What is diabetes

Diabetes is a health condition that occurs when your blood sugar is too high, and your body either does not make enough insulin (a hormone secreted by the pancreas to regulate blood sugar levels), or the insulin does not work the way that it should. Both of these types of diabetes causes various health problems.

There are four main types of diabetes. You can read more about this in our blog World Diabetes Day

The rise of diabetes

The number of diabetes cases, both here in South Africa and around the world, is on the rise.

Perhaps you are living with diabetes or you are at risk of developing diabetes. Hey, maybe you are on the right track and working hard to reduce any possible risks of developing the condition. Whatever your diabetes status is, the most important thing is being (and staying) informed about the condition.

Now, that’s not to say you need to become completely paranoid about every possible thing that Dr So-and-So in that magazine said could lead to diabetes. But when it comes to your health, it is always a good idea to take stock of your current lifestyle and look for ways to improve it.

And it all starts with your diet.

A healthy diet is essential to help you manage diabetes, so we’ve compiled a list of four of the best foods for diabetics.

The 4 best foods for diabetes

These good foods for diabetic people have been shown to support a diabetic diet and help them avoid complications associated with diabetes.


1. Almonds

The health benefits of almonds are plenty, and aren’t just great for diabetics – we can all benefit from the good stuff hiding within these humble nuts.

However, almonds have been shown to contain nutrients that are really beneficial for diabetics in terms of their heart health.
In fact, a recent article explained why people living with diabetes should opt for almonds when they choose their snacks, specifically for their heart health.

Read more in our article about Almonds and diabetes. 


2. Tree nuts

In addition to almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, shea nuts and walnuts fall within the tree nut group (also known as hard-shelled nuts).

A recent study conducted by the St MFichael’s Hospital in Canada found that tree nuts were extremely effective in helping control blood sugar levels and reducing LCL (bad) cholesterol in participants suffering from type 2 diabetes.

GOOD TO KNOW: This particular study suggested that eating 50g of raw, unsalted, dry-roasted tree nuts daily had benefits for regulating blood sugar levels.


3. Dried fruit

It has also been found that consuming dried fruit provides significantly higher levels of magnesium, which helps regulate blood sugar levels.

If you are diabetic, weight gain is one the biggest problems that you may face, which can be caused by insulin resistance, poor diet and a lack of physical exercise.

Dried fruit has been shown to help people manage their weight as it is high in energy, protein and helps reduce LCL (bad) cholesterol. According to recent health research, people who eat dried fruit have a higher energy intake than people who don’t, but they also have significantly lower waist circumferences and BMI’s.

Montagu has a fantastic Low GI Dried Fruit Snack Mix , which is supported by the G I Foundation of South Africa. This is a great snack mix that doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels and releases energy slowly.


4. Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is used as a sweetener.

Xylitol looks and tastes like sugar, but has fewer calories and doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. It’s a fantastic product that really makes a difference in the lives of those living with diabetes and those trying to reduce their risk.

A word to the wise though: it’s best to consume Xylitol in very small amounts at a time, as it has been known to cause flatulence and diarrhoea – so easy on your portion sizes!


Good to know:

The not-so-sweet facts about diabetes prevalance in South Africa:

  • According to the International Diabetes Federation of Africa there were 28 million cases of diabetes in South Africa in 2015 alone.
  • In simpler terms, 7% of our population, between the ages of 20-79, suffered from some form of diabetes that year.
  • 396 adults out of 1,000 adults suffer from diabetes but are undiagnosed.

So what’s the take-home message?
Well, it’s all about living a healthy lifestyle. We always encourage our readers to not take their health for granted. Once you have diabetes, you have it for life. But it can be prevented if you take good care of yourself. Luckily some of the best foods for diabetics can be found all under one roof – at your local Montagu store. Visit your nearest Montagu store or shop online.
Wishing you health and happiness!
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