Thursday, March 13, 2008

Healthy Foods for Type 2 Diabetics

If you have type 2 diabetes, no doubt you know it is a serious disease that needs treatment. In addition to medications your doctor may want you to take, one of the most important things you can do as a type 2 diabetic is to follow a proper diet.

For most people, type 2 diabetes occurs because of a combination of lack of exercise and the wrong diet. The wrong diet can include too much food in general and too many calories consumed, but in particular, foods consumed that are high on the glycemic scale are of great concern. With type 2 diabetes, the body becomes unresponsive to its own insulin, which means the insulin does not work as efficiently as it once did and large amounts are needed to keep blood sugar levels down.

In addition to exercise and medications, diet must be adjusted to help keep blood sugar levels even. The most important foods to consider with type 2 diabetes are carbohydrates. Carbohydrates come in two basic forms. The first, refined carbohydrates, is a type of carbohydrate that causes blood sugar levels to rise rapidly. The second, complex carbohydrates burn much more slowly and keep blood sugar levels much more even.

One way to determine what types of foods should go into your diet if you're a type 2 diabetic is to choose foods that are low on the glycemic index. This means that these foods will cause less of a spike in blood sugar after a meal than those that have a high glycemic index. Among foods low on the glycemic index are most vegetables, beans and legumes. These are a healthy part of the diet not only because they digest slowly and keep blood sugar levels even, but they are very nutritious and also contain significant amounts of fiber, which can also help keep blood sugar levels even. These foods can also reduce certain types of cancer and other diseases.

If you're a type 2 diabetic, it's also likely that you have an unhealthy lipid profile. This means that the wrong types of fats are too high in your system, while the right types of fats are too low in your system. If you have too much of the wrong types of fats, you can have an increased risk of heart disease and circulation difficulties. By choosing healthy fats in moderation, such as the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and certain kinds of nuts, you will help improve your lipid profile and therefore help decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke, among other diseases.

In addition, avoid drinking alcohol; if you must, do so only very occasionally. Alcohol is a two-pronged evil when it comes to type 2 diabetes. First, it can affect your blood lipid profile negatively. Second, alcohol is a refined carbohydrate and can raise blood sugar levels significantly. If you must drink alcohol, do so very occasionally and eat healthy foods along with it when you do so, to slow down absorption rate.

Finally, minimize or eliminate refined sugars in your diet. There are many healthy sweeteners out there that can provide the sweetness you need without raising blood sugar levels at all. Again, if you must eat sweets, do so very occasionally and only with the express permission of your doctor.

Follow your doctor's orders, eat right and exercise, and it may be that you can bring your type 2 diabetes under control completely, so that you no longer have this problem.

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