When you consume an excessive amount of calories or fat, your blood glucose levels can rise to dangerously high levels. This can lead to long-term complications, such as heart disease, over time.
In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 7 out of every 10 diabetics over the age of 65 will die of heart disease.
This is why it is critical to keep your blood glucose levels within the normal range. You’ll need to eat heart-healthy foods to accomplish this. You might also need to lose some weight.
A registered dietitian can help you create a new diet based on your health goals, but here are some pointers to get you started.
What exactly is a ‘heart-healthy’ food?
Heart-healthy foods reduce your chances of developing heart disease in the future. This is accomplished by lowering your blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglycerides, and fasting blood sugar.
They might also have a lot of antioxidants in them. These shield the body from oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which contribute to the development of heart disease.
In general, the term “heart-healthy” refers to:
- low in sodium
- low in cholesterol
- high in fiber
- low in saturated fats
- free of trans fats
- high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
Low-calorie leafy greens include spinach, kale, lettuce, and collard greens. They’re also high in nutrients like vitamins A, C, E, K, and magnesium.
These greens can be added to any salad. Try Diabetes Strong’s spinach rolls for a heart-healthy vegetarian treat.
Cold-water fish, in particular, are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and trout are among them. Omega-3 fatty acids promote heart health by lowering blood fats known as triglycerides.
There are dozens of heart-healthy fish recipes available online, such as this one for balsamic honey mustard salmon from OnTrack Diabetes. One of the most important steps here is to bake the fish rather than fry it.
Nuts have a high concentration of heart-healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Walnuts, pecans, peanuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, and Brazil nuts are all good additions to your diet.
Attempt to consume five servings of nuts per week. One serving is approximately one ounce. Studies According to Trusted Source, eating at least five servings of nuts per week is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Nuts, on the other hand, are high in calories, so plan ahead of time. One serving consists of approximately 24 almonds, 12 macadamia nuts, or 35 peanuts.
Replace saturated and trans fats with healthier unsaturated fats like olive oil. Olive oil contains a lot of antioxidants and may have anti-inflammatory properties. Trusted Sources that are beneficial to heart health and diabetes patients.
Because olive oil is highly resistant to high heat and excellent for cooking, it can be used in a variety of ways.
Snack on low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese instead of full-fat options. Avoid flavored or sweetened yogurt, as these frequently contain a lot of sugar. Instead, choose plain yogurt.
Low-fat plain Greek yogurt topped with berries is one snack option. Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries have a high antioxidant content while being low in sugar.
Whole grains and oats
If you have type 2 diabetes, it’s time to say goodbye to white bread. Instead, opt for whole-grain bread, pasta, and brown rice.
Whole grains contain more fiber than refined grains. They may help lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, and overall risk of heart disease.
Oatmeal is a great breakfast option. Consider a recipe that includes whole-grain farro, quinoa, or barley if you want to try something new.
Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to lower cholesterol levels. Heart disease is a reliable source.
Simply spread avocado on whole-grain toast and top with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. You can also incorporate avocado into a variety of dishes, such as these flavorful turkey patties with avocado.
Vegetables should account for a large portion of your new heart-healthy diet. They are high in fiber and vitamins while being low in calories, cholesterol, and carbohydrates.
Carrots, sweet potatoes, peppers, and squash, as well as other red, yellow, and orange vegetables, are high in antioxidants and vitamins.
Broccoli and carrot sticks dipped in hummus make an excellent snack that is high in vitamins and minerals.
Fiber-rich beans, lentils, and chickpeas have a low glycemic index.
Researchers followed people with diabetes who ate one cup of legumes daily for three months in a 2012 studyTrusted Source. They discovered that people who ate legumes had lower hemoglobin A1c levels and systolic blood pressure than people who did not eat legumes.
Beans are easily incorporated into soups, casseroles, chilis, salads, and dips. If you buy canned beans, go for the low-sodium variety.
Herbs and spices
Herbs and spices add flavor to your food without adding unhealthy levels of sodium. A low-sodium diet is essential for controlling your blood pressure.
Without the extra salt, this Persian stew with fresh herbs, for example, will excite your taste buds.
Begin reading food labels to ensure that your daily salt intake does not exceed 2,300 milligrams (mg). Ideally, limit your sodium intake to no more than 1,500 mg per day.
Cinnamon, another popular spice, has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top of your oatmeal or yogurt for a heart-healthy boost with a kick.
If you have type 2 diabetes, you should include these foods in your diet to help prevent the development of heart disease. More information about portion size and meal planning can be obtained from your diabetes care team or a registered dietitian to help you establish a heart-healthy lifestyle.