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How People with Diabetes Can Still Eat Desserts

How People with Diabetes Can Still Eat Desserts

When one is diagnosed with diabetes, the first thought that many have is they must say goodbye to desserts and other sweet treats forever.  However, just because you have been diagnosed with diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself once in awhile.

It is true that you must severely limit your sweet treats and, in most cases, it’s best to reserve sweets and other desserts for special occasions so you don’t miss out. However, with a little planning you can still have your favorite dessert every now and then while still managing your disease.

The Truth About Sugar

One of the biggest myths about diabetes is that it is caused by eating too much sugar.  However, sugar has absolutely nothing to do with developing type 1 diabetes and the issue is even more complicated for those that develop type 2 diabetes.

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One of the biggest risk factors for type 2 diabetes is being overweight, but a diet that is high in calories that contribute to excessive weight gain can come from a variety of foods.  However, research has shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes, and the American Diabetes Association recommends that people limit their intake of these sweet beverages.

Any type of carbohydrate can raise blood sugar levels.  However, these carbohydrates can come from multiple sources and the total amount of carbohydrates you eat affects blood sugar levels much more than simply the type.  So what does this mean for you?  Most experts today agree that diabetics can substitute small amounts of sure for other sources of carbohydrates while still keeping your blood sugar levels in check.

This doesn’t mean that you can eat sugar all the time or whenever you want.  You must carefully plan when you are going to have that sweet treat and be sure you eliminate other sources of carbohydrates on the day that you choose to have your dessert.

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How to Incorporate Desserts into a Diabetes Friendly Meal Plan

When you decide that you want to include a small dessert into your meal plan, you must carefully plan your meals for the day.  Remember, you must eliminate one or more of your carbohydrates for the day in order to be able to enjoy that sweet treat.

Some common foods that you eat that contain carbohydrates are:

  • Bread
  • Crackers
  • Rice
  • Fruit
  • Potatoes
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Juice
  • Milk
  • Cereal
  • Yogurt

On average, a person should have 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates at meals.  In order to include your favorite dessert, you must eliminate some of your sources of carbohydrates.  Remember, serving sizes are important and if you have a hard time eliminating your favorite carbohydrate for the day try cutting back on how much of it you eat instead.

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Sweet Recipes Diabetics Will Love

In addition to your favorite desserts, there are many types of sweet treats you can make that are more diabetic friendly.  For example, you can create your own sherbet using buttermilk, blackberries and lime.  By mixing these ingredients together and placing it in the freezer, you can easily make a diabetic friendly dessert that is both great tasting and good for you.

If you enjoy something a little sweet at breakfast time, why not mix it up a bit with a broiled grapefruit.  Simply cut a grapefruit in half and lightly sprinkle it with brown sugar and cinnamon and broil it in your oven for five minutes.  This treat is healthy and loaded with antioxidants and won’t drive your blood sugar through the roof when you eat it.

Just because you have been diagnosed with diabetes it doesn’t mean that you have to give up sweets for the rest of your life.  You can still enjoy your favorite dessert on occasion.  However, you must plan ahead and tailor your meal plan for the day in preparation for enjoying that divine dessert.  With proper planning, you can be sure your blood sugar levels stay in a normal, healthy range while still enjoying the sweet taste of your favorite dessert.

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Featured photo credit: Table of Sweets via picjumbo.com

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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