Do you suffer from Diabetes or are you worried that you may get it in the future. The number of people suffering with diabetes is over 100 million.
Diabetes can be treated and avoided altogether with proper diet, physical activity and a bit of general knowledge on the subject.
The complications from diabetes can be severe and you should do everything necessary to prevent it happening to you and your family. Find out what is the best diet to prevent diabetes.
Lifestyle changes can seem daunting, but when it comes to your health nothing is more important. It only takes a little effort to eat good nutritious food and incorporate some physical activity in to your daily routine. The rewards you will receive in return are immeasurable.
What is Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the body cannot produce insulin or the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.
Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar (glucose), it is produced by the pancreas. Our bodies cells are fulled by glucose, and insulin acts like a key to allow glucose from the blood to enter the cells.
There are two main types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2, both are serious conditions.
Type 1 diabetes usually occurs early in life, the pancreas stops producing insulin which means the treatment required will be daily injections of insulin. Type 1 diabetes is non reversible.
Type 2 diabetes typically occurs because the body is insulin resistant, and requires more insulin than usual. The pancreas produces more insulin but if the cells do not respond to this insulin, then the glucose remains in the blood resulting in high blood glucose levels which is harmful to the body.
How Do You Get Diabetes
When we eat the wrong kind of food like high GI (glycemic index) food, it raises our blood sugar to rapidly, in response our body tries to deal with this by producing excess insulin from the pancreas.
Here is a list of some food that is a major risk factor for diabetes
- Red and processed meat
- Fried food
- Refined grains
- Trans fats
- Whole eggs
Red and Processed Meat
Many studies have shown that high meat consumption significantly raises your chances of getting diabetes, with an even higher risk form processed meat. Many people believe that its just sugar and sugary foods that cause diabetes, therefore not realizing that meat has a major role to play in contracting diabetes.
Greasy fried foods will lead to weight gain which is a driver of diabetes, also, fried foods will raise your blood sugar too high too rapidly which puts demands on your body for more insulin. More insulin produced means more weight on your body and so the cycle continues. Excess weight promotes insulin resistance and is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Individuals who are overweight or obese are at high risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta and rice have had the fiber removed, which means they will raise blood glucose levels much faster and higher than whole grain foods. Studies have shown that people who consume refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta and white rice will have a much greater risk of being diagnosed with diabetes.
Trans fats are found in foods like, cakes, biscuits, crackers and pies, fried foods such as, french fries, doughnuts, and chicken. Trans fats reduces insulin sensitivity which elevates insulin levels and increases your chances of getting diabetes. In addition, trans fats is a high risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which will cause more complications as diabetes accelerates cardiovascular disease.
Studies have shown that diabetics who eat one egg a day or more have a five fold risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Eating five or more eggs a week has reported an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes means elevated blood glucose levels, so avoiding foods that cause high glucose levels is wise. Foods like sweetened beverages that have been stripped of their fiber, sugary processed food like deserts will have the same effect.
Symptoms of Diabetes
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Frequent infections
Effects of diabetes
Heart Disease: Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (narrowing of the blood vessels).
Kidney Disease: Nephropathy is a disease of the kidneys caused by damage to the small blood vessels. If you have diabetes for a period, you may develop nephropathy.
Eye Damage: Diabetes increases the risk significantly of eye damage, such as developing cataracts and glaucoma, and may damage the blood vessels of the retina, leading to blindness.
Nerve Damage: More than half the people with diabetes end up with neuropathy, a condition that causes damage to the nerves which can result in weakness, numbness and pain usually in your hands and feet, but can effect other areas of the body.
Slow Healing: Your immune system will find it more difficult to fight infection with high blood glucose levels, which can lead to serious health conditions.
Prevention is better than the cure
How to prevent diabetes is all down to consuming a proper diet. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes are all we need for an optimum healthy diet. Green leafy veg are the most nutrient dense of all time, these foods contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals and should be consumed daily to not only help prevent diabetes, but diseases of all kinds. Nuts, seeds and legumes are powerful foods that are rich in protein and help build up your immune system by increasing good bacteria in your gut. Fruit is delicious and sweet, but it is not something you need to avoid if your diabetic, as the sugar in whole fruit is not the same as free sugar, the kind you need to avoid. Fruit contains many essential nutrients, such as potassium, dietary fiber, folate and vitamin C, aim to eat at least 3 – 4 fruits a day.
A diet containing Fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes is probably the healthiest diet on the planet, and is your best defense against any disease. It’s not only the duration we spend on this planet that’s important to us, but the quality of life we have during that time is of most importance. Having any ailment reduces that quality of life, and diabetes is no exception. As you can see diabetes can lead to so many other illnesses, it is important to do all in your power to avoid it, or reduce its effects if you have it. Following a plant based diet is your best defense to a healthier you.
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