According to the American Diabetes Association and CDC, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2015, attributable to 252,806 reported deaths. Unfortunately, this is likely to be a low estimate because diabetes is often underreported as a cause of death, despite the known seriousness of this condition. In 2015, 9.4% of the population had diabetes and this continues to increase with the rise in obesity.
In 2012, the total and direct estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States was $245 billion. In 2017, the cost increased to $327 billion. After adjusting for population differences by age and sex, people diagnosed with diabetes have an average medical expenditure 2.3 times higher than those without diabetes.
Luckily, managing diabetes can reduce the risks for diabetes complication. Healthy eating is key. However, in many food insecure households, fresh food is difficult to come by. It is common for food pantries to distribute non-perishable items such as canned goods and boxed items for storage reasons. These products typically have a high-sodium and sugar content and lower nutritional value than fresh fruits and veggies.
AmpleHarvest.org gives pantry clients the option to feed their family fresh food by connecting nearby gardeners with local food pantries. Gardeners who donate food to their local pantry can also offer a new variety of food for pantry clients to prepare. By having fresh produce available, families can reduce the likelihood of not only diabetes, but high blood pressure and obesity as well.
The American Diabetes Association recommends a healthy meal plan for preventing/controlling diabetes. This plan is generally the same as healthy eating for anyone – low in saturated fat, moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and fruit.
The list of foods below provided by the American Diabetes Association is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber that are good for overall health and may also help prevent disease. Plus they’re all foods that AmpleHarvest.org helps supply to communities!
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Spinach, collards, and kale are dark green leafy vegetables packed with vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, E, and K, iron, calcium and potassium. These powerhouse foods are low in calories and carbohydrates too. Try adding dark leafy vegetables to salads, soups and stews.
Grapefruits, oranges, lemons and limes or pick your favorites to get part of your daily dose of fiber, vitamin C, folate and potassium.
A starchy vegetable packed full of vitamin A and fiber. They are also a good source of vitamin C and potassium.
Craving something sweet? Try a sweet potato in place of a regular potato and sprinkle cinnamon on top.
Which are your favorites: blueberries, strawberries or another variety? Regardless, they are all packed with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. Berries can be a great option to satisfy your sweet tooth and they provide an added benefit of vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, potassium and fiber.
The good news is that no matter how you like your tomatoes, pureed, raw, or in a sauce, you’re eating vital nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E and potassium.