November 14th is World Diabetes Day. Diabetes is one of the most common causes of disability around the world, and an estimated 463 million people cope with the illness. People who have diabetes can take steps to reduce their symptoms. Small lifestyle changes can help people with diabetes manage their blood glucose levels.
Foods with a low GI, or glycemic index, score can reduce blood pressure spikes. “High intake of red meat, sweets and fried foods, contribute to the increased the risk of insulin resistance,” but “consumption of fruits and vegetables may protect the development of T2DM [type 2 diabetes], as they are rich in nutrients, fiber and antioxidants which are considered as protective barrier against the disease,” researchers explain in an article in the International Journal of Health Sciences. Foods packed full of fiber and protein can keep you full without the simple sugars that raise your glucose level.
With diabetes, moderation is key. “No food item is strictly forbidden for people with type 2 diabetes. Healthful eating for people with diabetes is all about controlling portion size and preparing a careful balance of nutrients,” a nurse named Nicole Galan wrote for Medical News Today.
Before your next late-night snack attack, add some of these diabetes-friendly snacks to your shopping list. Even if you are not concerned about developing diabetes, you can still enjoy these foods high in fiber and protein.
Several medical studies have indicated that high-protein foods can improve blood glucose levels in people with and without diabetes. Protein can stimulate insulin release, which can help the body process simple carbohydrates. A high-protein diet can also keep you satisfied for longer, which can help you combat those cravings for chocolate cake.
When choosing protein-rich foods, remember to keep an eye on your salt and fat intake. For example, an egg or two a day may be a healthy part of your diet, but researchers have found that eating many eggs a day (especially if those eggs are fried or prepared with mayonnaise) can increase your cholesterol. Opt for nut butters, almonds, yogurts, and jerky sticks that have reduced sodium and sugar.
- Jerky sticks
- Nut butter
- Cheese made of part-skim milk
- Greek yogurt
While people with diabetes may think they need to avoid carbs, not all carbs are off the table. Fiber is a carbohydrate that prevents blood spikes, feeling full, and having regular bowel movements. Unlike some starches and simple sugars, though, fiber is not digestible and so doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels. Foods full of fiber pass through your digestive system and keep you feeling fuller for longer. In a medical study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, people with type 2 diabetes had lower cholesterol and healthier blood glucose levels after switching to a diet higher in fiber.
Pair raw veggies like celery and carrots with hummus or nut butter for a delicious snack. Pickled vegetables like kimchi, pickles, and sauerkraut can provide an extra dose of probiotics, but eat them in moderation if they are high in sodium.
- Apples or pears
- Kimchi, pickles, or sauerkraut
- Bell peppers
Quick, crunchy snacks
If you want a quick snack, air-popped popcorn is a yummy, lower-fat alternative to the butter-drenched microwave bags of kernels. Choosing whole wheat snacks is a simple switch that can promote a healthier diet.
- Whole-wheat crackers
- Homemade granola