Healthy lifestyle

Healthy eating

Eating your Greens: green peppers, kale, cabbage, spinach, celery, callaloo, brussel sprouts, vegetable broccoli, string beans, green peas, runner beans, lettuce, broad beans are all healthy products that one should aim to consume.

Eating your Reds. Most things red in colour as far as vegetables and fruits are healthy and should be consumed. Tomatoes, red grapes, red cabbage, red onions, beetroot, cherries, red berries, red plums, pomegranate, melon and red peppers to name a few.


Too much sugar is not good for anybody and even less so for diabetics or those who are predisposed to diabetes. So be mindful of one’s sugar intake and labelling in shops and supermarkets claiming to be sugar free, less sugar or low in content as that is not necessarily so. The effect of too much sugar even in tinned baked beans is an example in that regard. The clear message is watch ones sugar intake and even sweeteners are not all what it says on the label.


Too much salt is not good for anyone and can increase one’s blood pressure. Diabetes and high blood pressure tend to go hand in hand. Aim for natural herbs such as thyme, garlic, onions, basil, dill, sage, pimento and peppers to add flavours to food and dishes being prepared instead of the powder coated seasoning and other bottled ingredient such as soy sauce, ketchup and liquid seasoning which tend to be too salty. Also aim for natural salt such as sea salt instead of low sodium salt as it has a lot of added chemicals. The simple message here is to cut down on the intake of salt as it will be to ones benefit.

What type oil to cook your food?

This has always been a contentious area but aim for vegetable oil, sunflower oil, ground nut oil, olive oil, oil spray (one to two calories per pump).

What are the best cooking methods?

Boil, broil, bake, steam and grill. One should aim to do less frying and avoid deep fat frying at all cost.

What about lentils, pulses, legumes?

Lentils/ pulses/ legumes of which a whole variety of beans and peas spring to mind are a vital part of a healthy diet. The list of these is endless and they are highly recommended in forming part of a balanced nutritious diet.


Not all fruits cause your blood sugar level to skyrocket. Listed below are 10 super fruits that you can still enjoy despite being a diabetic. Nevertheless, it would be a good idea to consult with your doctor before consuming these fruits just to make sure you can really munch on these.


A serving of guava naturally has a low glycemic load and is very low in the glycemic index. It is also rich in fiber, and this combination makes it ideal in sustaining energy and stabilizing blood sugar levels. This helps prevents sudden drops or spikes in blood sugar. They also provide a huge vitamin C boost, and is ideal for people who want to lose weight. The fibers in guava make you feel fuller for a longer time, so you don’t need to eat as often.

Guava has a higher concentration of lycopene—an antioxidant that fights prostate cancer—than any other plant food, including tomatoes and watermelon guava

For diabetics, eating guava without its skin can reduce thesu gar absorption in your blood, according to an I-Shou University study. Since guava is rich in dietary fiber, it’s easy on your tummy, helps ease constipation (a common diabetic complaint) and can even lower the chance of developing type two diabetes.

Guava also improves circulation, which can boost brain function. The tropical fruit regulates blood pressure because of high potassium content. Potassium is said to reverse sodium's impact on the body.


When most people hear the word “cherry”, they immediately imagine it as an accompaniment for an ice cream sundae, but for diabetics, a cherry is a delicious and nutritious treat on its own!

Cherries are considered one of summer’s best treats. Its sweet taste is irresistible, but if you were diabetic, you would probably think twice before eating it. The good news is, cherries rank low in the glycemic index and even has the capacity to keep blood sugar levels down. cherries

Cherries also contain anthocyanins, highly effective antioxidants that give cherries its unique red hue, making cherries the perfect anti-aging supplement. Cherries also have anti-inflammatory properties. Hence, you should always include it in your low-carb diet for diabetics.

The great thing about cherries is its natural sweetness makes for a great syrup without any additional sugar, so if you need a sweet finish to your meals without making your blood sugar levels shoot up, simply macerate some cherries and cook them down in a bit of water. It makes for a good home-made cherry compote!


The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes wherein the body doesn’t produce or use insulin well. Insulin is a hormone crucial to diabetics, as it helps glucose enter your cells to give them energy.

Without insulin, glucose will linger in your blood, and serious problems could arise if its levels shoot up. Individuals suffering from type 2 diabetes are more particular about their food and drink intake, and oranges happen to be one of the fruits diabetics can enjoy. It doesn’t contain very high natural sugar and contains low glycemic load and glycemic index per serving.  oranges

Moreover, oranges contain a high amount of soluble fiber that helps it reduce blood cholesterol and maintain balanced blood sugar levels. Who doesn’t love oranges? They definitely invoke the memory of tropical beaches with their smell and taste.

Simply opening an orange release a cloud of citrusy fragrance, which will definitely get you in the mood to gobble down these delicious babies.


Aside from being low in glycemic index, apples are rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that manages blood sugar levels. Pectin also works to lower cholesterol. Moreover, it has anti-inflammatory properties that help diabetics recover from infections faster.

