November is National Diabetes Month and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that there are more than 30 million Americans with diabetes. The majority of people have type 2 diabetes and their numbers are rising and increasing at an alarming rate, so much so, that some refer to it as the “diabetes epidemic.” The CDC reports that the rate of diabetes has tripled over the last 20 years and diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US.
Type 2 diabetes puts tremendous psychological demands on people and many people afflicted with type 2 diabetes suffer from depression. In fact, a review showed that depression is three times more common in people with type 2 diabetes than in the non-diabetic population.
Unlike type 1 diabetes, which has a strong genetic makeup, type 2 diabetes is believed to be preventable by maintaining a good weight, engaging in physical exercise, following a good healthy diet, cutting down on drinking alcoholic beverages and quitting smoking.
In January, 2018, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American College of Endocrinology published new guidelines suggesting that a plant-based diet is the best nutrition plan for people with diabetes, as it is high in fiber, low in calories, low glycemic index (starches and sugar) and high in phytochemicals and antioxidants. This was based on a large body of research that shows that cutting back on animal foods, especially red meat and processed meat, leads to improvement in managing diabetes. Plant-based diets consist of cutting out or limiting animal products, especially red meat and processed meat and consuming generous amounts of fruits, vegetables, seeds, whole grains, nuts and legumes
Results of a systematic review that were published October, 2018, in the BMJ Open Diabetes and World Care concluded that a plant-based diet brought significant improvement in both emotional and physical well-being in people suffering from type 2 diabetes. There were improvements in mood, psychological well-being, quality of life and improvement of symptoms of depression. On the physical side there were improvements in weight, general health, significant improvements in nerve pain (neuropathy) and decreases in the blood levels of HbA1c, triglycerides and cholesterol.
The review analyzed 11 studies that had been carried out from 1999 to 2017 on the dietary habits of people with type 2 diabetes. Most of the studies had been carried out in the US, while the others were from the Czech Republic, New Zealand, Italy and South Korea.
The researchers conclude that plant-based diets that are accompanied with educational instruction can significantly improve the psychological health, quality of life, weight, HbA1c levels, neuropathic pain and blood levels of cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association offers tips on meal planning for plant-based diets since research shows that following a plant-based diet can prevent and manage diabetes.
Life-long habits are not easy to break and people who have gotten used to eating a high meat and processed meat diet may not find it easy to switch to soy. However, there are many plant-based products that mimic meat like veggie burgers, soy hot dogs, black bean burgers, veggie patties and more.
Diabetes presents a high risk for contracting other diseases like coronary heart disease, strokes, kidney disease, blindness and infections that can lead to amputations of legs, toes or feet. If you or your loved one are in need of a rehab where there is excellent therapy and care then check out the Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center is a 5-star rehabilitation facility that is expertise in stroke rehabilitation, post surgery, post cardiac surgery exercise, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, palliative care and more plus great entertainment and integrated therapy programs that include music therapy and pet therapy.
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Since diabetes is such a demanding disease with all kinds of possible complications, it pays to try something that might help like a plant-based diet.
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