MANAGING YOUR DIABETES THROUGH FOOD: WHY THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET CAN BE A GAME CHANGER

by Danielle Schaub
MANAGING YOUR DIABETES THROUGH FOOD: WHY THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET CAN BE A GAME CHANGER

Diabetes is a disease that affects how your body uses food for energy. It is caused by impaired insulin function and results in high blood sugar levels. Chronically high blood sugar levels are dangerous over time because the sugar acts like a wrecking ball and can permanently damage damage many parts of the body.

If not managed, high blood sugar can damage nerves, kidneys, retinas, and blood vessels, which can result in the loss of feeling in the limbs, kidney failure, blindness, or a heart attack.

That’s the bad news. 

The good news is that with balanced nutrition and activity, you can drastically curb or avoid all potential negative outcomes.

BEST DIET APPROACH FOR DIABETES MANAGEMENT

The top ranked diet in the world to prevent, manage, or even cure diabetes is the Mediterranean Diet. It has been shown to improve glycemic control and insulin sensitivity in people with Type 2 diabetes. Due to blood sugar being better controlled while on the Mediterranean Diet, it can ultimately improve A1C values and eliminate the risk of any damage.

WHAT IS THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET

The Mediterranean Diet relies heavily on plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds and lots of olive oil. Fish, poultry, eggs, dairy and moderate amounts of red wine are all on the “good list”, too. 

Red meat, butter, and processed foods are the only ingredients that should be limited. The diet does not specify portions or amount of food – you eat as much as you need depending on your body composition and activity level.

It’s important to note, in addition to the nutrient-dense foods, the success of the Mediterranean Diet also relies on the lifestyle component. You should try to eat meals with family and friends and be mindful about exercise.

HOW DOES THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET SUPPORT DIABETES MANAGEMENT? 

The best way to improve blood sugar control and keep it in a healthy range is to eat regular, balanced meals that are high in fiber. This means lots of vegetables, fruits, some clean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains and legumes. Meals should be eaten at regular intervals so you have a consistent amount of fuel to break down into sugar, and eaten around the same time everyday so your body responds the same way.

One reason the Mediterranean Diet is effective for people managing diabetes is because the diet is high in fiber due to its heavy lean into fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Fiber improves both insulin sensitivity and pancreatic activity.

The Mediterranean Diet is also effective diabetes management tool because it helps prevent weight gain. Studies have shown that because the diet is so easy to adopt for the long-term, it has a beneficial impact on maintaining a healthy body weight and prevents the further development of diabetes.

 

HOW TERRITORY CAN HELP MANAGE DIABETES 

 

Territory’s Mediterranean Diet meals are designed around the foods and nutrition levels that are consistent with eating a Mediterranean Diet.  In our meals, you’ll find lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains (the gluten-free kind), legumes, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. There will also be some poultry, fish and eggs. Red meat is excluded, and our whole menu is free of dairy and processed foods. 

In the Mediterranean Diet, no more than 10% of total calories come from saturated fat, which means all of our Mediterranean Diet meals have less than 7g saturated fat. The Mediterranean Diet tends to be lower in sodium due to eating less processed foods. So, the Mediterranean Diet meals on our menu have less than 750mg of sodium (the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 2300mg or less of sodium per day). 

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