Fish

**All videos are done by Dr. Michael Greger M.D. to learn more about Dr. Greger please visit his website or his YouTube channel by click here.

Fish is a great source of protein for the diabetic, as it is healthy in a number of different ways. Not only is fish low in fat and cholesterol, but it is high in omega-3s (known to be one of the healthiest fatty acids available). Fish is also incredibly healthy due to its minimal effect on the raising of sugar levels within the bloodstream. In addition, the high number of various types of fish and other seafood, as well as the plethora of recipes for each various type, ensures that one’s diet must never grow too tedious when adding fish to a well-balanced and nutritious diet.

Low in Fat and Cholesterol

Fish is not completely non-fat, but the fat which it contains is regarded by most nutritionists as “good fat.” Saturated fats are the ones which nutritionist generally encourage most people to avoid, as they can raises LDL (or “bad cholesterol”) levels. High intake of saturated fats and cholesterol can increase the risk of diabetes, while also affecting the many heart conditions that type 2 diabetes is often associated with. Since fish tends to contain unsaturated fats, and has a positive impact on HDL (or “good cholesterol”) levels, it is a generally healthy food. This is especially true when fish is grilled, or cooked in any other way that does not involve breading and frying it (which increases the amount of trans fats).

Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids are so well-known for their health benefits that even many people who do not consume fish regularly have been known to imbibe a spoonful of fish oil every morning. Fish oil also comes in supplemental tablets that can be bought at just about any local pharmacy.

Omega-3s help to improve vision, which often suffers as a result of diabetes. They can also help to fight depression, arthritis, asthma, and even Alzheimer’s. One of the primary benefits, however, is the lowered risk of heart conditions related to diabetes. This is because omega-3s can contain any one of three essential fatty acids, all of which have been known to lower the risk of heart disease by regulating the amount of triglycerides in the bloodstream. Not only do omega-3s lower the risk of various conditions, but they also help in the treatment of such conditions by increasing the effectiveness of related medications.

Blood Sugar

The regulation of saturated fats and triglycerides only demonstrates two thirds of the benefits arising from regular consumption of fish or fish oil. Another important benefit, which has a direct effect on the prevention and/or management of diabetes, is the regulation of blood sugar. This is due not only to the presence of healthy fats, but also the general lack of carbohydrates. Fewer carbohydrates means fewer substances that are metabolized into glucose that affects the bloodstream.

Additional Information and Cautions

There are some fish which are more beneficial in the above respects than others. Luckily, these are among the most common types of fish generally consumed. The list includes salmon, trout, halibut, tuna, sardines, and a few others. Proper utilization of this list will allow the diabetic to vastly increase their general consumption of fish without growing tired of any one particular taste.
There is one major caution which must be taken into account, and that is the fact that many types of fish contain high quantities of mercury. Mercury can be very dangerous, especially in high amounts. This is more of a risk with more rare types of seafood such as shark and swordfish, but tuna and mackerel (both of which are among the types which are healthier in all of the above concerns) fall under this category as well.

Author: hilley
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