier food options into your diet. Here are a few foods that can help prevent the development of diabetes.
Fruit can help avoid insulin resistance
While many fruits are known to have high sugar content, certain ones, such as apples and berries, can actually help prevent diabetes. Apples are rich in quercetin. This is a plant pigment that helps the body secrete insulin more efficiently and avoid insulin resistance. When eating apples, remember to leave the skin on. The skin has six times more quercetin than the inner part of the apple. Thus, it provides even more benefits to protect against diabetes.
Other fruits like blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries have a low glycemic index which helps keep blood sugar steady. Not to mention, they are low in calories and carbohydrates. Also, berries contain fiber, helping you to feel full and curb hunger pangs. The more food you eat, the faster and higher your blood sugar rises. When you eat berries, you feel full for longer periods of time, so your body is able to maintain its blood sugar while eating less.
Yogurt can maintain blood sugar levels
If you’re a fan of yogurt, you’re in luck. Research shows that eating a serving of yogurt every day can reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 18 percent. Yogurt naturally contains probiotics, which make it easier for cells to use insulin to convert blood sugar into energy. And it’s also high in protein. Like berries, eating yogurt (especially Greek yogurt because it has more protein than regular yogurt) adds to satiety. Plus, it prevents large spikes in your blood sugar. Keep in mind that although yogurt contains natural sugars, it’s important to read nutrition labels to avoid varieties of with excess sugar.
For optimal diabetes prevention, stick to yogurts that have between 12 to 15 grams of carbohydrates. This helps keep blood sugar under control. For an easy breakfast or snack, mix berries and nuts into your yogurt. Not only will this add extra flavor, but the fat and fiber stabilize blood sugar.
Green vegetables are proven to reduce your diabetes risk
It’s no secret that vegetables are incredibly nutritious. But they’re especially essential for your diet when it comes to diabetes prevention. Green vegetables like spinach, asparagus, and kale are low in digestible carbs. Therefore, they’re blood-sugar-friendly! They’re also a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, which is known to reduce inflammation and blood sugar levels. Adding green leafy vegetables to your diet is a great way to maintain blood sugar levels. In fact, a study found that people who eat an extra one and a half servings of green leafy vegetables per day reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by 14 percent.
Less meat, less likely to develop diabetes
Several studies suggest that people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Whether you decide to cut meat out, or simply reduce the amount of meat you eat, you can help prevent diabetes by substituting meat with other plant-based, protein-rich foods. These include: chickpeas, bean pastas, lentils, and beans. These foods are low in saturated fat, which is important because foods high in saturated fat can increase insulin resistance. These foods also have a low glycemic index and a ton of fiber. This slows digestion so your blood sugar won’t rise as quickly.
Studies show that eating a cup of beans a day can reduce blood sugar. More importantly, whether you cut meat out of your diet entirely or substitute meat in just once a day, be sure to monitor your iron intake since most of our daily recommended amount comes from meat. In particular, women should strive for at least 32 mg of iron a day to make up for iron lost during menstrual cycles.
Preventing type 2 diabetes has much to do with diet and exercise. Those most at risk people are sedentary and take in too much sugar and the wrong types of carbohydrates. By making intentional dietary choices, you can help maintain healthy blood sugar, and avoid a life of insulin and the resulting complications.