5 Cookbooks Every Diabetic Should Check Out

Food, insulin, and blood glucose levels are intricately intertwined in the body. But you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that healthy foods will benefit any individual living with diabetes.

Which foods are healthiest for diabetics? How can you make diabetic-friendly meals and stay within your budget? Look to these five diabetic cookbooks to find a wealth of information on diabetes and the recipes you need to keep your blood sugar under control.

The Glycemic-Load Diet: A Powerful New Program for Losing Weight and Reversing Insulin Resistance

Author: Dr. Rob Thompson The Glycemic-Load Diet

If you’re a diabetic, you’ve probably heard about the glycemic index. Essentially, every food with carbohydrates is assigned a number based on how much it raises blood glucose levels. In general, foods with lower numbers are healthier than food with higher numbers. However, as Dr. Rob Thompson points out in this book, there are some flaws in this methodology.

Dr. Thompson uses his book to explain a new concept: glycemic load. He outlines the importance of serving sizes and details how diabetics can use the principles of glycemic load to lose weight. His recipes promote eating whole foods that are quality sources of nutrition: meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, and the like.

Betty Crocker’s Diabetes Cookbook: Everyday Meals, Easy as 1-2-3

Authors: Dr. Richard M. Bergenstal, Diane Reader, and Maureen DoranBetty Crocker's Diabetes Cookbook

Coming from the queen bee of cookbooks, this one contains 140 recipes and includes the nutritional breakdown of every dish. The editors have even created a seven-day meal plan using recipes from the cookbook. The recipes are divided into eight sections, featuring everything from breakfast to dessert.

This cookbook also serves as an educational tool. The beginning pages outline the main aspects of diabetes and provide a Q & A page with answers from a dietician. There is also a helpful carbohydrate chart and a glossary of commonly used diabetic terms.

The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook: More than 175 Ultra-Tasty Recipes for Total Health and Weight Loss

Author: Dr. Mark HymanThe Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook

Dr. Mark Hyman is physician and well-respected author who has had seven books hit the #1-spot on the New York Times best sellers list. He’s a strong advocate of functional medicine—a patient-centered, whole-body treatment approach that focuses on the underlying causes of diseases.

In this cookbook, Dr. Hyman focuses on using proper nutrition to reverse diabetes and obesity. Before he lists any recipes, he encourages readers to take a series of quizzes to gauge the severity of their condition. He also provides guidelines for stocking the kitchen and shopping at the grocery store.

Finally, on to the recipes! Dr. Hyman doesn’t use any convenience foods, but instead focuses on a variety of real foods. These recipes are far from traditional “meat and potatoes” meals and many of the recipes take dedicated preparation, but the results are well worth it.

Biggest Book of Diabetic Recipes: More than 350 Great-Tasting Recipes for Living Well with Diabetes

Author: Better Homes & Gardens Editors Biggest Book of Diabetic Recipes

This diabetic cookbook is easy, straightforward, and a great option for beginners. The recipes utilize ingredients that are easy to find at any grocery store. Plus, they feature just the right spices to bring out the natural flavoring of foods without unnecessary added salt, sugar, or fat.

Unlike hardcover or paperback cookbooks, this collection of recipes is put together in a plastic spiral binding that allows the pages to lay flat on the countertop while you cook. Plus, it includes several days of meal plans and seven categories of recipes.

Diabetic Slow Cooker

Author: Diabetic Living Editors Diabetic Slow Cooker

Everyone loves slow cooker meals! They’re a cinch to prepare and the low-and-slow cooking time gives the food a great flavor. This cookbook from Diabetic Living gives diabetics quick tips on how to makeover traditional slow cooker meals and turn them into diabetic-friendly dishes.

There are 150 recipes in this book. You’ll find healthy recipes for chicken wings, meatballs, sandwiches, desserts, and much more. Plus, each recipe page also includes suggested side dishes and nutritional content.

