Diabetes: 6 Easy Ways to Follow the Mediterranean Diet to Improve Blood Sugar

Diabetes: 6 Easy Ways to Follow the Mediterranean Diet to Improve Blood Sugar

The Mediterranean diet promotes the consumption of plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fatty fish and dairy products.

Photo: Photo by Alesia Kozik from Pexels / Pexels

There are no doubts: the Mediterranean diet has become the most recommended lifestyle to gain health and prevent long-term disease. Every day we have more studies and scientific references that support its therapeutic benefits, which are related to its benefits to improve cardiovascular, digestive, liver, brain and immune health. It has also been positioned as the best long-term dietary scheme to lose weight and combat diabetes. In fact, the Mediterranean diet is key to balance blood sugar and prevent diabetes complications.

In addition, the Mediterranean diet is much more than a dietary guideline, it is a lifestyle that encompasses traditions, celebrations, cooking techniques, local ingredients and an immense passion for the enjoyment of life; from a healthy perspective and that promotes well-being. Not in vain the Mediterranean diet has been positioned as the most recommended method to gain health, prevent diseases and increase life expectancy. It is a delicious, colorful and highly nutritious way to eat, based on that we gave ourselves the task of compile the 6 basic principles of the Mediterranean for better blood sugar levels and overall better health.

1. Eat fruits and vegetables

The Mediterranean diet encourages the consumption of 6 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. In such a way that they should constitute the majority of each meal, it is also a type of diet that motivates us to consume a colorful variety and also promotes the consumption of seasonal alternatives. Between his most popular items they include tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, potatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and carrots. Stabilizing your blood sugar while following these guidelines is easy, especially when you go for non-starchy vegetables more often and enjoy starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and peas occasionally. While fruits and vegetables are delicious on their own, they have the immense advantage of being able to be combined with all kinds of ingredients. For people with diabetes, the best recommendation is to enjoy them with healthy fats, whole grains and lean proteins. This enhances its nutritional value and satiating power.

Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables. / Photo: Pixabay

2. Bet on the consumption of proteins of vegetable origin

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes the use of legumes and soy products to add protein and fiber to dishes in a vegetarian way. Especially considering that animal products are not the focal point of Mediterranean foods, plant-based proteins are staple foods and are often consumed more than animal-based proteins. Alternatives like chickpeas, black beans, and lentils are present in many dishes. The way of keep blood sugar levels stable, it is keep basic serving sizes between ½-1 cup for beans and legumes. It is also advisable to mix them with vegetables or whole grains to increase the fiber content even more, this is key to slowing down the digestive process. Slower digestion = optimal glycemic (blood sugar) control.

black beans
Black beans / Photo: Shutterstock

3. Eat whole grains that are high in fiber.

Whole grains are also a staple food and should be enjoyed daily. The only rule is enjoy minimally processed grains, such as oats, barley, farro, brown rice and whole grain breads and pasta. The reason is simple, these types of grains retain their valuable vitamins, minerals and fiber, which are often lost during processing (that is, when it is made into products such as white bread and pasta). This type of food is important, since fiber is what helps slow digestionIn addition, whole grain cereals when combined with healthy fats and proteins give rise to even more satisfying and balanced meals. Being a source of carbohydrates, the recommendation is to limit yourself to 1/2 to 1 cup a day.

oats and fruits
Avena./Photo: Shutterstock

4. The power of healthy fats

The Mediterranean diet is certainly not a low-fat diet, however it is quite forceful about the type of fats it recommends and they are those of the unsaturated type. These fats are known as the healthiest for the body and are found in foods such as olive oil, avocado oil, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish, such as salmon. In addition to this, it is recommended avoid consuming animal products rich in saturated fat, as with butter, red and processed meats. On the recommended servings, bet on consuming one serving: 1 tablespoon of oil, 1/4 cup of walnuts, 1/3 of avocado and approximately 4 ounces of salmon.

olive oil
Olive oil./Photo: Shutterstock

5. Don’t put dairy aside

Dairy is an important part of the Mediterranean diet. The secret? They should always be consumed in moderation, the bases of the Mediterranean diet suggest one to three servings a day. Preferred sources include unprocessed cheeses such as feta, brie, parmesan, and ricotta, plus Greek yogurt is a wonderful ally as it supports gut health. It is worth mentioning that in this diet, it is not common to consume processed dairy products such as American cheese, yogurt with added sugar and ice cream, it is better to enjoy them very occasionally. In addition, the consumption of the aforementioned dairy sources is recommended, combined with fruits and vegetables again to help slow digestion. For example: eating ½ apple with 1 ounce of Parmesan cheese is a great snack and a wonderful way to slow digestion, stay full, and regulate blood glucose.

Natural yogurt
Yogurt. / Photo: Shutterstock

6. Eat just a little meat

Fish is the main source of protein in the Mediterranean diet, always above other alternatives such as pork, chicken and red meat. Fatty fish are conspicuous for their high content of omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herring. The truth is that it makes perfect sense that fish is a staple of this scheme, the Mediterranean diet originated in the region of the Mediterranean Sea, where fish options are abundant, extremely varied and accessible. Studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids help improve cholesterol and reduce inflammation. In addition, these types of fish are full of protein, which contributes to the satiety factor of Mediterranean dishes and they are low in calories. Best of all, you can perfectly continue to enjoy meats such as chicken, pork and red meat, on special occasions. For good diabetes control, bet on the consumption of plant-based proteins and fish and shellfish more frequently.

Grilled chicken breast
Chicken salad / Photo: Shutterstock

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