Here's How A Mediterranean Diet Can Help You Manage Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most common health problems in the world today, and it’s likely that you know someone who has this condition. According to the World Health Organization, around 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, and the number of cases have been steadily rising over the past decades. Diabetes can affect physical health in various ways since it increases the risks of heart problems, nerve damage, kidney disease, eye damage, skin problems, and dementia, among others.

Managing diabetes is essential to reduce the risk of complications and have a better quality of life. If you’ve been recently diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll need to switch to a healthier meal plan that includes plant-based food and good fats such as the Mediterranean diet, which is an important element of Italian food. Not only is it complete and perfectly balanced, but there’s evidence that it can be beneficial to manage and even decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. Here’s how to manage your health condition with the Mediterranean diet, and all the ways it can improve your wellbeing.

Preventing Diabetes with the Mediterranean Diet

It has long been proven that diabetes can run in families, so if one or both of your parents has this health condition, there’s a good chance that you’ll also have it at some point in your life. However, experts have found that people can delay or even prevent type 2 diabetes by changing the way they eat. A new research, which was published in the journal PLOS Medicine, reveals that adherence to the Mediterranean diet can reduce a person’s risk of developing diabetes by 11 percent.

Since inflammation in the body can trigger the development of type 2 diabetes, preventing inflammation from developing in the first place may lower your chances of having this health condition. The good news is that the Mediterranean diet has all the components of an anti-inflammatory diet as it’s high in nutrients, healthy fats, and omega-3s. All the more reason for you to start eating the Italian way, if you want to prevent spikes in your glucose levels which may lead to diabetes.

What to Eat to Prevent and Manage Diabetes

Following a Mediterranean diet isn’t difficult. Ask any Italian, and they’ll tell you that it’s all about adding more fresh produce, grains, and healthy fats to your meals, and cutting back on processed foods and sweets. Consume more vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and fish. Also, don’t skimp on the extra virgin olive oil since it’s high in antioxidants and monounsaturated fat, which can help to control blood sugar levels. An Italian study found that adding EVOO to food can reduce the glycemic index of meals to protect against diabetes, so keep on using extra virgin olive oil as a dressing for vegetable salads, as a base for pasta sauce (use whole wheat pasta to avoid blood sugar spikes), or use it as a dip for whole wheat bread.

What About Wine and Other Beverages?

Wine is an essential part of Italian food culture, and it can be part of a healthy diet as long as you drink it the Mediterranean way. This means choosing red wine since it has health benefits like antioxidants and polyphenols, and drinking just one glass of wine a day with food. For people with diabetes, health experts say that drinking red wine is absolutely fine, as long as you don’t have any other medical condition that makes consuming alcohol unsafe. A study has shown that drinking red wine can lower post-meal blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance, but it’s essential to drink it the Mediterranean way for best results.

As for other beverages, anything that’s high in sugar or fats is a definite no-no. Skip the sugary sodas, artificial fruit juices, or smoothies overloaded with whipped cream and sweetener. Instead, drink herbal tea, or have some still or sparkling water flavoured with slices of fresh fruits. You can also have freshly squeezed fruit juice, or sugar-free mocktails. Steer clear of beer and spirits, and consume caffeine in moderation. Instead of buying 16-ounce coffees from coffeehouse chains, drink it the Mediterranean way, which means having an espresso in a small cup or a demitasse. If you prefer sweetened coffee, use healthy sugar alternatives such as stevia or honey, and swap out the cream for coconut milk or a bit of almond milk.

Making better food choices can help you manage diabetes. Consider following a Mediterranean diet for improved health, and talk to your doctor to know more about this eating plan and how it can help you to fight diabetes.

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