Diabetes Clinical Research

5 Ways to Increase Your HDL Cholesterol

HDL cholesterol

Cholesterol has gotten a bad rap in recent history. From pharmaceutical advertisements to food labeling, we are told to lower our cholesterol—and to do it now! While it’s true that lowering your LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels is the healthy thing to do, there is one type of cholesterol that you don’t want to lower. In fact, you actually want this cholesterol level to go as high as possible.

We’re talking about HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Raising your HDL levels can help keep your blood vessels healthy and reduce your risk of heart disease.

A Little Background on HDL Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty-feeling substance that is found throughout the body. LDL carries cholesterol through the bloodstream to your tissues and cells. This is an essential function for the body, but when there is too much cholesterol, it builds up on the walls of the arteries and that can lead to heart disease or other serious cardiovascular complications.
On the other hand, HDL removes LDL from the arteries and carries it back to the liver. At that point, it’s filtered out and excreted from the body. Since HDL works to clean out the blood vessels, it is referred to as “good” cholesterol. Having healthy levels of HDL can protect your body against cardiovascular diseases.

For every 1 mg/dL increase in HDL, your risk of having a cardiac event decreases by 2-3%.

Having low levels of HDL, even if your total cholesterol levels are healthy, can put you at risk for coronary heart disease and heart attack. Men who have levels below 40 mg/dL or women that have levels below 50 mg/dL are at risk. Both sexes should aim to have HDL levels of 60 mg/dL or above.

How to Increase Your HDL Levels

If you’re looking to raise your HDL levels, you have quite a few options to try. There are some cholesterol medications that can raise HDL, but here are five ways you can increase your HDL without making a trip to the doctor.

1. Adjust Your Diet

The two most important dietary factors for raising HDL levels are fats and fiber. Trans fatty acids reduce HDL levels, so you’ll want to avoid foods with trans fat. But you can go ahead and indulge (a little!) in monounsaturated fats. These fats raise HDL levels. Try to get more canola oil, olive oil, avocado, or peanut butter. As for fiber, try to add more soluble fiber into your diet. Experts recommend oatmeal, fruits and vegetables, and legumes.

2. Pour Yourself A Drink

Alcohol, in moderation, can raise HDL levels by as much as 4 mg/dL. Don’t go crazy with this one – experts recommend that women have one drink and men have two drinks, at most, per day. If you have liver disease, alcoholism, or a strong family history of alcohol abuse, you might reconsider this suggestion.

3. Quit Smoking

If you use tobacco products, giving up the habit could really help your blood vessels. Research shows that quitting smoking can raise HDL by up to 10 percent.

4. Stay Active

Engaging in regular exercise can benefit your health in a number of ways, including raising your HDL levels. After two months of regular aerobic activity, you could increase your levels by up to 5 percent. Any activity that gets your heart pumping hard for 30 minutes per day will work.

5. Drop the Extra Pounds

Carrying around extra weight really taxes the cardiovascular system. To increase your HDL by 1 mg/dL, you will need to lose about six pounds.

Now that you know the facts about HDL cholesterol, challenge yourself to raise your levels. Simply start by asking your doctor to order a cholesterol blood test. Along with some other cholesterol information, this test will show you your current HDL levels. Then you can get to work—eat healthy, stay active, and don’t smoke! When you have your blood retested (experts recommend having a cholesterol test every five years), you’ll be able to see some heart-healthy results!

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Cholesterol clinical research

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Have You Tried An Elimination Diet?

The digestive tract is an intense environment. Acids are churning, muscles are contracting, and bacteria are feasting. If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the intestines can become an all out warzone. Gas, cramping, and bloating are just the tip of the iceberg!

These IBS symptoms can be set off by a variety of factors, but one of the most common triggers is food. Surprisingly, food triggers are different for every IBS patient. What causes severe symptoms in one patient may not cause any symptoms in another patient.

