Diabetes Type II and Diet

Healthy Eyes

I began paying close attention to what I eat about 15 years ago, when I was first diagnosed as having Type II Diabetes. I do not require insulin injections but do have to watch what I eat and need to exercise.

The problem was that I did not always follow the most sensible diet, my carving for peanut butter and chocolate where a problem. Now peanut butter used sparingly can be fine but when it comes to peanut butter sparingly is not in my vocabulary.

Chocolate is another weakness, of course, I can buy sugar free chocolate and do but the problem is one of quantity, too many calories is also a problem.

My exercise regime was lax but has improved and I power walk a minimum of three times per week.

I just hade my eyes examined and they have improved since my last examination. I have had 4 laser eye surgeries in the past year, two in each eye.

They were necessary because I had diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a general term for all disorders of the retina caused by diabetes. There are two major types of retinopathy: nonproliferative and proliferative.

Lutein and eye health

Some studies have suggested that two types of antioxidants, which are known as ‘carotenoids’, called Lutein (pronounced Loo-teen) and Zeaxanthin (pronounced Zay-a-za-thin) may also help with eye health. Some studies have found that people who have a good diet rich in carotenoids, particularly lutein and zeaxanthin, have a lower risk of developing AMD.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are to be found naturally in vegetables and fruit. For example, Lutein can be found in yellow peppers, mango, bilberries, and green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, chard and broccoli.

Zeaxanthin can be found in orange sweet peppers, broccoli, corn, lettuce (not iceberg), spinach, tangerines, oranges and eggs. Many of these overlap with food types in which vitamins A, E and C are present.

Carrots are also a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and manganese, and a good source of vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, iron, potassium and copper.

I buy the baby carrots. They are already peeled and can be eaten as is, added to lunches raw or sliced for soups, stews and stir fries.

Key points to remember:

  • Eat a good, balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Discuss changing your diet or taking vitamin supplements with your GP.
  • Discuss your diet or taking a vitamin supplement with your GP if you believe that your diet may be inadequate
  • The biggest avoidable risk is smoking.
  • Protect your eyes from sunlight. Use good quality sunglasses, i.e. those that have the ‘CE’ mark, which means they meet the European Union Quality Standards. Wearing a brimmed hat also offers very good protection.
  • Get your eyes tested at least every two years and more frequently if necessary.

If you have Type II diabetes you can still enjoy a wide variety of tasty, delightful and healthy foods, but you do need to know a few things about what to buy and how to prepare it.

baby carrots
baby carrots

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Comments 2 comments

Angela Harris profile image

Angela Harris 8 years ago from Around the USA

Great tips for type 2 diabetes. My husband has been diagnosed with it. Diet is very difficult sometimes.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks. Habits are very hard to change and how we eat is often a habit.

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