Making lifestyle changes to help manage type 2 diabetes can sometimes be a challenge. It might entail getting more exercise, taking special medications, monitoring your blood glucose levels or entirely rethinking what you eat.
Thankfully, that last bit isn’t too difficult. An easy way to take care of your health when you have type 2 diabetes is to include more seafood in your diet. The American Heart Association already suggests that everyone should be eating at least two servings of seafood a week. But diabetics may benefit more than others from having more fish. Why is that? Well, there are a few reasons.
Seafood Doesn’t Contain Carbohydrates
People end up getting type 2 diabetes when their bodies have trouble processing insulin, a hormone that helps our cells convert glucose into energy. When glucose can’t be used properly, it builds up in the blood. This can have serious long-term consequences, such as heart disease, kidney disease and nerve damage. That means foods that are free of glucose are a diabetic’s friend—and fish, like other meats, fits the bill. It doesn’t contain carbohydrates, and so it doesn’t make blood glucose levels go up.
Seafood is Low in Trans and Saturated Fats
What sets fish apart from other meat products is that it’s also low in trans and saturated fats. And for people living with diabetes, that’s a huge plus. Maintaining a healthy body weight, a healthy heart and low levels of cholesterol reduces the risk of many complications associated with the disease. That doesn’t mean that fish are fat-free. But their fats are unsaturated, and therefore benign. They also contain fatty acids.
Seafood Contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids
In this context, the word “fatty” might sound a bit misleading. Some fatty acids, such as omega-3s, are amazing when it comes to combatting heart disease, cholesterol and high blood pressure. This makes fish an ideal food for people managing diabetes, as well as those hoping to prevent the disease. Studies have shown that people who consume less seafood may have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes. These findings aren’t all that surprising, considering that increased rates of diabetes are often related to increased rates of obesity, and fish is a very lean food.
Which Types of Seafood Should Diabetics Eat?
You can often tell which types of fish are the leanest because they have white flesh when they’re cooked. An excellent example would be Tilapia. Fish that are pinker, such as mackerel and salmon, are also fattier—which means they may have more of those healthy omega-3s. Diabetics benefit from both types: lean fish help with body weight, while fattier fish increase heart health and decrease blood pressure.
For those living with diabetes, as well as those trying to avoid it, you can’t go wrong with seafood. Even if you’re not, it’s always good to have a variety of fish in your diet. Make sure to invest in premium-quality products from credible producers. When you’re taking care of your health, you should always have the best of the best.
Looking for more ways to stay healthy? Learn about lifestyle habits that promote heart health, or try these ways to get protein without eating red meat.
Photo Credits: Dream79 / Shutterstock Inc., Jacek Chabraszewski / Shutterstock Inc., zhekoss / Shutterstock Inc.