So how can you determine exactly which food triggers are affecting you? Doctors and IBS experts say that a systematic approach is best. If you’ve tried other dietary treatments without success, you may want to try an elimination diet. This may sound a bit scary at first, but if you give it a try, you may be able to make major progress in relieving your IBS symptoms.

What Is An Elimination Diet?

This is not a “diet” in the sense that you’re trying to lose weight. This “diet” is simply an eating plan that focuses on avoiding the foods that are most likely to cause IBS symptoms. The general process goes like this: you eliminate potentially offending foods and add them back into your diet one at a time. This way, you can immediately correlate your symptoms with the recently added trigger food.

How Does An IBS Elimination Diet Work?

If you’re suffering from IBS, you shouldn’t undergo an elimination diet without speaking with your doctor first. Once your doctor has given you the go-ahead, you can begin the diet by keeping a food journal for two or three weeks. Don’t change what you’re eating during this time—just methodically record what you’re eating and any symptoms you’re feeling. You may also want to write down any medications you’re taking or any stress, anxiety, or depression that you’re feeling.

After you have a complete food diary, study it and try to find relationships between the food and your symptoms. If certain foods stand out, you should add those triggers to your elimination list. If you don’t see any clear-cut offending foods, start your elimination list with the most common IBS dietary triggers: dairy, wheat/gluten, high fructose corn syrup, eggs, excessive fiber, sorbitol, chocolate, coffee, caffeine, and nuts.

Once you have your list of potential triggers, there are a few different ways to go forward. The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) suggests eliminating the foods one at a time for 12 weeks. For example, if you believe coffee is causing your symptoms, stop drinking it for 12 weeks and keep everything else about your diet the same. If your symptoms disappear over the course of 12 weeks, you know that coffee is one of your IBS triggers. If your symptoms are still raging, try eliminating another food for 12 weeks. Keep going until your symptoms are alleviated.

Other experts recommend eliminating all potential triggers for a period of two weeks. After that, you can add foods back into your diet one at a time. For example, if you believe both coffee and wheat were causing your IBS problems, you should stop eating both for two weeks. Then, on day 15, you will drink coffee again for one day. Wait 48 hours and see if you have any symptoms. If you do, that means that coffee is a trigger. If you don’t have symptoms, eat wheat for one day and wait 48 hours to see if any symptoms develop. You will continue adding foods back to your diet until you felt symptoms. When you do feel symptoms, the most recently added food is the culprit.

This Sounds Really Unfair!

The elimination diet isn’t easy and it is unfortunate that you have to deprive yourself of some types of foods. However, sticking with the diet for two weeks or more could really improve your health. It may be difficult now, but staying committed for just 14 days could mean a lifetime of lessened IBS symptoms.

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Irritable bowel syndrome study

Why Diabetics are at Risk for High Cholesterol

cholesterol.word.cloud

One of the most important things a diabetic can know is how their blood glucose levels can affect the other parts of the body. Even though the body is broken down into various systems, ie cardiac, respiratory, muscles, etc, they all work together and are affected by one another. Any disorder in the body, even if it is technically isolated to one part, can have effects on other systems. For example, someone with a respiratory disorder has trouble bringing in oxygen. This can make the heart work harder to get oxygen to the rest of the body.

Due to the set up of the human body, diabetes can actually cause high cholesterol levels, especially if blood glucose levels are not controlled. The various chemicals (hormones) that are secreted by the pancreas have control over cholesterol levels and blood sugars. Here, we will explain how the pancreas works, and how the effects of diabetes can prevent the body from being able to control your cholesterol levels and vice versa.

The Role of the Pancreas

The association of high cholesterol and diabetes is because the pancreas has the ability to control both in many situations. However, the effects diabetes has on the pancreas can actually prevent the body from properly managing cholesterol.

