Foods and Herbs to Avoid When You Have Diabetes
Having a medical condition that requires special diets frustrates us a lot. We cannot enjoy food as much as we want to, and we have to limit ourselves to foods that we do not even like. It’s exasperating and annoying. Diabetes is one of the many conditions where eating the wrong kinds of food leads to dreadful consequences. Diabetics need to be mindful of what they eat.
If you have diabetes, take note of these foods and herbs you need to avoid.
Foods to Avoid For People with Diabetes
Bacon? Salami? Ham? All of these sound delicious, but all of these are processed meat and need to be removed from your food list if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Processed meats have chemicals and preservatives added to them to preserve their shelf life. Thus, it is not recommended in many conditions.
But that doesn’t mean you need to get rid of your protein altogether. You can always choose to eat fresh lean meat such as chicken and tuna.
High Carbohydrates/Starchy Foods
When you have diabetes, the most constant thing you need to look out for is your carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates directly link to glucose levels in your body. Thus, you need to keep your carb intake under control to control your glucose levels as well. That means you need to stay away from white bread, pasta, and rice.
Other products made from refined white flour, and even gluten-free pasta, can raise blood sugar levels. On top of that, a study showed that foods with high carbohydrates does not only raise blood sugar levels but can also decrease brain function in Type 2 diabetes patients.
These foods have been a staple at many dinner tables already so it is hard to get rid of them. However, they offer little to no nutritional value. You can substitute white carbohydrates with healthier options such as quinoa, brown rice, bread, and pasta made from whole grains. You may also have sweet potatoes as they slowly release their sugar content, which leads to a more controlled blood sugar level.
Fruits are generally healthy. However, dried fruits underwent a process where they lose moisture and water. This process can simultaneously increase their sugar content. All dried fruit variations have higher carbohydrates and sugar content than when they are eaten fresh.
People with diabetes must stay away from dried fruits and choose low sugar fruits instead. A fresh apple, banana, or perhaps a cup of fresh berries are great fruits for people with diabetes. Citrus fruits like lemon, oranges, and grapefruits also have anti-diabetic effects. So you get the vitamins and minerals you need without the added carbohydrates.
Surprisingly, fruit juices need to be avoided too. Though it is a healthy beverage compared to sodas and other sugary beverages, fruit juices still affect your blood sugar levels as other sugary drinks. What makes fruit juices a not-so-good choice for a drink is the fact that they contain fructose. This fruit sugar can lead to obesity, increase the risk for heart disease and insulin resistance.
Instead of indulging in sugary and fruit beverages, we suggest water with a squeeze of lemon instead. You’ll never go wrong with water and lemon has antidiabetic effects that can help manage your sugar levels.
Herbs to Avoid For People with Diabetes
St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
St. John’s Wort is a common herbal supplement for people suffering from depression and anxiety. However, it should not be taken by people with diabetes. An article based on Basic and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology said that St. John’s Wort affects insulin secretion. Long-term use of this herb resulted in hampered secretion of insulin in young healthy men. Additionally, if you are taking Metformin for your diabetes, St. John’s Wort may increase your sensitivity to the sun.
Though a few conflicting studies showed that St. John’s Wort may be beneficial in improving glucose tolerance, further research is still required to get clearer findings. In the meantime, it is best to avoid this herb when answers from the medical and research community are bleak.
Female Ginseng (Angelica sinensis)
Also called Dong Quai, this herb needs to be cautiously taken. Though it helps lower blood sugar levels, adding it to your diet when you already have maintenance drugs for diabetes may result in very low sugar levels. Consult your doctor first if you want to add female ginseng as a supplement. Proactively adding it to your diet without a piece of professional advice may lead to more harm than good.
Conflicting studies also arise when it comes to the benefits of Ginkgo Biloba to people with diabetes. However, one article I want to share showed that ginkgo may change insulin secretion and metabolism. Ginkgo increases insulin breakdown leading to decreased insulin levels in the body. Thus, increasing blood sugar levels in the process. So if you have diabetes, talk with your doctor first. It is also imperative to monitor your blood sugar levels closely.
Avoiding certain foods and herbs to maintain a healthy life requires self-discipline. But it is always worth all the effort. Sacrificing a few foods and drinks right now can add more years to your life. Having diabetes is not a joke, so make sure that you lead a healthy life to live well.