If your parent has been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, they are not alone. The statistics are truly staggering. In 2012, according to the American Diabetes Association, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes and diabetes was found in 25.9 percent of seniors age 65 and older. The good news is that in many cases diabetes can be controlled through diet and exercise.
You’ve probably heard about the options to control diet from the low glycemic index plan to carbohydrate counting plan and to the plate plan. All of these offer good dietary plans for those with diabetes. You’ve also heard about the foods your parent should avoid such as white flour, white rice and prepackaged goods. In addition, there are several superfoods that are of great benefit when added to their diet.
- Tomatoes. These luscious fruits are rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant responsible for tomato’s deep red color, potassium, vitamin C, flavonoids and vitamin E which may provide protection against the development of type 2 diabetes. In a study, 32 type 2 diabetes patients received about 1.5 tomatoes daily for 8 weeks. A significant decrease in blood pressure was noted suggesting it may protect against the arterial damage produced by diabetes.
- Berries. Blueberries, strawberries and other berries are excellent sources of vitamin C as well as one of the highest sources of antioxidants. They protect the body from free radicals and may help protect the eyes against the complications of diabetes.
- Dark Green Leafy Vegetables. Powerhouses in this group include kale, spinach, broccoli and Swiss chard. They are filled with vitamins A and K as well as glucosinolates, known for their anti-cancer properties.
- Salmon. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, this superfood reduces your risk of heart disease, slowing the hardening of the arteries that is associated with diabetes.
- Avocado. These fruits are a great source of healthy fats as well as about 20 different vitamins and minerals including magnesium—an important nutrient that plays a role in carbohydrate and glucose metabolism. Eating healthy fats such as avocado helps to slow the digestion of carbohydrates
- Walnuts, Sunflower and Pumpkins Seeds. These nuts and seeds are high in magnesium. An article from Medical News Today states that “for every 100-milligram-a-day increase in magnesium intake, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes falls by around 15 percent.” Walnuts are also high in alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that lowers cholesterol and supports a healthy heart.
- Beans. According to Diabetes Self-Management, beans will “rock your world.” One cup contains about 16 grams of protein, the same as 2 ounces of chicken or meat. They are also high in fiber which helps lower cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease as well as slows the breakdown of carbohydrates into sugars.
Home Health Care Provider
If you feel your parent needs help incorporating a healthy diet and exercise plan into their schedule, consider obtaining the services of a home health care provider. These caring professionals can assist with the daily activities of living as well as prepare diabetic-friendly meals and accompany your parent on daily walks.