Diabetes and High blood pressure (hypertension) are the two most common chronic diseases that have reached epidemic magnitude around the world affecting adults and children alike. When diseases such as these affect the lifestyle of people, it is important to maintain a healthy diet to avoid serious consequences that may further lead to heart diseases, kidney problem and various other complications.
Two of the most common diseases experienced by people are diabetes and high blood pressure with a majority of the population experiencing these diseases. If you are suffering from these diseases, there are certain foods that can complicate these issues. With diabetes, the main culprit is carbohydrates and blood sugar elevating agents, while for high blood pressure, the sodium and salt content in food should remain within the levels of less than 2300mg per day as well as have a diet that is low in sugar, as this causes obesity which is linked to high blood pressure.
Foods to avoid in diabetes
They are extremely high in their carbohydrate content, just from the extremely high sugar content that beverages like soda or sweetened iced tea or lemonades have, as well as are loaded with fructose which can cause insulin resistance in diabetes or high blood pressure. Moreover, the fructose levels can cause heightened triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
Trans fats, created by hydrogenating unsaturated fatty acids are present in a wide variety of foods like peanut butter, margarine, creamers, food spreads, frozen dinners and to baked goods like crackers and muffins. Though trans-fat doesn’t raise blood sugar levels, they are linked to insulin resistance, inflammation and belly fat as well as lowering the good cholesterol in the body. This may lead to an increased risk of coronary diseases.
White Bread, Rice and Pasta
These types of food are extremely high in their carbohydrate content and foods made from refined flour have shown to be capable of increasing levels of sugar in the blood. Moreover, gluten-free foods can also raise blood sugar and have very little fibers that reduce the rate of absorption of sugar in the bloodstream.
Flavored Coffee Based Drinks
Coffee has been shown to have a number of health benefits, one of the most important one being that of a reduced risk of diabetes, however, flavored coffee based drinks are like a liquid dessert and not a healthy beverage. Choosing espresso or plain coffee with cream is a good substitute that is healthier for your body.
Honey, Maple Syrup and Agave Nectar
People afflicted with diabetes often try to cut out sugar and other treats, often leading people to opt for alternatives like brown sugar and natural sugar like agave nectar, maple syrup or honey. Though not processed, they have as much sugar as sugar and can increase insulin, blood sugar and inflammatory markers.
Vegetables to avoid for diabetes
Potatoes and sweet potatoes
Potatoes and sweet potatoes have a high content of starch and sugars and can be an issue for people with diabetes with their high glycemic index. Avoid potatoes in any shape or form.
Yams are starchy root vegetables that grow below the earth and are used in certain dishes. Like potatoes, they can increase blood sugar levels.
Though not sweet, they are starchy and if you are going to consume beans, opt for boiled beans in small portions.
Beet root, like potatoes and yams grow under the earth and has a high sugar content. The benefits outweigh the sugar content, so it is good to restrict the portions rather than eliminating it.
Squash is very sweet and has a high glycemic index and thus, should be eliminated from your diet as much as possible.
Tomatoes are extremely sweet and can be a problem for diabetics.
Sweet corn is extremely starchy and would be a good vegetable to avoid from a diet for a diabetic.
Types of food to avoid for high blood pressure
Foods to exclude from your diet include
Despite claiming to be healthy, they are loaded with sodium and salt. If you must buy pre-made soups, look for ones that are low-sodium.
Deli meats and processed meat products such as sausages, salami or other types of processed meats are packed full of sodium and are not a good option for people with high blood pressure. Use fresh cuts to avoid the hidden sodium levels.
Candy and other sweet treats are not good for either diabetics or people with high blood pressure. Swap out the candy for fresh fruits as these give you nothing apart from empty calories that can lead to weight gain and increased risk of high blood pressure.
Like in diabetes, these contribute to a lot of excess sugar as compared to fresh fruit juices.
They are filled with both salt and sugar making them extremely bad for people with high blood pressure. Use fresh herbs for seasoning instead.
Fruits to avoid for diabetes and high blood pressure
Fresh fruits can be great options for people with diabetes and blood pressure as they have a good level of nutrients that can be great for health. However, consuming fruits that are processed generally tend to be unhealthy because of the high sugar levels, which can be problematic for both diseases.
Fruits are great sources of vitamins and minerals, including potassium and vitamin C. However, dried fruits are not good for people with diabetes or high blood pressure since due to the drying process, the nutrients and sugar content becomes concentrated with a much greater index of carb content in comparison to fresh fruit variants. If you want to incorporate fruit into your diet, fresh fruit is the best option to go for.
Though fruit juices are thought of being healthy, the effects on blood sugar levels are almost the same as other sweetened drinks like sodas, even in the case of unsweetened fruit juices as well as types that contain extra added sugar. They are also loaded in fructose, which increases obesity, insulin resistance, increased blood pressure and heart diseases. Other alternatives include water with lemon or other freshly squeezed, unsweetened juices.
Fruit leathers and fruit rollups are again a complete no-no when it comes to fruit that is good for your health as a diabetic as they are extremely high in their sugar content levels. They are also pretty high in the levels of carbohydrates and can be a very bad choice for people who are diabetics or have high blood pressure.
Jams and jellies or preserves contain an abnormally high level of sugar which is added to make the preserve last longer and to break down the fruit. These types of food are also extremely high in the levels of carbohydrates stemming from the levels of sugar in these kinds of fruit. Their sugar to fiber content is also pretty low and is not a good option for diabetics or people with high blood pressure.
While plain yogurt contains probiotics that make it a good option for people with diabetes and high blood pressure, the fruit-flavored and artificially flavored yogurts are made from low fat milk and is packed full of carbs and sugars. With over 47gms per one cup of fruit flavored yogurt, it is definitely not the healthier alternative that people think it to be. Choosing plain whole-milk based yogurt with low sugar levels can be better for your appetite, gut health and weight management.
Vegetables to avoid for diabetes and high blood pressure
While for diabetes, there are a number of vegetables that are extremely problematic and can cause an increase in blood sugar levels, most vegetables are great for controlling high blood pressure levels and the only exceptions are processed vegetable products that are extremely rich in salt and sugar. These are some of the foods that you need to cut out of your diet if you have diabetes and/or high blood pressure.
Vegetables to avoid in high blood pressure
Loaded with sodium which is used to preserve the canned beans, this is a food that you should avoid for high blood pressure. Rinse thoroughly before use to reduce the salt content if you are going to be consuming them.
Tomato ketchup, sauce or paste is loaded with salt and sugar and this is one of the biggest contributors to the raising of blood pressure levels. If you must use tomatoes, opt for fresh tomatoes against any type of processed products.
Though sauerkraut is made from cabbage and is very low in calories, consuming sauerkraut can lead to extremely elevated levels of salt, which can definitely be problematic for people with high blood pressure.
Though extremely common in nature, these two diseases can claim lives if allowed to progress unchecked. High blood pressure is linked to strokes or heart attacks and diabetes can lead to loss of sight, loss of limbs and other horrific effects if allowed to continue unchecked. These are some of the foods that are problematic for people with diabetes and high blood pressure. With an elimination of the problem foods and managing your diet to increase consumption of foods that can be beneficial can reduce the effects of these diseases and can help to keep them in check.