In addition, apples are rich in antioxidants capable of boosting the body’s immune system. Apples are also loaded with quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that reduces the body’s susceptibility to type 2 diabetes, given that it can reduce levels of sorbitol – a type of sugar that builds up in the nerve and kidney cells and in cells inside the eyes of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. apples

Apples are a great snack because they fill you up, and wake you up at the same time- perfect for an afternoon snack at work

Apples are perhaps the quintessential “summer” fruit, because who doesn’t love a freshly-made apple pie with a huge scoop of ice cream? For diabetics, they can skip all the sugary junk and just go for the sweet, natural goodness of the apples themselves.


Plums, along with its family consisting of almonds, peaches, and nectarines, have bioactive compounds that have the potential to fight off cardiovascular diseases and diabetes that are often obesity-related. plums

Plums also contain an abundance of phytonutrients and antioxidants, as well as minerals like potassium, fluoride, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E.

The most common plums available on the market are canned plums, but since they are usually submerged in syrup, they pack more than twice the sugar of plain plums.

Go for fresh plums, or if they are unavailable, unsweetened, dried plums will also go. Even just three pieces of fresh plums can provide the required 60-calorie, 15-carbohydrates per serving on the diabetes exchange list.


Despite its sweetness, it’s comforting to know that pears have low glycemic index, yet are rich in minerals, nutrients, and fiber that enhance digestive health, reduce cholesterol, and manage blood sugar levels.

Pears are also low in calories and carbohydrates, which make them a healthy snack option for people with diabetes. In fact, a medium-sized pear contains only about 26 grams of carbohydrates and 100 calories.  pears

One medium-size pear contains 26 grams of carbohydrates and just 100 calories. Pears are a great alternative choice for “junky” snacks such as chips and bread because they are filling, naturally sweet, and they provide a satisfying crunch!

Studies have shown that, for those who are craving snacks, the texture or the “crunch” is an important factor (which explains the popularity of potato chips).

Strawberries (And Other Berries)

Contrary to what some people think, strawberries are actually part of a healthy and balanced diet for diabetics. Not only do strawberries and some berries have low glycemic load per serving but they also help fight free radicals, one of the causes of cancer.

Strawberries are likewise packed with antioxidants that help boost the immune system. Moreover, strawberries and other berries are capable of reducing eye damage and preventing one against retinal degeneration. Strawberries And Other Berries)

Just like guavas, the great thing about berries is how versatile they are in terms of food. They can be eaten fresh and raw (the best way), or blended into a smoothie as a natural sweetener. Again with many fruits, the fresher and the closer to the natural state, the better. Avoid the “sweetened”, canned versions of berries.

Also, avoid processed berries, such as those used for cheesecake desserts. They are usually just a low percent of mashed berries, and a lot of sugar and syrup.


Grapes are normally sweet and contain a high amount of sugar, but diabetics can still munch on these yummies. Why is that? Well, grapes fall under the classification of fruits with low glycemic index. In addition, grapes have a low glycemic load per serving.

Grapes have many health benefits and contain fiber, which works to slow down digestion and absorption of nutrients that minimizes impact on your blood sugar. Nevertheless, diabetics who wish to indulge in grapes need to be able to control their portions and manage their blood sugar levels. grapes

Yes, they are delicious, and sometimes it’s hard to just stop popping these little babies into your mouth. However, everything good in moderation! Also, here’s a bit of good news for diabetics: wine is good for you (but also in moderation, of course).

Research has shown that a glass of wine every night decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and all-cause mortality.


Please check with your doctor first if you are on medications before consuming this fruit as it is known to create complications in medication! If you are on diabetes or high blood pressure medication, it is best to keep away from this instead. Not to be confused with grapes, grapefruit is more like an orange. It is a type of citrus fruit, making it a wonderful supplier of vitamin C. It is naturally a highly effective organic antioxidant that helps fortify the body’s resistance to infections. Moreover, it protects cells from collapse caused by free radicals. 

Grapefruit is a wonderful supplier of vitamin C, just like the rest of the citrus family. It can help increase body resistance from infections because it is a highly effective organic antioxidant. It can also aid to protect cells to collapse caused by free radicals. Grapefruit

The fruit has the capability to sustain a healthy body weight and improve body sensitivity because of the flavonoids naringenin. Flavonoids naringenin have a bioactive effect, working as antioxidants, free radical scavengers, anti-inflammatory agents, carbohydrate metabolism promoters, and immune system modulators.

Grapefruits are a great choice for a light and nutritious breakfast because it packs a punch in terms of both taste and nutrients. It also makes for a good accompaniment for oatmeal in the morning, or a mid-afternoon snack. Grapefruits are best eaten fresh and raw, as not to remove any of its inherent nutrients

Important !

Some people do and others do not. Only the medical practitioners such as your GP or diabetic nurse are best able to decide the most suitable course of action for you in terms of medication.

For more detailed information and further documentation about diabetes please do any of the following:

1. Visit the Diabetes UK website at:

2. Talk in confidence about diabetes. Careline number: 03451232399 Monday – Friday 9.00 a.m. – 7.00 p.m.

3. Email Diabetes UK at

4. Contact any one of the 10 regional Diabetes UK offices whose numbers can be found on the website.

Written by

Tony Kelly, Diabetes UK Community Champions.