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Diabetes Super foods!

By: Director of education – Jessica Cook MS, RD, LD, CDE

Super foods are functional foods that are used to prevent chronic disease or reduce complications of diseases. Super foods provide high levels of vitamins and minerals to help fight free radials in the body (anti-carcinogenic foods,) reduce the risk of heart disease, improve circulation and improve endothelial function.

Diabetes can cause multiple complications in the body such as poor circulation, heart disease, retinopathy (eye disease,) kidney disease and has been associated with fatty liver disease as well as high triglycerides. Therefore, utilizing super foods may be used to combat diabetes complications along with regular exercise, medications and blood glucose monitoring.

Here is a list of foods that have been shown to improve circulation, prevent heart disease, and enrich vitamin and minerals into your diet:

  • Wild Salmon: Contains omega 3 fatty acids that help reduce blood triglyceride levels, which can be elevated in people with insulin resistance. Wild Salmon contains vitamins B6, B-12, B1, iron, and lean protein. Use on fresh salads for lunch or dinner. Try using wild salmon to make delicious salmon cakes or add to breakfast omelets!
  • Cauliflower: Contains vitamin B1, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, anti-oxidants and folate. Cruciferous vegetables have also been shown to reduce the risk of cancer. The nutrients in cauliflower can promote circulation, reduce inflammation and can ease peripheral neuropathy. Try mashed cauliflower versus mashed potato or cauliflower fried rice versus white rice. Yum!
  • Turmeric or Curcumin: Contains curcumin, which has been shown to reduce inflammation, aids in antioxidant availability and improves circulation. Tumeric may also reverse progression of alzhiemer’s disease. Try adding tumeric to stews, curry, soups and scrambled eggs. Tumeric can also be sprinkled into smoothies. Do not supplement with turmeric in capsule form before speaking with your physician.
  • Eggs: Once considered a high cholesterol food, eggs are actually a great high protein breakfast to prevent blood sugar spikes and do not raise cholesterol in the blood! Eggs contain iron, folic acid, vitamins B-12, B-6, B-1, lean protein and vitamin D. Consuming eggs can help maintain lean muscle mass, aid in weight loss,  improves iron levels and bone density. Vegetable omelets are perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
  • Tomatoes: Contain potassium, lycopene, vitamin C, and folate. Tomatoes are high in antioxidants, which can reduce the risk of developing cancer. Also, drinking low sodium tomato juice everyday can quickly lower blood pressure and prevent leg cramping. Add tomatoes, to soups, stews, salad or snack on cherry tomatoes!
  • Beans: Contain potassium, fiber, folate, protein and are naturally a low glycemic index food. Beans have been shown to reduce cholesterol, create slower blood glucose spikes and increase satiety between meals. Add beans to salads, soups, stews or make home-made hummus for a delicious dip with vegetables!
  • Flaxseed: Contains fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, selenium, potassium and magnesium. Consuming whole flaxseeds may reduce cholesterol, triglycerides and aid in reducing Fatty Liver Disease. Add whole flaxseeds to yogurt, salads or make Flax eggs versus a chicken egg to reduce cholesterol levels. Also try using flaxseed oil in home-made salad dressings!
  • Avocados: Contains monounsaturated fats AKA cholesterol lowering healthy fats! Also, even though avocados are considered a fruit they not raise blood glucose levels. Avocados contain high levels of potassium, vitamin B-6, vitamin K, fiber and vitamin B-5. Add to smoothies, salads, sandwiches or fresh guacamole for a heart healthy dip or spread!
  • Beets: Contain natural nitrates, which lower blood pressure naturally! Beets also contain folate, manganese and potassium. Because of high levels of folate, beets can help the nervous system function properly and been shown to improve athletic performance in athletes. Add cooked beets to smoothies or salads. Try making home-made beet hummus or beet chips roasted in the oven for low carb chips… Yum!
  • Kale & Spinach: Rich in vitamin B1, Vitamin K, Folic Acid, Iron, Vitamin B6, calcium and fiber. Dark leafy greens can help improve circulation, reduce neuropathy and lower blood pressure. Try adding these greens to smoothies or make kale and spinach salads or stews to add more vegetables to dinner!
  • Sunflower seeds: Contains fiber, omega 6 fatty acids, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin E (Helps reduce Fatty Liver Disease), Niacin, Folate, Potassium, Zinc and Selenium (antioxidant!) Sunflower seeds are low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats! Try making your own nut and seed snacking mix to add to yogurt or sunflower seed butter versus regular butter on sprouted grain toast or crackers!
  • Garlic: Contains sulfuric compounds that reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Garlic also contains antioxidants, vitamin C, selenium and vitamin B6. Try adding garlic to home-made marinades, guacamole, salsa and salad dressings. Top on roasted vegetables, chicken or fish for extra flavor without extra salt!

