Figuring out the best foods to eat when you have diabetes can be tough. The main goal is to keep blood sugar levels well-controlled.
However, it’s also important to eat foods that help prevent diabetes complications like hypertension and heart disease.
Naturally low in fat and calories, packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre. They add flavor and variety to every meal. They help protect against heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers.
Everyone should eat at least five portions a day. Fresh, dried and canned in juice. Go for a rainbow of colours to get as wide a range of vitamins and minerals as possible.
Potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, chapatis, ugali and plantain all contain carbohydrate which is broken down into glucose and used by our cells as fuel. Better options of starchy foods such as whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta and basmati, brown rice contain more fibre which helps keep your digestive system working well. They are generally more slowly absorbed (that is, they have a lower glycemic index), keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
Try to include some starchy foods every day.
They are high in protein which helps in building and replacing muscles. They contain minerals such as iron, which is vital for producing red blood cells. Oily fish provide omega-3, which help protect the heart. Beans, pulses and soya are also good sources of protein.
Aim to have some food from this group every day with at least 1-2 portions of fish a week
Milk, cheese and yoghurt contain calcium which is vital for strong bones and teeth and are also good sources of protein. Some dairy foods are high in saturated fat hence choose from the lower fat alternatives. Semi skimmed milk contains more calcium than whole milk. Aim to have some dairy everyday but do not overdo it.
You can enjoy foods from this group as an occasional treat in a balanced diet but remember that sugary foods and drinks will add extra calories and sugary drinks will raise blood glucose, so opt for light and low calorie alternatives or choose water, its calorie free. Fat is high in calories so try to reduce the amount you use in cooking. Remember to use unsaturated oils such as sunflower oil, olive oil or coconut oil as these types are better for your heart.
Too much salt can make you more at risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Processed foods can be very high in salt. Try cooking more at home where you can control the amount of salt you use.
Drink enough amounts of fresh clean water daily, at least 8 glasses every day.
Other foods include:
Note; physical activity is very important as it also helps to lose weight and manage a healthy weight. Also helps increase insulin sensitivity to help keep the blood sugar in control.