Managing diabetes is about more than just monitoring your insulin levels. As with many things, your diet can play a significant part in maximizing your health.
While these tips won't magically cure things, they will certainly help.
1. Eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods
Magnesium, in addition to playing a major part in the breakdown of carbs, most likely influences the release and activity of insulin (a hormone that helps to control blood sugar levels). People with type 2 diabetes are often found to have low levels of magnesium in their blood.
Several studies have recommended that those with diabetes eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods. Good sources include spinach, tofu, almonds, broccoli, lentils, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
2. Get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are perhaps most commonly taken in fish-oil capsule form, and have a number of benefits for everyone. A number of studies have also found Omega-3 fatty acids to have a favorable effect on triglyceride levels in those with type 2 diabetes.
Common sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include cold-water oily fish, fish-oil supplements, walnuts and freshly ground flaxseed.
3. Favor low GI foods
As with the Omega-3 fatty acids above, a low GI diet can help to lower triglyceride levels. Other general benefits of a low-GI diet include a lowering of LDL (bad) cholesterol levels whilst increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Specific benefits of a low GI diet for diabetics include lower blood glucose levels and potentially the need for less insulin.
There is a wealth of information available on low GI eating; and common sources include beans, lentils and whole-grain breads.
4. Keep the carbs complex
Complex carbs (aka 'starches') take a bit more work to break down than their simple counterparts, and offer a range of health benefits for diabetics and others alike. Of particular note is the ability to lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Examples of complex carbs are wholegrain breads, pasta, rice, legumes, vegetables and fruit.
5. Get your fiber
According to several recent studies, high-fiber diets and fiber supplementation both help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels, particularly in those with type 2 diabetes.
Whilst whole grain cereals are thought to provide the greatest benefit, other sources such as fruits and vegetables also have several health benefits.