The month of November is National Diabetes Awareness Month! 37 million Americans or 1 in 10 people have diabetes. It has become a national epidemic. Diet and exercise are key components when it comes to diabetes management. The following nutrients can help to assist with better blood sugar control along with a healthful, balanced diet and exercise.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO): Improving insulin sensitivity is another health benefit linked with this monounsaturated fat, olive oil. Rich in antioxidants, olive oil can help reduce inflammation, decreasing damage caused by high blood sugar levels in the body. Studies have found that people who start their day with a breakfast rich in these plant-based fats have better insulin sensitivity throughout the day. How to eat: Drizzle EVOO over salads, vegetables, or side dishes made with whole grains, and swap out canola or vegetable oil with olive oil when cooking. Pro tip: For maximum benefits, researchers recommend not consuming extra virgin olive oil on its own but instead in the context of a balanced diet. Cinnamon: Rich in antioxidants, cinnamon is known for its medicinal healing properties. Cinnamon contains hydroxychalcone, which has been found to improve the body's ability to absorb sugar by stimulating insulin receptors. University of California–Davis researchers reported that about half to one teaspoon a day lowered fasting blood sugar levels in people with diabetes by an average of nine points. Please note that very high doses of cinnamon can be toxic. If you take a supplement, please consult with a registered dietitian and your physician. How to eat: Add a dash of cinnamon to your morning oatmeal or mix it with cottage cheese, apples, and almonds as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up snack! Pro tip: Not all cinnamon is created the same. While Cassia cinnamon is the more common because of availability and affordability, it's also higher in coumarin, which may be harmful when consumed in large amounts. The better cinnamon alternative is Ceylon, found in specialty stores. Turmeric: Turmeric research shows that spice can lower blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity. Turmeric can stimulate insulin creation, lowering blood sugar levels and reducing the symptoms of hyperglycemia. Turmeric also helps in reducing inflammation which contributes to insulin resistance. Research has shown that turmeric has anti-diabetic effects that help lower A1c, insulin resistance, and cholesterol. Because of this, adding turmeric to the diet can help prevent developing pre-diabetes or diabetes. How to eat: Turmeric smoothies, turmeric tea, turmeric stir-fry, or curry Pro tip: Before taking a turmeric supplement, talk with your healthcare team, especially if you are taking medication for diabetes. Protein: Protein is an essential nutrient for growth, maintenance, energy, and the body's chemical reactions. Protein is vital in making hormones like insulin and glucagon that regulate the body's blood sugar level. When pairing protein with a carbohydrate source, your body will take longer to convert carbs into glucose, reducing the chance of a blood sugar spike. In addition, having a protein source with carbs will keep you full. How to eat: Balance meals with small amounts of protein, including eggs, yogurt, beans, chicken, and fish. Pro tip: If you have any health conditions (such as kidney disease) that limit protein intake, talk with your doctor about how much protein you should consume. Fiber: Fiber can improve blood sugar control because the body does not absorb or break down the nutrient. Because fiber is not digested, it does not spike the body's blood sugar. Fiber is another nutrient that will make you feel fuller longer. Reading food labels is the best way to determine foods containing fiber. How to eat: Increase your intake of plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and beans. Pro tip: Start your day with steel-cut oats or classic rolled oats! Studies have found that eating oats and other fiber-rich foods for breakfast appears to help keep blood glucose under control throughout the day.
The Licensed and Registered dietitians at Simple Health Options have simple easy to follow nutritional solutions to get you on track to lowering your blood sugars. Have you been struggling with your diabetes? We would love to help! Call us at (772) 228-6778.