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Nourishing Your Body: A Guide to Eating Well with Diabetes

by IBD Medical on March 25, 2024

Maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet is paramount for individuals managing diabetes. Embracing a mindful approach to food choices, incorporating the Diabetes Plate Method, emphasising non-starchy vegetables, optimising protein intake, managing fruits and fats, and incorporating diabetes superfoods are key elements in crafting a healthful and satisfying diet.

  1. Optimizing Protein Intake: Protein is crucial for satiety, muscle building/maintenance, and blood sugar management because it maintains insulin sensitivity. Choose protein sources like red meat, poultry, pork, fatty fish (like salmon/tuna), and dairy milk/yoghurt for the most optimised nutrient content. Alternatively, you can go for sources like tofu and legumes, which still provide a protein source, although not as nutrient-dense per serving. Balancing protein intake throughout the day helps stabilize blood sugar levels and supports overall health. 
  1. Healthy fats: Healthy fats play a role in heart health, an essential consideration for individuals with diabetes. The most important fats to include in your diet are Omega-3 fats, as the body does not produce these and are essential in the diet! The best sources of Omega 3 fats are fatty fish (like salmon/mackerel/tuna), grass-fed/finished beef, chia seeds, flax seeds and walnuts. Other unsaturated fats, such as avocados and almonds, are fantastic options. When it comes to oils/fats to cook with, pure virgin olive oil, butter/ghee or tallow are the best options for your health as they are the least processed and chemically altered.  
  1. Vegetables: Non-starchy vegetables are rich in nutrients and low in carbohydrates, making them ideal choices for individuals with diabetes or anyone wanting to optimise their nutrition. The fibre in vegetables helps keep you full and aid in digestion, which is extremely important for your overall health, hormones and blood sugar management. Incorporate a variety of colourful vegetables such as leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and zucchini to add flavour and essential vitamins to your meals. This doesn’t mean you should avoid other vegetables, including starchy vegetables - so feel free to enjoy those too!
  1. Navigating Fruits: While fruits contain natural sugars, they also offer essential vitamins and fibre. Moderation is key when including fruits in your diet. Opt for whole fruits instead of juices and spread fruit consumption throughout the day to minimize blood sugar spikes. Learning to bolus for fruits can take time, so be patient and persistent as you work it out. 
  1. Don’t demonise carbs: While carbs aren’t technically an essential part of your diet (other than treating low blood sugar), there is no need to demonise them or cut them out completely! You can take a balanced approach to eating carbs that allows you to enjoy your favourite foods while still maintaining your health and keeping your blood sugars under control. Learning to carb count effectively is a big part of this.
  1. Meal Planning and Regularity: Consistency in meal timing contributes to blood sugar stability. Plan meals and snacks, incorporating a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Avoid skipping meals to prevent erratic blood sugar levels.
  1. Hydration is Key: Staying well-hydrated is crucial for overall health and can help regulate blood sugar levels. Opt for water first and foremost. Herbal teas are also a great option, but you can enjoy other beverages occasionally. 

Eating well with diabetes is not about deprivation but about making informed and mindful choices that nourish the body and support overall health. Adequate protein intake and healthy fats, including various vegetables and fruits alongside other carbs in moderation, offer a holistic approach to crafting a balanced and satisfying diet. Always consult healthcare professionals, registered dietitians, or nutritionists for personalised advice tailored to your health needs. By embracing these tips, individuals can foster a positive relationship with food, optimise blood sugar management, and lay the foundation for long-term well-being.

 

Diabetes nutritionist | Glucology | Diabetes Shop Online
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