We’ve heard it everywhere that a plant-based diet is the best way to live a healthy lifestyle and get rid of many conditions which are the result of unhealthy life choices, lack of nutrients, alcohol, smoking, lack of physical activity, stress, and more.
There’s plenty of research to back up this data. The negative effects of diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, can also be minimized by following a healthy eating regime.
Doctors and dietitians put healthy eating at the top of the recommendations for patients suffering from high blood pressure.
What healthy, plant-based food does is it enriches the body with the right nutrients that sustain a proper functioning of the organs.
For patients with diabetes, clean food helps them control their weight, lower cholesterol and improve insulin sensitivity. All three are great ways to lower glucose levels.
Over the years, vegetarianism has become a trendy lifestyle of celebrities, influencers, politicians, mindfulness practitioners, and also people that want to make some positive changes to their lives.
But let’s have a closer look at how and why vegetarianism is actually good when struggling with diabetes.
Why vegetarianism helps control diabetes
Vegetarianism is often mistaken for veganism. It is important to know and understand the difference. Veganism eliminates all animal-based products from the diet (meat, eggs, cheese, honey) for either ethical or health concerns. People who practice a stricter vegan lifestyle exclude all forms of animal cruelty and exploitation.
There are less vegans than vegetarians because the latter is generally less strict. Vegetarianism eliminates animal-based foods (exception being eggs, cheese, milk, honey).
When you look into vegetarianism more closely, you will find there are more variations with their own specific names.
Whether you decide to become vegan or vegetarian – it’s a matter of personal choice. Both rely on plant-based eating. However, the stricter you get with it – the more important it is to understand your macronutrient sources like protein as animal-based products are high in protein. Therefore, lack of meat should be replaced with good plant-based alternatives high in protein.
Good plant-based protein sources are nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, yogurt, eggs, cheese. They should always be a part of your daily eating plan. Another important thing you have to ensure when going vegetarian is that you’ve not replaced animal-based food with carbohydrates.
Unfortunately, this is a common tendency. In diabetes, this could lead to severe consequences. Keep your carb intake low and count the carbs you eat a day if you plan on going vegetarian.
Truth is that you don’t have to completely eliminate meat to manage type 2 diabetes. It’s your personal choice, and as long as your dietitian or doctor does not completely prohibit meat, you’re free to eat it.
However, especially in diabetes, eating a plant-based diet is mandatory to stabilize glucose. Your food has to be rich in fiber, antioxidants, non-starchy vegetables and fruits of all colours to meet your nutrient requirements for the day.
A colourful diet is extremely important as different colours have their own shades of nutritional value. The daily recommendation is to eat at least 5 different fruits and vegetables a day each of a different colour.