November is National Diabetes Month. Nearly 30 million children and adults in the U.S. live with diabetes.1 In the U.S., 86 million adults have prediabetes, which is when your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.1 To put these numbers into greater perspective, 1 out of 11 Americans have diabetes and 9 out of 10 Americans have prediabetes.1
As we celebrate the 30th annual National Diabetes Month, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) would like for us to focus on diabetes management and prevention from the dietary perspective. “Eat Well, America!” is ADA’s theme for this month.2 With the Eat Well campaign, ADA is hoping to highlight how fun and easy it is to eat healthy.
So how can Massachusetts employers partake in the Eat Well, America! campaign in November and well after? You can help educate your employers on these 5 key “superfoods” for preventing or managing diabetes.3 The foods below have a low glycemic index (GI)4, see footnote for definition, and provide key nutrients such as calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, and E:
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables are nutrient dense and low in calories and carbohydrates.
Types to try out: Spinach, collards, or kale
Beans are high in fiber and are a good source of magnesium and potassium.
Types to try out: kidney, pinto, black, navy, or black eye peas
Nuts and Seeds provide healthy fats, magnesium, and fiber.
Types to try out: walnuts, almonds, cashews, or flax seeds
Whole Grains are a great source for magnesium, chromium, omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and potassium.
Types to try out: pearled barley, oatmeal, brown rice, or bulgur
Fresh Fruits are full of fiber, antioxidants, and are nutrient dense.
Types to try: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, oranges, or grapefruit
As you begin brainstorming on how to introduce these superfoods to your employees, you may want to consider some of these options: If you are looking to provide awareness/education, you can create posters highlighting each category of super foods; for behavioral changes, you can have monthly potlucks where employees create dishes that center around a specific superfood; and for environmental/policy changes, you can require the addition of 1 or 2 super food dishes at catered staff meetings.
*For some delicious recipes involving these superfoods, check out the CDC’s Tasty Recipes for People with Diabetes and Their Families.
 A Snapshot: Diabetes in the United States. Retrieved from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Diabetes Translation: http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/statsreport14/diabetes-infographic.pdf
 Alexandria, Virginia. “The American Diabetes Association® Launches Eat Well, America! Campaign during American Diabetes Month.” American Diabetes Association. 02 Nov. 2015.
 “Diabetes Superfoods.” American Diabetes Association. 02 Feb. 2015.
 Glycemic Index (GI): is a ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates with a low GI value are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolized and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and, therefore insulin levels. Definition provided by: http://www.glycemicindex.com/