The risk of heart disease is two to four times greater for people with diabetes. High blood cholesterol levels also increase your risk of heart disease. A healthy diet that includes nutritious foods in moderate amounts can help you control your blood sugars for diabetes and reduce your blood cholesterol levels.
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To control your blood sugars, you need to control the amount of carbohydrate-containing food, fruit, starch, yogurt and milk, you eat at each meal. The amount you need depends on your blood sugar goals and calorie needs. The American Diabetes Association says most people can start with 45 to 60 g carbohydrate per meal. To help lower blood cholesterol levels, you need to include foods high in fiber and limit the amount of saturated fats and trans fats in your diet. In addition to high-fiber foods, eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Choose lean cuts of meat and low-fat and nonfat dairy foods to limit your intake of saturated fat. Trans fats are primarily found in baked goods.
To help control your blood sugars, try to eat at the same time each day. Eating regularly and consistently will also help control hunger for weight management. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help you keep both blood sugars and cholesterol levels under control. A heart-healthy breakfast for diabetes includes 1 cup hot cooked oatmeal with 2 tbsp. of raisins and 1 cup nonfat milk. Or, you can try two slices of whole wheat toast with 1 1/2 tsp. peanut butter, 1 1/4 cup of fresh strawberries and 6 oz. nonfat sugar-free yogurt.
Including foods high in soluble fiber, such as pears and oranges, helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and slows digestion to allow for a slower release of sugar into the bloodstream. A lunch meal that may help lower blood cholesterol levels includes 3 oz. of grilled tuna on top of 2 cups mixed greens with seven walnut halves chopped and 1 tbsp. low-fat salad dressing, served with a large pear and 10 whole grain crackers. Another lunch meal may include a small whole wheat pita stuffed with 1/4 cup hummus, served with a small orange and 1 cup baby carrots.
Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna and walnuts, can also help improve blood cholesterol levels. For dinner, try 3 oz. broiled salmon served with 1 cup brown rice and 1 cup steamed broccoli. Another heart-healthy dinner meal for diabetes may include 3 oz. of roasted turkey breast with a 6 oz. baked sweet potato, 1 cup roasted brussels sprouts and a 1 oz. whole wheat dinner roll.