On the 14th of November each year, the world acknowledges World Diabetes Day. This international day focusses on raising awareness for the different forms of diabetes.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a health condition that occurs when your blood sugar is too high, and your body either does not make enough insulin (a hormone secreted by the pancreas to regulate blood sugar levels), or the insulin does not work the way that it should. Both of these types of diabetes causes various health problems.
There are three main types of diabetes according to the American National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases:
- Type 1 – when your body is no longer able to produce insulin
- Type 2 – characterised by insulin resistance
- Gestational diabetes – when hormones secreted during pregnancy lead to insulin resistance
The rise of diabetes cases
The number of diabetes cases, both here in South Africa and around the world, is on the rise.
Perhaps you are living with diabetes or you are at risk of developing diabetes. Hey, maybe you are on the right track and working hard to reduce any possible risks of developing the condition. Whatever your diabetes status is, the most important thing is being (and staying) informed about the condition.
Now, that’s not to say you need to become completely paranoid about every possible thing that Dr So-and-So in that magazine said could lead to diabetes. But when it comes to your health, it is always a good idea to take stock of your current lifestyle and look for ways to improve it.
And it all starts with your diet.
A healthy diet is essential to help you manage diabetes, so we’ve compiled a list of four of the best foods for diabetics.
The 4 best foods for diabetics
These good foods for diabetic people have been shown to support a diabetic diet and help them avoid complications associated with diabetes.
The health benefits of almonds are plenty, and aren’t just great for diabetics – we can all benefit from the good stuff hiding within these humble nuts.
However, almonds have been shown to contain nutrients that are really beneficial for diabetics in terms of their heart health.
In fact, a recent article explained why people living with diabetes should opt for almonds when they choose their snacks, specifically for their heart health.
Did you know?
Montagu CSSR almonds are now on special at your nearest Montagu store, so be sure to pop in this weekend and stock up: 1kg for R159.90.
2. Tree nuts
In addition to almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, shea nuts and walnuts fall within the tree nut group (also known as hard-shelled nuts).
A recent study conducted by the St Michael’s Hospital in Canada found that tree nuts were extremely effective in helping control blood sugar levels and reducing LCL (bad) cholesterol in participants suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Did you know?
This particular study suggested that eating 50g of raw, unsalted, dry-roasted tree nuts daily had benefits for regulating blood sugar levels.
3. Dried fruit
It has also been found that consuming dried fruit provides significantly higher levels of magnesium, which helps regulate blood sugar levels.
If you are diabetic, weight gain is one the biggest problems that you may face, which can be caused by insulin resistance, poor diet and a lack of physical exercise.
Dried fruit has been shown to help people manage their weight as it is high in energy, protein and helps reduce LCL (bad) cholesterol. According to recent health research, people who eat dried fruit have a higher energy intake than people who don’t, but they also have significantly lower waist circumferences and BMI’s.
Did you know?
Montagu dried mango strips and peeled peaches are now on special in stores nationwide. Dried mango strips: R29.90 for 100g, R69.90 for 250g and R139.90 for 1kg. Peeled peaches: R69.90 for 500g and R139.90 for 1kg.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is used as a sweetener.
Xylitol looks and tastes like sugar, but has fewer calories and doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. It’s a fantastic product that really makes a difference in the lives of those living with diabetes and those trying to reduce their risk.
A word to the wise though: it’s best to consume Xylitol in very small amounts at a time, as it has been known to cause flatulence and diarrhoea – so easy on your portion sizes!
Did you know?
We stock Xylitol at all our stores nationwide. We are a proud stockist of Xylitol from Health Connection Wholefoods, and it’s on special at selected stores: 1kg for R139.90.
Good to know: the not-so-sweet facts about diabetes prevalence in South Africa:
- According to the International Diabetes Federation of Africa there were 28 million cases of diabetes in South Africa in 2015 alone.
- In simpler terms, 7% of our population, between the ages of 20-79, suffered from some form of diabetes that year.
- 396 adults out of 1,000 adults suffer from diabetes but are undiagnosed.
So what’s the take-home message?
Well, it’s all about living a healthy lifestyle. We always encourage our readers to not take their health for granted. Once you have diabetes, you have it for life. But it can be prevented if you take good care of yourself. Luckily some of the best foods for diabetics can be found all under one roof – at your local Montagu store.
Wishing you a happy, healthy 2018!