While these foods are important to include in your diet to improve your health, it does not mean they will cure or prevent diabetes. Along with exercise, they may help reduce your risk of diabetes complications and heart disease. It is important to consult with a registered dietitian and your doctor before making a change in your diet to help you adjust if lower blood sugars occur. Adding more vegetables, fiber and leaner proteins to your diet such as these super foods may also result in weight loss, reduced blood pressure, lower cholesterol and lowered triglycerides.

If you would like to meet with a registered dietitian for a personal consultation to improve your diet please email or call 561-659-6336 extension 8012 for more information.


Thank you for taking time to read our Living Well with Diabetes June 2016 Newsletter.

Diabetic Drugs that Make You Lose Weight

By: William A. Kaye, MD

Dr. Kaye is President and founder of Palm Beach Diabetes and Endocrine Specialists, P.A. Dr. Kaye is Board Certified in Endocrinology, Nephrology, Internal Medicine.

Not all diabetic patients are concerned about their weight, but in my 35 years of specializing in treating people with diabetes, I can say that most are. Patients with diabetes who are trying to improve their health understand that the closer they are to a healthy weight, the easier it will be to control their diabetes. There are two fundamental reasons behind this correlation. First, the less one weighs, the less resistant one’s body is to its own naturally produced insulin.  Secondly, individuals whose weights are on the decline are most likely losing this weight because they are eating smaller amounts (assuming weight loss is not due to SGLT-2’s as explained below), and as a result less medication is necessary.

Some History and Explanations of Diabetes Medications & Weight Loss

When I first started to practice in the field of diabetes at Joslin Diabetes Center in the early 80’s, the only diabetes interventions available were insulin and a drug class known as sulphonylureas (e.g. Glimepiride, Glyburide, and Glipizide). Unfortunately, both of these classes of medications were associated with significant weight gain, resulting in a vicious cycle of weight gain and worsening insulin resistance, and thus a need for even more medication.

A light shone at the end of the tunnel in the mid-90’s when metformin, an oral glucose lowering medication, became available. Not only did metformin lower blood sugar, but it also had the beneficial side effect of causing weight loss. These beneficial side effects made metformin very popular and now it is frequently the first medication given to an individual with newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes. Metformin, which is currently free at Publix Pharmacy, is available under various brand names such as Glucophage.

Even more progress was made about a decade ago when another class of medication was discovered that decreased appetite in addition to lowering blood sugar and weight. This drug class was named GLP-1 agonists. Although they boost our insulin production, hypoglycemia does not occur because they only boost insulin when our sugars are too high. No hypoglycemia = less hunger!

In recent years, a novel class of diabetic medication has been developed which improves blood sugars by causing a loss of approximately 300 calorie a day through the urine. These medications are marketed under the names: Farxiga, Invokana, and Jardiance.  They belong to the class of SGLT-2 inhibitors which stands for Sodium Glucose Transport Inhibitors.

They are novel in terms of how they work.  SGLT-2 inhibitors work by blocking our kidneys’ ability to pull filtered glucose back into our blood, thus causing loss of glucose from the bloodstream into the urine. Overweight Type II diabetic patients have a better chance than ever at losing weight!!

A View Inside Your Doctor’s Head: Pathways to Success in Improving Diabetic Control and Weight Loss

When I first see a Type 2 diabetic patient I always try to create a team approach involving the patient, a nutritionist, a diabetes educator, and the doctor. Additionally, if the patient is overweight I will suggest that the nutritionist and patient consider removing ~500 calories from their diet. I often recommend that the patient be on a 40/30/30 diet: 40 percent complex carbohydrates, 30 percent “good” fat, and 30 percent lean proteins.

I like to use metformin as my first line medication if the following are true:

(1) The sugar levels are not dangerously high, and (2) there are no contraindications for the use of metformin. This combined approach of nutrition adherence and metformin is very powerful and is often enough to cause significant improvements in glucose and weight. However if optimal results are not obtained and more medication is needed, I will then choose between the GLP-1 class and the SGLT-2 class as a second drug. Some patients require all three mediations i.e. metformin, GLP-1, and SGLT-2 inhibitors. The combination of these three medications that all have weight loss side effects is extremely effective.

In my next blog post I will discuss how I choose between the oral SGLT-2 inhibitor class (300 calories of urine glucose lost a day) and the injectable GLP-1 class (suppression of appetite). In the meantime, please remember that diet and exercise are the two most important things that you can do to optimize your well-being. Our 1-2-3 program can teach you and provide reinforcement to do just that.

Please come join us for our quarterly:

Free Diabetes Support group

Monday June 27th

5:30 -7:00 P.M.

Abacoa Professional Center

550 Heritage Drive, Suite 150

Jupiter FL, 33458

Come learn about healthy appetite control, weight loss, diabetes super foods and current topics related to diabetes!

Featuring guest speakers Dr. Gary Pepper 

And Jessica Cook MS, RD, LD, CDE

Healthy Snacks will be provided!!

Call 561-659-6336 Ext. 8012 for reservations!

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