According to research, diabetes is the fastest growing health threat that we face today, yet there are style many myths surrounding the disease. Our Get Active health and wellbeing programme sees hundreds of Southampton residents come thorough it, lots of which suffer from diabetes, so we thought we would give supporters a chance to learn more about what it is, and what it means for those living with it every day.

A diabetes diagnosis can be a hard thing to face. Although some might prefer to face it alone, there are others who choose to use their experience to educate and inspire others. In a recent blog post, we spoke to one of our local heroes, Ramona Mulligan who quite gladly kicked diabetes in the butt. You go, Ramona!

Diet is an important part of managing diabetes, and being aware of the things that you can eat, and the things that you can’t, will have a huge impact on the way you feel.

Here’s a guide to help you plan meals fit for diabetes, whether you’re living with it, or supporting someone who is:

Dark chocolate

Many think that chocolate is a naughty treat, but when it is eaten in its dark form, it can actually be pretty good for you. See our article about the myths surrounding chocolate here. Dark chocolate is rich in something called flavonoids. The reduce the body’s resistance to insulin and improves sensitivity to insulin too. So, if you fancy grabbing something sweet, snap off a bit of the dark stuff.

Broccoli

When it comes to helping with diabetes, broccoli should be given a cape and labelled as a superhero. Along with its sidekicks kale and cauliflower, our green tree friends are packed full of sulforaphane, known to trigger anti-inflammatory process within your body, and those that are responsible for blood sugar control in particular. Not only this, but they also offer protection to blood vessels from cardiovascular damage, which is often a side issue related to diabetes. Eat it raw if you’re feeling worthy, stir-fried, boiled or even blitzed into a soup.

Fish

You’re likely to find fish mentioned in all of the healthy eating guides out there. Fish is fantastic for all of us, but particularly amazing for those that have diabetes. Those who eat plenty of fish have been found to be at a lower risk of common diabetes related health issues, such as a stroke. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the goods from the sea, so dive into those new recipes now!

Walnuts

One of the most widespread tree nuts in the world, walnuts contain a polyunsaturated acid called alpha-linolenic, which is great for reducing inflammation. They’re also packed walnuts are also thought to be packed full of anticancer, antiviral and antioxidant properties too, which can slow down the progression of diabetes.

Cinnamon

If you like things a little on the spicy side, then you’ll be pleased to hear that cinnamon has been found to reduce blood sugar. In fact, studies have shown that those with type 2 diabetes who took more than one gram of cinnamon every day saw that their fasting blood sugar was reduced by as much as 30 percent. But mind how you go; we’re not talking cinnamon buns here. Why not experiment with sprinkling a little onto your food? It can work wonders when flavouring both sweet and savoury dishes.

All of the above foods can give you a helping hand when tackling diabetes. For more great advice on looking after yourself and your symptoms, visit the diabetes.org.uk, or contact our friends over at Southampton Healthy Living.