Are you a diabetic? Perhaps at risk of becoming one? A plant based diet has been proven to be an effective prevention tool as well as an ideal treatment for those who have been diagnosed. Even if you don’t fall into either of these categories, adopting a plant-based diet can help manage and prevent diabetes. Research shows that by eating more vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds, you can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
A plant-based diet also lowers blood sugar levels in people who have pre-diabetes or are already diabetic. Those following a vegan diet have even seen an increase in their HDL (good) cholesterol while reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol. In this blog post we cover all the need-to-know information on how to eat and live well with diabetes through a plant-based diet!
What is a Plant Based Diet?
A plant based diet is a diet that is rich in plants. These include vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts and seeds. A plant-based diet is also known as a vegetarian diet. However, not all vegetarian diets are also plant-based diets as some include dairy or eggs as well. Being plant-based means that you eat food that comes directly from the ground (or sea). Plant-based foods are rich in nutrients, fiber and antioxidants and low in fat and sodium. These foods can help to lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. A plant-based diet is a great way to improve your health, lose weight and prevent disease.
Diabetes and the Importance of Healthy Eating
It is estimated that over 400 million people worldwide have diabetes. While there are several types, the most common type is type 2 diabetes. It is believed that the number of people diagnosed with diabetes will rise to 552 million by 2030. Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin or does not properly use the insulin it does produce. A diet high in sugar or refined carbohydrates can contribute to the onset of diabetes.
Although the exact cause of diabetes is unknown, it is believed that a combination of genetics, environment and lifestyle contributes to the development of diabetes. On a global scale, the growing population of older adults, changes in lifestyle and diet and an increase in obesity are contributing to an increase in diabetes rates. Diabetics should eat a diet that is low in fat, sugar, salt and alcohol. They should also aim to increase their fiber intake to help with blood sugar control.
Benefits of a Plant Based Diet for Diabetics
A plant-based diet is rich in fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. These nutrients can have a positive impact on your health and can help to prevent and manage diabetes. Several studies have shown that vegetarian diets can reduce the risk of diabetes, improve blood sugar control and reduce the need for medication. A plant-based diet has been shown to lead to a 32% reduction in the risk of diabetes in just one year. The following benefits have been observed in those following a plant-based diet.
- A reduction in the risk of diabetes
Plant-based diets rich in fiber can help to lower blood sugar and prevent diabetes by promoting a slower release of sugar into the bloodstream.
- A reduction in the need for medication and diabetes complications
Studies have shown that a plant-based diet can reduce the need for medication.
A reduction in bad cholesterol and an increase in good cholesterol
A plant-based diet is good for heart health. It promotes the good cholesterol that your heart needs while reducing the bad cholesterol that clogs your arteries.
- A lower risk of cancer and a longer life
Diets rich in vegetables and fruits can help to prevent several types of cancer. They can also increase life expectancy.
How to Eat a Healthy and Balanced Plant Based Diet for Diabetes Prevention or Treatment
A healthy and balanced plant based diet for diabetes prevention or treatment should include vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Limit your intake of refined carbohydrates like white bread and white rice and steer clear of sugary drinks. If you suffer from diabetes, you will need to pay special attention to your fiber intake. You should aim to eat 25-34 grams of fiber per day, but if you are on medication, you should aim for 38 grams per day.
If you are eating a plant-based diet, fiber can be obtained from vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Good sources of fiber include broccoli, cabbage, carrots, peas, apples, pears, berries, raspberries, and figs. Additionally, you should be eating a variety of foods to ensure that you are obtaining the necessary nutrients and vitamins. Try to include a combination of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats at each meal.
How to Meal Plan as a Diabetic on a Plant-Based Diet
When following a plant based diet for diabetes prevention or treatment, you should aim to eat a variety of foods from all the food groups each day. However, you may find that it is challenging to meal plan. For those with diabetes, it can be particularly difficult to plan meals due to the fluctuations in blood sugar throughout the day. Examining your diet and discovering where you are falling short of your nutritional requirements can help you to make changes and meal plans to improve your diet and health.
Here are some tips for improving your diet and meal planning as a diabetic following a plant-based diet.
- Plan for fluctuations in blood sugar
Some foods have a more drastic impact on blood sugar than others. Focusing on eating foods that have a less drastic impact on blood sugar can help to reduce the fluctuations throughout the day. Avoid foods that have a drastic impact on blood sugar, such as candy, soda, and sweets.
- Choose foods that are rich in fiber and protein
Fiber is important for blood sugar control and protein has a positive impact on blood sugar. Plant-based foods are rich in both fiber and protein. Choose foods that are rich in fiber and protein while avoiding refined carbohydrates.
- Choose nutritious foods
Nutrient-dense foods are generally rich in vitamins and minerals and contain a low amount of fat. To make meal planning easier, it is best to choose several nutritious foods that can be eaten in a variety of ways.
A plant based diet can help to prevent and manage diabetes. It is also a great way to promote heart health, increase longevity and improve your overall health. A healthy and balanced plant-based diet for diabetes can be rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds and low in refined carbohydrates. It is important to plan for fluctuations in blood sugar and choose foods that are rich in fiber and protein. It can be challenging to meal plan when following a plant based diet for diabetes. However, by examining your diet and focusing on eating nutritious foods, you can improve your diet and meal plan effectively.