Eating Your Way to Good Health, Longer Life, and Fewer Aches and Pains
Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States and doubles the risk of heart attack and stroke for those affected. There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 is often diagnosed in early age when it becomes apparent that the body is not properly producing insulin. Type 2 is often diagnosed as a lifestyle disease, and the proper food choices can prevent, control, or even reverse insulin resistance and diabetes.
There is a lot of misinformation out there concerning Type 2 diabetes. Often people think that it is solely genetic, but often this disease can be avoided or managed with proper diet. Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet can be difficult in a country where convenient, affordable food is laden with sugar, fat, and salt. More often than not, both heads of the household are employed full-time, and preparing wholesome, nutritious food can be time-consuming. But don’t abandon hope, even if you feel you have minimal skills in the kitchen. A commitment to good health starts with delicious, nutritious meals. Foods that fall low on the glycemic index and are high in nutrients are optimal for those suffering from diabetes, and for humans in general.
The Five Best Foods for Preventing and Reversing Diabetes
- Green vegetables: The most important food for any human being. Regular intake of dark green vegetables like kale, broccoli, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, celery, spinach, green beans, and peas are all prime candidates. Increased consumption of green vegetables have been associated with a 14% decrease in Type 2 patients. Green vegetables have also shown to produce a 9% decrease in the risk of disease.
- Non-starchy vegetables: Mushrooms, onions, garlic, eggplant, peppers, and the like have almost non-existent effects on blood glucose and are packed with fiber and phytonutrients.
- Beans, lentils & legumes: These foods are an ideal source for carbohydrates as they register low on the glycemic index due to moderate protein and abundant fiber.
- Nuts and seeds: Another low-glycemic source of food, nuts and seeds promote weight loss and have anti-inflammatory effects that may prevent the development of insulin resistance. A recent Nurse’s Health Study showed a 27% reduced risk of diabetes with five servings a week.
- Fresh fruit: Rich in fiber and antioxidants, three servings a day are associated with 18% decrease in the risk of diabetes.
The Proposed 2015 United States Dietary Guidelines
Every five years, the government releases the dietary guidelines for Americans. The largest change for 2015 places leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables firmly as the foundation for a healthy diet.
The other important emphasis is on the idea that “one diet does not fit all.” Restricting yourself to a bland, boring routine of food you don’t like is not the way to enjoy your life and is sure to lose momentum fast. If you like bacon double cheeseburgers, you can enjoy one on occasion, but that sort of food is better enjoyed on Independence Day, rather than for lunch twice a week. Shift your thinking to enjoying special treats as an experience rather than a reward for deprivation. Have faith, you will eventually be satisfied with less.
On the same note, once you wean yourself from sugar, you will not miss it either. Sugar used to be expensive and difficult to come by, so eating a sweet was reserved for celebration or a Sunday morning treat. Now sugary treats are much cheaper, more readily available, and harder to resist. Fruit satisfies a sweet tooth and has vitamins and fiber that your body needs. That is not to say you will never enjoy a chocolate bar or an apple pie again; as with those bacon double cheeseburgers, enjoy your favorites once in a while.
Start visualizing how processed food is made. If it came from a factory, it most likely is not good for you. Stick with the outside perimeter of the grocery store for everyday shopping.
Benefits of the DASH Diet for Overall Health
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Hypertension is also known as high-blood pressure. The DASH diet can help you lower your blood pressure, lose weight, and control diabetes. Here are the basic guidelines:
- Eat plenty of fruits and veggies.
- Eat whole grains rather than refined, like quinoa, brown rice and whole wheat couscous.
- Aim for a few servings of dairy daily. There are debates over whether low-fat or full-fat dairy is best, but the consistent advice is to avoid milk and yogurt with excessive amounts of sugar or cheeses and butter with high-sodium levels.
- Eat modest amounts of lean protein, especially poultry and fish.
- Source healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil.
- Limit your sodium intake from 1,500 to 2300 milligrams a day, roughly a teaspoon at most.
- Limit your intake of sugar. Britain’s National Health Service recommends no more than 30 grams a day, about 6 teaspoons. This sounds manageable, but consider that there are 33 grams of sugar in one twelve ounce can of Coca-Cola.
Brookfield Holistic Health Practitioners Offer Nutrition Counseling for Healthier Living
While reading diet tips online may give you a basic idea of how to change your eating habits, our holistic nutritionists will evaluate your unique situation and health to create a personalized plan. Talk to our nutritional coaches if you have or are at risk for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, or any other nutritional problems.