Across the United States, more than 34 million people have diabetes, and an additional 88 million adults are considered prediabetic. Without treatment, diabetes can put you at risk for developing serious health complications, ranging from vision loss to heart and kidney disease.
Whether you have higher than normal blood sugar levels or those that qualify as diabetic, getting your numbers under control plays a key role in managing your condition. The good news is that adopting a healthy diet can help keep your blood sugar under control.
At Compass Mental Health & Wellness in Houston, our team provides patients with integrated psychiatric and family medicine services. Our whole-body approach helps patients understand how to manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes.
If you have high blood sugar, we recommend adopting these dietary strategies.
Eat the right carbs
While carbohydrates break down in the system as sugar during the digestive process, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid them all.
While you should avoid foods that are high in sugar — such as sugary sodas, processed foods, and baked goods — you can double down on healthy carbs, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. And the best part about fresh fruit is that it can satisfy your sweet tooth without putting your blood sugar at risk.
Our team can help you learn how to identify healthy types of carbohydrates and how to calculate the portions you’re eating to keep your blood sugar under control.
Pick the perfect protein
When you have diabetes, you have to eat right for your blood sugar and heart, because you have a higher chance of developing heart disease and stroke. That means avoiding proteins high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats. So, limit red meats, organ meats, and items like sausage and bacon.
Instead, choose heart-healthy proteins with more nutritional value:
- Fish and seafood, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines
- Poultry without the skin, such as chicken and turkey
- Plant-based proteins, such as tofu, beans, and lentils
- Game, such as rabbit, venison, duck, or pheasant
- Whole eggs, cottage cheese, or reduced-fat cheese
If you choose red meat, select the leanest options, such as T-bone, tenderloin, lamb, or veal.
Fill up on fiber
Fiber, which only comes from plant foods, is the indigestible parts in whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. That means that when you eat fiber, most of it passes through your digestive system without getting digested.
You may associate fiber with staying regular, but its benefits don’t stop there. It also gives you that full and satisfied feeling after eating. And, it even helps control blood sugar and reduce cholesterol.
The best sources of fiber come from:
- Whole grains, including whole-grain cereals, breads, and pastas
- Fruits and vegetables
- Beans and legumes
Most adults need between 25-30 grams of fiber daily for optimal health. We recommend increasing your fiber intake slowly to avoid stomach upset.
Use your plate as a guide
Now that you have a general idea of the foods to focus on, it’s time to learn how to fill your plate. But don’t worry — our approach makes it easy! Just divide your plate into three sections.
First, take half your plate and fill it with healthy, nonstarchy vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, beets, or spinach.
Now divide the remaining portion of your plate in half so two sections remain. Fill one of these areas with your protein, such as fish, skinless chicken, or tofu.
Finally, use the last area of your plate for a serving of whole grains or a starchy vegetable, such as brown rice or green peas.
To finish your meal, add a small serving of fruit or dairy along with plenty of water. You can also add small amounts of beneficial fats, such as avocados, nuts, or olive oil.
Would you like to learn more about the best foods to eat to help with your high blood sugar? Learn more by booking an appointment online or over the phone with Compass Mental Health & Wellness today.