When you eat, the pancreas secretes several different chemicals. These chemicals are pushed into the digestive system and others into the blood stream to help break down various parts of your meal. This will answer a lot of questions about diabetes, and also make you aware of other problems you could encounter while trying to get your blood glucose levels under control.

The first set of chemicals that are secreted are Trypsin and chymotrypsin, which are essentially fancy names for chemicals that break down the proteins found in meats, beans, cheese, and lentils.

The second chemical that is secreted is Amylase, it is sent to break carbohydrates down into usable energy.

The third chemical that is secreted is Lipase, it is used to break down fats into useable and unusable parts, fatty acids and cholesterol.

The relation that this has to diabetes is due to other hormones that are created in the pancreas, these go straight into the blood stream. Insulin is created and released into the blood stream when the body senses that the blood sugar is too high, and to counteract low blood sugar it releases glucogen.

Diabetics do not create enough insulin in their pancreas to properly manage blood sugar. Damage to the pancreas that is caused by diabetes can also limit the amount of lipase that is produced. This can cause cholesterol to build up faster than it typically would.

The Relation between Diabetes and High Cholesterol

Because the body is focused on trying to create insulin that it cannot, the pancreas does not have all of the intended focus on breaking down fatty acids and cholesterol, which allows more of it to slip into the blood stream through the intestines. This means that diabetics are at a higher risk for developing high cholesterol especially if their blood sugars are not controlled.

Because the body is preoccupied, it doesn’t have time to sort out good cholesterol (HDL) from good cholesterol (LDL).  Studies have shown that people with diabetes have up to a 40% increase in LDL levels which is essentially the basis of high cholesterol.

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Cholesterol CTA

4 Ways to Help Your Insulin Work For You

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When diet and exercise alone cannot control the ups and downs in your blood sugar, insulin may be your only option. Insulin is not a miracle cure, and even though it can help maintain your blood sugars, it is important that you do your best to ensure that your dose stays as low, instead of your doctor needing to increase it on regular intervals. Here are some ways that you can help your insulin work for you.

1. Quit Smoking

Smoking is one of the worst habits that any diabetic can have. It is not healthy for anyone, but diabetics cans suffer long term because of the effects it has on their bodies.

Studies have shown that your blood sugar can increase by 30% from the first puff of a cigarette. Your blood sugar will not begin to regulate for at least 30 minutes after the last puff. Nicotine has also been linked to diabetics developing insulin resistance, which means that your options for treatment will be dramatically reduced.

2. Eat Right

Studies have shown that one type of diabetic diet does not always work for everyone. The ideal diet for a diabetic is balancing fats, protein, and carbohydrates so that your body can make the best use of what you eat.  At times, the balance may need to be adjusted to ensure that your blood glucose levels stay within normal ranges.

Since the amount of carbohydrate, fat, and protein ratios may change according to your lifestyle, you may need to visit a dietitian to ensure that you are eating right, and balancing your meals and snacks efficiently. Many insurance plans will cover the visit to a dietitian for diabetics, check with your insurance company to find out if they are one of them.

Eating the right foods isn’t always enough. You should always eat at regular intervals throughout the day.  Many times, diabetics find it easier to control their blood sugar when they eat six small meals a day instead of three large meals every day.

3. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is very important to help maintain blood glucose levels. It is very important that you only exercise after meals. Studies have shown that exercising before meals can cause your blood sugar to become very high. Exercising after meals can help you maintain a better blood sugar because you are burning off the carbohydrates as energy, rather than allowing them to sit in your blood stream and raise your glucose level.

4. Lose Weight

Even though it sounds cliché, maintaining a healthy weight is essential to ensuring that your insulin will work. The less fat stores you have in your body, the easier it is for your body to remove glucose. Fat tends to hold in whatever it touches, carbohydrates are no different. This means that even if you are eating right, and following your medication plans, these extra fat stores could be at fault for increasing your blood sugar, sometimes to dangerous levels.

Diabetes Insulin CTA