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food that prevents diabetes

Making Smart Food Choices That Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes can be dangerous and lead to other health problems if not monitored and controlled. 

Fortunately, the disease is preventable and can be managed by smart and healthy lifestyle choices. 

Your senior loved one can improve their health and reduce their risk of developing diabetes by maintaining a healthy diet, staying active, and kicking bad habits. 

If your loved one has already been diagnosed with diabetes, they can still live a high quality of life by following the same guidelines as those trying to prevent the disease. 

Learn more about diabetes prevention, food that prevents diabetes, and how The Kensington Sierra Madre can help your loved one live a happy and healthy life. 

Diabetes prevention

It may be easier to prevent type 2 diabetes than you think. Some risk factors may be out of your control but you can prevent diabetes by making conscious choices to eat healthy foods.

Some of the most common risk factors of diabetes include: 

  • Obesity
  • Inactivity 
  • Family history 
  • Age
  • Race and ethnicity 
  • An unhealthy diet

While you cannot change genetics or age, you can help your loved one improve their diet with healthy eating, lose weight, and increase their physical activity. 

Help your loved one engage in 20 minutes of exercise daily and you can lower risk of prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and other health conditions. 

If your loved one has already been diagnosed with diabetes, physical activity can help them control their blood sugar levels and reduce their chances of heart disease and nerve damage. 

At The Kensington Sierra Madre, we know how important it’s for our residents to engage in life-enrichment activities and eat a well-balanced diet. 

We ensure our residents can exercise, socialize, eat specialty diets, and receive diabetes injections.

The best foods for preventing diabetes 

The best way to prevent and monitor diabetes is to eat a nutritious and well-balanced diet. 

Your loved one should load up on fresh, non-starchy vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and healthy fats. 

Best food choices

  • Avocados
  • Broccoli
  • Beans and legumes
  • Brown rice 
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds 
  • Fatty fish, such as salmon 
  • Chicken and poultry 
  • Egg whites
  • Nuts 
  • Probiotic yogurt
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Fresh berries
  • Spinach and kale 
  • Nuts 
  • Sweet potatoes

When choosing vegetables and fruits, fresh and frozen are the best options. Canned should be avoided due to their sodium content. 

If you and your loved one are unsure which foods to eat, look to the Mediterranean diet, which is also great for brain and heart health. 

The keto and paleo diets are also effective in preventing or managing diabetes. 

The Kensington Sierra Madre’s Chef Dusko strives to prepare and serve the tastiest and most nutritious meals daily. He accommodates our residents who have special diet needs and preferences, and all menus are reviewed by a nutritionist. 

Top 10 foods that diabetics should avoid

Just as there are foods that can prevent diabetes and other health conditions, there are foods that can lead to health diseases. 

Restricting certain foods and food groups can improve your senior loved one’s emotional, mental, and physical health while reducing their chances of developing lifelong diseases.  

Sometimes, preventing illnesses and conditions may be easier than treating, managing, and living with them. 

To maintain their health, your loved one should avoid the ten foods listed below. 

Alcohol 

Your loved one should avoid alcohol because it causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). 

This is even more likely to occur when someone takes medication to treat diabetes, such as insulin.

Breakfast cereal 

Cereal may seem like a safe option, especially when the boxes read heart healthy or less sugar. 

However, the truth is most cereals are highly processed and full of sugars, making them an unhealthy choice. 

Instead, your loved one can enjoy a bowl of oatmeal or porridge with natural sweeteners like fruit. 

Candy 

It can be challenging to give up candy, but after a few weeks, the taste buds will adapt, and cravings will subside. 

If your loved one has a sweet tooth, a better choice would be foods containing natural sugars, such as fruit, or desserts made with artificial sweeteners.

Fried foods 

Fried foods can cause blood glucose levels to shoot up and slow down digestion.

These foods are full of carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, which can lead to weight gain and increase your loved one’s chances of developing diabetes or worsen your preexisting condition. 

Full-fat dairy 

Saturated fats can worsen insulin resistance, raise cholesterol levels, and increase the risk of heart disease.

Reduced-fat or low-fat dairy is better if your loved one enjoys dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, and sour cream. 

Packaged snacks

While chips, pretzels, crackers, and doughnuts may be convenient—they come with risks. 

Packaged snacks include unhealthy trans fats that can cause diabetes and make it more difficult to manage. 

Unsalted nuts, such as almonds, are healthier if your loved one needs a quick snack.

Ultra-processed foods

Studies show that processed foods are connected to type 2 diabetes. 

Processed foods contain high amounts of sugar, fat, and calories, providing an increased risk for diabetes and other health issues. 

Individuals who eat high amounts of processed foods are at risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and certain cancers.

Red meat

Fatty cuts of meat may be okay in moderation, but generally, they should be avoided by those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. 

People with diabetes are already at risk of heart disease, and the unhealthy saturated fat in red meats will increase their risk. Stick to lean protein and fatty fish. 

Refined sugar 

While some foods produce natural sugars, refined sugars are not natural and include high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, and table sugar. 

Refined sugars hide in baked goods, such as cookies, cakes, pastries, sweetened yogurts, pasta, and white bread. 

Too much refined sugar can cause weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and insulin resistance in diabetes.

Sugary drinks 

Soda drinks and juices are packed full of sugar, making it difficult to control blood sugar levels. 

If your loved one enjoys flavors, they can try adding a slice of lemon, lime, cucumber, or watermelon to their water. 

The Kensington Sierra Madre provides the best nutrition for your loved one

Our assisted living and memory care communities are designed with your loved one’s comfort and needs in mind. 

We can support seniors with even the highest of care needs and assist them in maintaining and improving their quality of life. 

Chef Dusko is passionate about food, flavor, and tending to our resident’s nutritional needs.

Whether your loved one needs to follow a heart-healthy or diabetic diet or pureed meal, he can accommodate. 

If your loved one has difficulties swallowing, our HeritagePro rehabilitation therapists can help them regain the skills they need to eat. 

Together, our team ensures that our residents can truly age in place, with good health and happiness.

Learn more about The Kensington’s levels of care

The Kensington Sierra Madre is an assisted living and memory care community located in Sierra Madre, California. 

We know how difficult it can be to transition a loved one to a senior living community, which is why we made it Our Promise to love and care for your family as we do our own. 

To maintain this promise we offer: 

Contact us or check out our blog to learn more about our safe and beautiful communities, caregiver resources, and upcoming events.

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