How Eating More Plants Can Help You Control Your Diabetes
Believe it or not, what you eat is really important when it comes to controlling your diabetes. Eating a diet that’s full of fruits and vegetables can make your diabetes substantially more manageable.
According to this study, vegetarians had a substantially lower risk of developing diabetes than non-vegetarians. Now this doesn’t mean you have to eat 100% vegetarian to prevent or manage your diabetes, but it does mean that eating more fruits and veggies can really improve your chances of success.
In addition to diabetes management, fresh fruits and vegetables are generally high in fiber and pack a lot of nutrients. And since weight loss tends to be a pain point for people with diabetes, this can be helpful if you’re looking to lose a few pounds.
Step Away From Processed Foods
If you’re looking to manage your diabetes, you’ll want to step away from processed foods as much as possible. Processed foods are typically loaded with refined carbs that can really take a toll on your blood sugar levels. This means staying away from foods like white bread, white rice, pastries, sugary drinks, white pasta, cereals, and other foods with added sugar.
This doesn’t mean avoiding all grains. Whole grains are actually a good source of fiber, which can help regulate your blood sugar. Whole grains are made up of three parts: bran, germ, and endosperm. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer that is full of vitamins and minerals. The germ is the center portion that is full of antioxidants and healthy fats. The endosperm is the middle layer that is made up of mostly carbs and some protein. That’s why it’s important to look for the word “whole” in your ingredient list.
When whole grains are processed, the bran and germ are removed, along with their nutrients. This process essentially robs you of fiber, vitamins and minerals and leaves you with quickly-digested carbs and a small amount of protein. This can lead to pretty sharp spikes in your blood sugar, which is not what you want when you’re managing diabetes.
Eat More Plants (And More Fiber)
By incorporating a good fiber source at each meal and snack, you can help prevent sharp spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, which can ultimately help you control your diabetes. As an added bonus, eating a diet that’s rich in fiber can also promote weight loss and help relieve constipation. All good things, am I right?
Men should shoot for 38+ grams per day while women should be aiming for 25+ grams. Below is a list of high-fiber plant foods you should consider adding to your diet.
- Raspberries. 1 cup = 8 grams
- Avocado. 1 cup, sliced = 10 grams
- Oats. 1 cup = 8 grams
- Artichokes. 1 medium = 13 grams
- Lentils. 1 cup, cooked = 12 grams
- Black Beans. 1 cup, cooked = 15 grams
- Split Peas. 1 cup, cooked = 21 grams
- Popcorn. 4 cups, popped = 5 grams
- Almonds. 1 oz = 4 grams
- Chia Seeds. 1 oz = 10 grams
This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means. The ten foods I listed above are just to get you started! Ultimately you want to shoot for a variety of plant foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
The Bottom Line
What you eat is really important when it comes to controlling your diabetes. Eating a diet that’s full of fruits and vegetables can make your diabetes substantially more manageable. If you’re looking to manage your diabetes, you’ll want to step away from processed foods as much as possible. Processed foods can really take a toll on your blood sugar levels. By choosing whole grains instead, you increase your fiber, which can help regulate your blood sugar. By incorporating a good fiber source at each meal and snack, you can help prevent sharp spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, which can ultimately give you more energy and stabilize blood sugar. Diversity is important, try incorporating a variety of plant foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains to improve overall health!
If you are having trouble incorporating fruits and vegetables, set up a free session with Angela to learn more and make a plan!
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Angela Manderfeld, RD
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