“Don’t focus on how much you eat, focus on what you eat”. When it comes to diabetes, this wise old saying holds great importance. This is because diabetes is a nutritional wasting disease. When blood sugar levels rise, the body tends to wash out the excess sugar through urination. Unfortunately, along with the sugar, valuable nutrients also get washed out. You need to understand the relationship between nutritional deficiencies and type 2 diabetes.   

Studies show us that most of the diabetic patients are found to deficient in important vitamins and minerals. What’s more, the loss of these vitamins makes it harder to manage blood sugar levels, thereby creating a vicious cycle.

So, what can you do? Focus on what you eat and get the right nutrients in your diet. Once you do that, you can stabilize blood sugar levels and take charge.

Nutritional Deficiencies and Type 2 Diabetes

As a result of nutritional deficiencies associated with diabetes, body parts begin to fail. Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, and stroke. Let’s take a look at the important nutrients essential for diabetes management:

1. Magnesium 

This potent mineral has a strong influence on blood sugars, along with a host of metabolic processes. Getting the recommended intake of 420mg for men and 320 mg for women will lower your risk for diabetes and possibly help manage it better if you have diabetes.

As magnesium levels go down, glucose control goes down too as magnesium is involved in glucose transfer across cell membranes and improves insulin resistance.

Find it in Food: Avocados, black beans, bread, brown rice, nuts, leafy vegetables, soy milk

2. Zinc

A water-soluble nutrient that gets flushed out of the system and as a result, many diabetics have low zinc levels. Zinc deficiency leads to weakened immune system especially in the T-cell functions, leading to more infections and non-healing mouth ulcers.

Find it in Food: pumpkin seeds, cashew, chickpeas, spinach, mushroom, yogurt, chicken

3. Fiber

Fiber is always a win-win when it comes to essential nutrients, no matter what you are trying to improve. Especially in diabetes management, it is not just a recommendation, but a necessity. Why is it so? Simply, because it keeps you full for a longer span of time, slows down sugar and good for your overall wellbeing.

Fiber ensures that you don’t get that sugar rush or insulin spikes when you consume a candy or sweets. So, always aim to fill your plate with fiber-rich foods.

Find it in Food: Lentils, Red kidney beans, artichoke, broccoli, avocado, barley, oatmeal

4. B Complex Vitamins

B6, B12 and Folic Acid are water soluble and so prone to be lost via excessive urination from diabetes.  It can lead to grave complications including glucose intolerance, increase in homocysteine and risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Find it in Food: B12 – Tuna, egg, clams and salmon, B6: Nuts, spinach, watermelon, chickpeas and squash., Folic Acid: Leafy greens, asparagus, okra, flax seeds, almonds, cauliflower, carrot

5. Chromium

Like magnesium, this mineral also helps regulate blood sugar and influences how insulin is used in the body overall. It beats sugar cravings and is an essential nutrient for normal carbohydrate metabolism. In fact, clinical studies have proven that chromium may improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.

Find it in Food: Broccoli, barley, grapes, beef, green beans, tomatoes, Lettuce

6. Vitamin D

This sunshine vitamin, apart from promoting bone health, also supports the immune system in such a way that it can help avert Type 1 Diabetes. Studies suggest that early consumption of Vitamin D prevents autoimmune attacks on the cells of the pancreas.

Moreover, it also helps with Type 2 Diabetes with its strong influence on insulin synthesis and secretion.

Find it in Food: Cod liver oil, tuna, eggs, caviar, mushrooms, sardine

To know more on Vitamin D read SoulGuru’s article here

7. Chlorophyll

It is not the first thing diabetics consider, but it’s a powerful nutrient with immense health benefits. Don’t ignore the green foods – the deeper the green hue, the more chlorophyll it contains. So how does it actually influence blood sugar? It cleanses the blood, reduces inflammation and also contains magnesium and blood sugar regulating properties.

Find it in Food: All Green Leafy Vegetables

8. Omega 3 Fatty Acid

This is another important nutrient that plays a good role in improving insulin resistance. A study from Harvard University has discovered that it stimulates the production of a hormone called adiponectin that plays a beneficial role in blood sugar regulation, metabolism, and inflammation.

Find it in Food: Flaxseed, canola, salmon, fish oil

Key Takeaways

As seen, you can get your important nutrients by consuming natural foods – that is foods that don’t come in a box, can or jar and which don’t contain complex ingredients that you can hardly pronounce. So, it’s wise to avoid processed foods and stick with natural sources always. Supplement your diet with these nutrients and keep your diabetes under control.

Importance of Vitamin B12 for Health – Functions and Deficiency

Top 5 Benefits of Dietary Fiber: Boost Health and Prevent Chronic Diseases

Vitamin D – Why This Prohormone Is Important For Your Health