Every diabetic knows that it is important to keep blood sugar levels from spiking and for that they need to keep a close watch on what they eat. What are the major components of a type 2 diabetes diet? Let’s find out.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are needed by the body on a daily basis for its proper functioning. When we eat carbs, they are broken down by the body to form blood sugar or glucose. The glucose released is either used to provide instant energy or is stored by the body for energy at a later time. Carbs can be divided into 2 categories- simple carbs (that instantly cause a spike in blood sugar) and complex carbs (that provide sustained energy).

Now, as a diabetic, it becomes important for you to watch the amount of carbs you eat and keep a close check on your blood sugar levels. Eat whole grains that are rich in fiber such as oat bran, rye, millet, wheat germ, barley, wild rice, brown rice, buckwheat and oats. Opt for whole wheat or rye bread instead of processed white bread; brown or wild rice instead of white rice and whole wheat pasta instead of regular pasta. Eat fresh veggies and fruits such as artichoke, asparagus, aubergine, beetroot, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chicory, courgette, cucumber, fennel, French beans, kohlrabi, lamb's lettuce, leek, lettuce, mushrooms, onion, okra, palm hearts, peppers, pumpkin, radish, rhubarb, soya bean sprouts, spinach (all greens, really!), tomato, apricots, apples, oranges, plums, pears, grapefruits, rhubarb, prunes, melons, nectarines, blueberries, Goji berries and passion fruit.

Micronutrients

Micronutrients are an essential component of a type 2 diabetes diet. Micronutrients are foods rich in vitamins, antioxidants, phytochemicals and minerals. Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, watercress, collard greens, bok choy and vegetables such as cabbage, radishes and broccoli considered as foods rich in micronutrients. Micronutrients can also be found in fresh fish (salmon, tuna, cod, flounder, sole and Mahi-Mahi), whole grains (barley, old-fashioned oats, brown rice) and dairy (non-fat milk, non-fat yoghurt, eggs, feta cheese). The best way to include micronutrients to your type 2 diabetes diet? Toss together a salad with fresh greens and herbs, other veggies and olive oil!

Protein

Animal-based foods and dairy products are the richest source of protein. Lean meats, poultry, seafood and eggs provide vitamins B and E and dairy related proteins provide the micronutrients calcium, vitamin D and potassium. Bake, grill or broil your meat and serve them with some delicious stir-fried vegetables!

Fats and oils

Studies have indicated that monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are ‘good’ fats that are instrumental in promoting good heart health and are the main type of fats that should be consumed. Saturated and trans-fats (trans-fatty acids), on the other hand, are considered to be ‘bad’ fats and are best avoided as far as possible.

Monounsaturated fats can be found in olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados and nuts and polyunsaturated (omega-3) fats can be found in shellfish, fish, flaxseed and walnuts. Diabetics are encouraged to prepare all their meals with olive oil. Including two servings of fish to your meals per week could give you a healthy amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

Salt

Restricting your salt (sodium) intake to a minimum is not only a good idea for diabetics and people with high blood pressure, but for EVERYONE in general. Salt has been known to cause water retention and increase your blood pressure. An easy way to eat less salt is not include ingredients and condiments rich in salt such as soy sauce, stock cubes, ketchup and pickles while cooking. Instead try to get the extra flavor, but adding herbs, lime juice, chili and other seasonings. And if you really can’t without salt, try using a low-sodium alternative instead.

Every diabetic can lead a healthy, happy life if he or she follows a few basic guidelines about planning a diet keeping nutrition and balance in mind. With the above mentioned components of a type 2 diabetes diet, we hope that you find a way to plan your meals better and enjoy a healthier, happier, more productive life!

Author's Bio: 

Sydney is a successful nutritionist who lives in Illinois. As a nutritionist, she has provided weight loss coaching to many of her clients. She loves to share her experience and knowledge on benefits of healthy weight loss through her writings and is a great believer in structured weight loss programs.

In addition to being an accomplished nutritionist and a passionate writer, 40-year-old Sydney is a fabulous cook and plans to start a food blog soon.