Coming down with a diabetes diagnosis is more than just frustrating. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. But what exactly is it? Diabetes Research explains diabetes is a metabolic disease that causes the body to produce too little insulin. Insulin allows the glucose, or sugar, from the foods that you eat to enter your cells to use as energy, but diabetics don’t have enough insulin to make this happen. This means the sugars stay in your blood, and your body doesn’t have the energy necessary to complete daily functions.
To lower your risk of diabetes, try adding the following six foods to your meals.
There’s evidence to suggest that whole grains can protect you from diabetes, whereas refined carbohydrates, like those you would find in white bread, can increase your risk, explains Harvard’s School of Public Health. The fiber and bran found in whole grains make it harder for your digestive system to break down the grains into glucose. Because this process is more difficult, your blood sugar and insulin are increased very slowly, putting less stress on the body. Choosing whole grains that have a low glycemic load can decrease your risk of diabetes dramatically.
The color of carrots is a key indicator that they’re rich in carotenoids, which are antioxidants that may help prevent diabetes, says Prevention. Research from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health found, out of 4,500 people tested over a 15-year span, those who had the highest levels of carotenoids in their blood cut their diabetes risk in half.
Some of the most nutritious vegetables are ones that are dark, green, and leafy, so if you haven’t begun adding spinach and kale to your meals now, it may be time to start. A story on Dr. Fuhrman’s website reports consuming large amounts of leafy green vegetables is associated with a lowered risk of developing type 2 diabetes. According to the story, studies have found that greater intake of such produce resulted in a 14% decrease in the risk of type 2 diabetes.