Eating a balanced diet can have a significant impact on individuals who have type 2 diabetes. In fact, according to Michael Roizen, M.D., chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Center, "the vast majority of people with type 2 diabetes are able to reverse the complications of the disease" if they are willing to make some changes in their lifestyle. Eating healthy foods that help control blood sugar is an important lifestyle change that most diabetics must make.
Which Foods Are Best?
It is important to follow the directions of your doctor or nutritionist when choosing the foods that you eat, but you can include foods that are known to help control glucose levels. Eating these foods may help you avoid heart disease and eye problems that are common complications of diabetes.
Complex carbohydrates such as whole grain bread, brown rice and oatmeal are much better choices for diabetics than white bread and simple carbohydrates. This is because complex carbohydrates take longer to digest, and they tend to even out blood sugar levels. The opposite is true with simple carbohydrates.
When you eat a few cookies or a piece of cake made with white flour, your blood sugar level will spike, usually to a dangerous level. A study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that those who ate between 24 and 50 grams of high-fiber foods had great improvements in their glucose levels.
Legumes are another high-fiber food that slowly release sugar into your body, and this makes them an ideal food for diabetics. The type of fiber in legumes is soluble fiber, which digests slowly and does not raise sugar levels. Legumes are high in protein and low in calories, which is another bonus. You can choose from kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts and many other types of legumes.
Green, Leafy Vegetables
Spinach, collard greens and dark lettuce are also good additions to your diet because they can help control your blood glucose level. These vegetables are high in soluble fiber, another feature to look for when you want to eat foods that will control your sugar level. Vinegar has been shown to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics, so enjoy your salad with balsamic or red wine vinegar and a sprinkling of olive oil. Seeds and nuts are healthy additions to your diabetic diet as well. They add protein and omega-3 fatty acids that are good for keeping your triglycerides low.
Non-Starchy Fruits and Vegetables
If you are trying to lower your blood sugar level, add vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, green beans and other vegetables with a low starch content. Strawberries, pears, oranges and apples are also excellent choices that will help you control your blood sugar. After eating more of these healthy foods, you will have less craving for sweets and foods that cause your blood sugar to spike.