For diabetics, adjusting their diet to help manage blood sugar levels can be a challenging task. However, studies show that adhering to a plant-based diet can diabetics manage their condition and live healthier lives.
Plant-based diets focus on vegetables, fruits, lentils, beans, and grains as primary sources of energy. While most see vegan diets as restricting dairy and meat consumption, the underlying theme of plant-based diets is to get nutrients out of foods made from plants. While some may see this way of eating as restrictive, plant-based diets offer numerous benefits:
More sustainable for the planet: The meat and fish industry are key contributors to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the air. While sustainable meat and fish consumption is possible and practiced by many indigeneous communities, the majority of the meat and fish industry is unsustainable.
Promotes heart health: Cutting meat out of your diet also reduces consumption of saturated fat, which can lead to heart conditions. Additionally, a plant-based diet based on fruits, vegetables, legumes, and healthy fats promotes good heart health and reduces risk of heart conditions.
Improved cholesterol: Animal products commonly contain LDL (or “bad cholesterol”), while plant-based products can actually help lower the levels of this type of cholesterol. Keep in mind that this means following a plant-based diet full of whole foods (unprocessed) and key nutrients.
Increased cognitive functioning: Studies show that eating plant-based can improve cognitive functioning and reduce risk of dementia. This is because the foundation of plant-based diets (fruits, veggies, grains) provides the body with polyphenols which may reduce the risk of cognitive decline and alzheimers.
Helps Manage Blood Sugar Levels: While plant-based diets offer benefits to all, this way of eating can especially be beneficial to Type-2 diabetics. Not only can it reduce the risk of developing Type-2 Diabetes, it can help those who already have it. This is primarily because plant-based diets can help control blood sugar levels. Foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are high-fiber foods that allow the body to better regulate blood sugar. Additionally, fiber helps to digest carbs and absorb sugar.
Want to follow a plant-based diet for diabetes, but don’t know where to start? It’s easier than you think. Start with whole foods that you like and make sure to include a source of protein, carb, and fat in each meal. While a plant-based diet for diabetes can offer many benefits, it’s important to still ensure that you are getting enough protein and iron during the day to promote normal bodily functioning. Below are ideas to get you started on your plant-based journey!