Have you or someone close to you been diagnosed with diabetes?
Are you looking for some good diet options that can work well for those who have diabetes?
Do you want to know whether eating a plant based diet can be beneficial if you have diabetes?
For those who have diabetes, there can be various food restrictions that you need to follow and need to keep in mind in order to stay healthy. However, if you are on a plant based diet, or have been thinking of starting one, you need to first understand whether or not it is safe to eat even when you have diabetes.
In this article you will get more details about diabetes and the effects that eating a plant based diet can have on it. You can read about the different types of diabetes, the symptoms and the food types that are best to eat if you have been diagnosed with diabetes. We also take a look at whether or not you can eat a plant based diet when you have diabetes, so make sure you read it all and find out about the condition, as well as the diet that can best work for you.
JUMP TO A SECTION:
Can a plant-based diet be GOOD for diabetics?
There is good news if you want to have only a plant based diet when you have diabetes.
- Studies have shown that being on a plant based diet can actually reduce your risk factor of diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes and help to manage it better.
- It also goes on to suggest that being on a plant based diet can reduce the risk of macrovascular and microvascular complications that are related to diabetes.
- Having a plant based diet that includes a mix of legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds can lower the rate of hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular problems and hyperlipidemia and overall reduce the risk of diabetes and manage it better.
Can a plant-based diet *REVERSE* diabetes?
As per studies, having a plant based diet that does not include refined foods and animal products can be very effective in managing and to some extent, even reversing diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes.
Can a plant-based diet cause more harm than good if you have diabetes?
Taking a plant-based diet can help to manage your diabetes in a better way. However, it is important that you also include healthy lifestyle habits and exercise in your daily routine. Also, before you start a diet, make sure to consult with your doctor about the same.
What type of diet is best for people who have diabetes?
Your doctor and your nutritionist will together review your overall health and give you a diet plan that can work best for you. However, here are a few food items that are usually considered good if you have diabetes:
- Non-starchy vegetables such as carrots, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, tomatoes and peppers.
- Starchy vegetables such as green peas, corn and potatoes.
- Fruits such as melon, berries, apples, grapes, bananas and oranges.
- Whole grains such as oats, wheat, quinoa and barley.
- Protein sources such as nuts, seeds and tofu.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which the blood glucose or blood sugar levels in your system are too high. When you eat, your body breaks up the food and converts it to blood glucose, which becomes the main source of energy for your body to carry out different tasks. Also, your pancreas helps to create a hormone known as insulin.
When you eat, the insulin helps the glucose from the food to reach the cells where it can be used for energy. In some cases, your body is not able to produce enough amounts of insulin, or is not able to produce any insulin at all. Or, it is also possible that even though your body is making enough amounts of insulin, it is not being utilized in the proper way.
When any of this happens, the glucose from the food that you eat is not utilized properly, which means that it remains in your blood and is not able to reach the cells.
This condition is referred to as diabetes.
What are the different types of diabetes?
There are mainly two types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes
In addition, there are also conditions that are known as pre-diabetes and gestational diabetes. Here is a look at what these types of diabetes mean.
Type 1 diabetes:
- Sometimes, your body’s immune system, instead of fighting only infection, also starts attacking and destroying certain cells in the body.
- In this way, the immune system also destroys the cells in the pancreas that help to make insulin.
- When your body is not able to produce insulin, the glucose that you get from food is not able to reach the cells and instead gets stored in the blood.
- Over time, the level of glucose in your blood gets higher than the normal levels.
- This condition is referred to as type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes:
- Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes that affects people.
- Your body usually produces the hormone insulin through the pancreas, which helps to transfer the glucose from food to different cells in the body.
- This glucose is then used up as energy.
- However, in some cases, your body is not able to produce enough amounts of insulin, or the insulin that it produces is not used up in the right way.
- As a result, your cells do not receive the amount of glucose that they require.
- This condition is referred to as type 2 diabetes.
In addition, some people are also diagnosed with pre-diabetes, or gestational diabetes.
- Pre-diabetes is the condition where your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but are not high enough to be categorized as diabetes. Pre-diabetes can often lead to type 2 diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes is the type of diabetes that happens only during pregnancy. While in some cases it gets resolved once the baby is born, in some cases, it can lead to type 2 diabetes.
What can cause diabetes?
- Till date, there are no clear causes that lead to type 1 diabetes.
- One of the most common causes of type 2 diabetes is lack of exercise and obesity.
- Those who are overweight often suffer from insulin resistance, which can then lead to type 2 diabetes.
- Having a family history of diabetes can also make you prone to develop type 2 diabetes.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Some of the most common symptoms of diabetes are:
- Increased thirst levels
- Frequent urinating
- Blurry vision
- Excessive fatigue and tiredness
- Losing weight without any reason
- Tingling or numb sensation in hands and feet
- Sores taking longer to heal
What role does diet have in managing diabetes?
What you eat can have a major impact on not only your chances of developing diabetes, but also of managing it.
- The foods that you eat, how much you eat and when you eat can help manage your diabetes better.
- Eating smaller meals through the day can actually help you better manage diabetes.
- Also, including a good mix of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet can have a positive impact on your health.