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How plant-based diets can help manage type 2 diabetes

Diabetes is the 7th largest cause of death in the United States, and in 2019 it was attributed to over 1.5 million deaths in the world. 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is when your body becomes resistant to insulin, causing your blood sugar level to rise and become uncontrollable. Type 2 is generally associated with genetics, diet, and lifestyle choices.

Research shows that plant-based diets can help manage and even reverse type 2 diabetes. A structured plant-based diet, that includes foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes contains nutritious vitamins and minerals along with high-quality protein. These foods are known to be low on the glycemic index, which can help you manage your blood sugar levels.

Low glycemic foods are assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. Foods low on the glycemic index (GI) scale tend to release glucose slowly and steadily. 

Foods low on the GI, include dried beans, legumes, non-starchy vegetables, fruits, and peanuts. Peanuts have a low glycemic index score and glycemic load, which can help manage your blood sugar and keep it under control throughout the day. Epidemiologic studies have associated nut consumption with a reduced incidence of coronary heart disease and diabetes in women.

How do I incorporate low glycemic foods into my diet?

Easy. If you’re already on a plant-based diet, low GI fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and high fiber grains are already part of your routine. And the best part is, you’re on track to protecting yourself against other chronic diseases such as high cholesterol, hypertension, and even cancer.

Even if you’re not on a strict plant-based diet, you can start swapping out red meat with some high-quality animal proteins such as white meat chicken, fish, and some shellfish. Then with the addition of high-quality plant proteins like lentils, chickpeas, peanuts and leafy greens, your blood sugar levels, in time should start to level out and become more stable. Nuts contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats, and beans contain soluble fiber, which has been shown to help flush out cholesterol from your arteries.

Earth Nut foods offer a high protein, low carbohydrate meat alternative, that can be added to anyone’s daily routine. It provides several nutritional benefits, including valuable plant protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

With the perfect mix of peanuts, chickpeas, and spices it contains plenty of health-promoting plant foods like nuts and legumes. These ingredients alone have been shown to help people manage type 2 diabetes and keep them at a healthy weight. In fact, eating peanuts may help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

According to the Peanut Institute, research has shown that peanuts can help control blood sugar in both healthy individuals and those with type 2 diabetes. Peanuts have even been shown to help lessen the spike in blood sugar when paired with high-carbohydrate or high-GL foods. Peanuts are both low GI and GL foods, as they contain healthy oils, protein, and fiber that have a positive effect on blood sugar control.

What are the benefits for a type 2 diabetic switching to a plant-based diet?

  • Can help prevent and may reverse type 2 diabetes
  • Improves insulin sensitivity and allows insulin to function properly
  • Controls blood sugar levels three times more effectively
  • Lower cholesterol and decreased LDL cholesterol levels
  • Reduces your risk of some diabetes-associated complications
  • Promotes a healthy weight and can help lower your body mass index (BMI)
  • Plant-based diets are high in fiber, antioxidants, and magnesium, all of which have been separately shown to improve insulin sensitivity

You don’t need to become a vegetarian overnight. Take it one day at a time and increase your servings of vegetables and other plant-based foods into your diet. Swap out animal protein with a plant protein such as an Earth Nut BBQ burger with some broccoli coleslaw. Or use legumes as your main source of protein as a meat substitute.

Remember plant-based foods bring natural and unprocessed nutrients such as fiber, iron, calcium, and other valuable minerals. And overall, a plant-based diet is great for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.  

 

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