Good nutrition is essential for everyone, but it is particularly important if you are living with diabetes. The deadliest complication of diabetes is heart disease. Diabetes experts recommend eating fish for cardiovascular health. Eating fish just once a week can reduce your risk by 40 per cent, according to a Harvard School of Public Health study. The fatty acids in fish reduce insulin resistance and inflammation in the body – a major contributor to coronary disease. But remember to choose your fish wisely, as some varieties are much better for managing or warding off diabetes than others. Here are 7 of the best fish varieties for diabetics.
Salmon is at the top of our list because it is high in omega-3, the “healthy” fats that can reduce the inflammation in your blood cells as well as help your cholesterol. The Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon are connected with a whole slew of other health benefits as well.
These benefits include heart, brain, and eye health. Salmon is also great for managing blood glucose levels and improving your body’s ability to respond to insulin. As with most fish, you have a number of healthy options for cooking salmon, including poaching, broiling, and baking.
It’s now thought that vitamin D deficiency might be a factor in many diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and diabetes.
Additionally, Herring is loaded with EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These fatty acids help prevent heart disease and keep the brain functioning properly. They are also effective in reducing inflammation in the body.
Tilapia is a low-fat, high-protein fish that is easy to find in both fresh and frozen fillets and even easier to prepare. Tilapia is great for diabetics because it has no carbohydrates and it is rich in fiber, which is helpful for diabetics in reducing the risk of arterial hypertension.
Tilapia is also rich in important nutrients that are helpful for the body including vitamin E and vitamin C. Tilapia also contains selenium, which can help balance or normalize glucose levels in the blood. Although tilapia is a great selection for diabetics, it is best to include other varieties of fish in your diet as well (Especially varieties that are high in omega-3 fatty acids.)
Canned sardines are a healthy choice for diabetics. Like salmon, sardines are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and protein, they are also cheap and have lower mercury labels than larger fish. Sardines are flavorful on their own or added to other dishes.
Sardines are very high in calcium and vitamin D, making them an excellent food to include as part of your diabetes diet. Just be sure to read labels to find brands low in salt. If you haven’t developed a taste for the canned variety, try grilling fresh sardines for a brighter flavor. Sardines are also a great addition to healthy soups, stews, and pasta.
Pacific mackerel is a fatty fish that contains about 3.2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per six-ounce serving. This high level of fatty acid can help lower artery-clogging LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while raising levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
Mackerel is also a good source of protein, iron, riboflavin, vitamin B12, selenium and niacin. Pacific Mackerel is occasionally available fresh, but it is most often canned and sold in grocery stores. Atlantic mackerel is available fresh, and it is low in mercury. Be sure to avoid king mackerel since it is a high-mercury fish. Mercury is a contaminant thought to impair blood-sugar control.
Besides being an excellent low-calorie source of protein, cod contains a variety of very important nutrients and has also been shown to be useful in a number of different health conditions. Like tilapia, cod is a white fish, but it makes a slightly firmer fillet that is easily adaptable to all methods of cooking.
Cod is an excellent choice for cardiovascular health because it is a good source of blood-thinning omega-3 fatty acids and an excellent source of vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. These two vitamins are needed to keep the levels low of a dangerous molecule called homocysteine. Homocysteine is directly damaging to blood vessel walls and high levels can greatly increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Tuna is the final excellent and low-calorie fish variety for your diabetes diet. Tuna provides you with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and other important micronutrients. Because many diabetics struggle with an elevated blood cholesterol level, tuna is a heart-healthy choice because you won’t have to worry about a spike in your blood sugar level. This is because it contains little to no carbohydrates and saturated fat.
Diabetics can make healthy tuna sandwiches by using whole grain bread to avoid refined carbohydrates and by using non-fat mayonnaise instead of regular. For an even healthier alternative, use cottage cheese in place of mayo — not only does this cut your fat intake, but it also provides a source of protein and calcium.
To learn more about how to lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, read this article here.
If you’re new to type 2 diabetes and would like introductory information see: Diabetes: An Introduction to the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.