A heart-healthy diet may be the key to longevity for type 2 diabetics

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An Unwelcome Companion

Having type 2 diabetes isn’t easy. Aside from the disease itself, it makes you more likely to get other nasty conditions. These include circulatory diseases, dementia, cancer, and bone fractures.

Even with all the great drugs we have to treat diabetes, the best method is still a healthy lifestyle. That means plenty of exercise and a balanced diet.

Eating Your Way to a Longer Life

A recent study has found that a specific diet may reduce the risk of death in adults with type 2 diabetes. This diet is rich in whole grains, fiber, fish, and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).

The research team looked at 107 studies about dietary factors and death risk in adults with type 2 diabetes. In the end, they used 72 studies in their review.

The Proof is in the Pudding… or the Whole Grain Bread

They found a strong link between the intake of whole grains, fiber, fish, and n-3 PUFAs and a lower risk of death from any cause. Here are the stats:

  • Adding just one serving (20g/day) of whole grains per day can reduce your death risk by 16%. This could be brown bread and rice or breakfast cereals.
  • Each additional weekly serving of fish is linked to a 5% lower risk of death.
  • Every extra 5g of dietary fiber you eat per day (equivalent to a medium pear or two shredded wheat) reduces your risk by 14%.
  • And an extra 0.1g per day of n-3 PUFAs reduces your risk by 13%.

And if you’re wondering where to get your n-3 PUFAs, try fish, vegetable oil, nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds and flaxseed oil, and leafy vegetables.

A Vegetable Victory

The team also found that eating large amounts of vegetables and plant protein may be beneficial.

A daily increase of 100g of vegetables and 10g of plant proteins (like nuts, tofu, beans, lentils, and peas) is linked to a 12% and 9% lower risk of death, respectively.

These foods can help to lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Plus, they have anti-inflammatory effects, which could help lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.

Proceed With Caution

Unfortunately, it’s not all good news. Eating more eggs and dietary cholesterol seems to increase the risk of death.

Each 10g per day increase in egg intake (that’s about two medium eggs per week) is linked to a 5% higher risk of death. And an extra 300mg of dietary cholesterol per day is linked to a 19% increase.

Moving Forward

This study, led by Dr. Janett Barbaresko, shows how vital a balanced diet is in managing type 2 diabetes. And while this doesn’t replace medication, it’s an easy way to improve health and longevity in people with this condition.

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