It wreaks havoc on the eyes, brain and heart. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 percent of the nearly 26 million cases of diabetes in the United States. The CDC predicts one out of three American adults will have type 2 diabetes, which strikes with added weight, by 2050. Adding, not taking away, a few key foods can help decrease your risk.
Vicki Shanta Retelny, national food & nutrition expert: “Small changes add up, and adding beneficial foods to your diet can play a role.”
Vicki Shanta Retelny’s message may be simple, but there’s hard science to back it up. If you want to test the theory, start by adding apples to your diet.
Vicki Shanta Retelny: “A recent study found people who ate five apples a week staved off type 2 diabetes by 23%. There are flavonoid compounds, plant-based compounds called anthocyans, which actually are in apples and help to regulate blood sugar.”
If it’s sugar you crave, try a little dark chocolate, but pick the right formula. Look for 60 to 70 percent cocoa content.
Vicki Shanta Retelny: “A recent review in the British Medical Journal found people had a 31% lower risk of type 2 diabetes when they ate dark chocolate on a regular basis. We’re only talking about an ounce a day.”
It’s not much, but it’s enough to help boost your body’s insulin sensitivity, a key factor in preventing diabetes.
Vicki Shanta Retelny: “When you carry a lot of weight around the middle you become insulin resistant, your body can no longer regulate your blood sugar levels adequately. If the insulin in your body is not getting that blood sugar into your cells for energy, that becomes problematic, because too much blood sugar circulating in your blood creates a lot of damage to your vital organs and other processes in your body.”
A pinch of this powerful spice — packed with antioxidants — can actually decrease blood glucose levels.
Vicki Shanta Retelny: “I only use a little at a time. A pinch on my yogurt, a pinch on my oatmeal, a little bit in my applesauce and that is a powerful conduit to keeping your blood sugar levels stable.”
In the morning, drop a stick in your coffee. In the evening, switch to red wine, but keep the pour at five ounces.
Vicki Shanta Retelny: “Red wine, specifically, has a compound called resveratrol, which is an antioxidant compound which can stabilize blood sugar levels.”
Another sugar stabilizer — tree nuts like almonds and pistachios. Throw them in salads or fill a snack bag with 49 pistachios, a single serving size full of protein and fiber.
Vicki Shanta Retelny: “Fiber can help stabilize blood sugar levels longer, and keep you more satisfied and full for long period of time.”
Just adding one diabetes-fighting food to your diet will help, but there’s more power in numbers.
Vicki Shanta Retelny: “The more you add these beneficial nutrients to your diet, the more they work together to help keep your blood sugar level stable, your heart healthy, your vision in good working order, your whole body works better.
Another tip, lowering your body weight by five to seven percent also can reduce your risk of diabetes.