Diabetes and High Blood Pressure: What Can You Eat?

If you suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure, it’s important that you add foods low in sodium to your diet, such as fruits and vegetables.
Diabetes and High Blood Pressure: What Can You Eat?

Last update: 15 August, 2022

Many people suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure and might think it’s too hard to follow a diet that excludes salt and sugar. However, it’s possible to do so and still enjoy some tasty foods. Many times, the key is knowing how to eat them.

For example, you can eat carrots, but preferably raw, since, when they’re cooked, they tend to be rich in glucose.

It’s possible to eat a healthy diet for the needs of both conditions without depriving yourself of tasty foods. Here, we tell you what you can eat if you suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure. 

Tips for diabetics and people with high blood pressure

It’s extremely important that you respect your doctor’s recommendations concerning what you can and can’t eat, or what foods you should reduce and avoid.

Aside from what you eat, certain habits can make the difference between leading a healthy life or one where your diabetes and high blood pressure symptoms don’t allow you to perform your daily activities.

The Mediterranean diets.

One of the most important recommendations is that you should do so with a nutritionist and your doctor when it comes to making a diet plan. You should also consider the following:

  • Avoid bad lifestyle habits, like being sedentary, drinking alcohol, and smoking.
    • You shouldn’t drink alcohol because of its high sugar content.
  • Don’t consume (in large amounts or regularly) processed foods or those soaked in brine or smoked.
  • Reduce the amount of salt in your meals and avoid putting salt on the table. Instead, use herbs like oregano and rosemary to season your dishes.
  • Drink water throughout the day, whenever you’re thirsty. Hydration is key to well-being.
  • Measure your glucose and blood pressure at the same time every day (for example, after breakfast, before lunch, or after a nap).

In general, it’s important to be disciplined and consistent when it comes to following good lifestyle habits. 

You might be interested to read: How Does Diabetes Affect Your Mental Health?

Diet for people who suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure

Because both of these disorders can appear together but at different times, it’s a good idea to get used to eating a balanced diet.

If you suffer from both diabetes and high blood pressure, you’ll need to be careful which foods and drinks you choose but even more so with the amount you eat. As a general rule, your diet should be characterized by being low in sodium, fats, and carbohydrates. As for the foods that you should definitely not leave out, here they are:

Foods that are rich in soluble fiber

Ingredients for a salad.
If you suffer from both diabetes and high blood pressure, you’ll need to be careful which foods and drinks you choose to consume and opt for a healthy diet.

Foods rich in fiber keep fat levels stable and some of them can be used as substitutes for salt. At the same time, the fiber helps to prevent constipation and balance your blood pressure.

Among the foods that can contribute fiber and omega-3 fatty acids (recommended for people with diabetes and high blood pressure) are:

  • Tofu
  • Oatmeal
  • Nuts
  • Salmon
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Whole grains
  • Dried peas and beans

Vegetables

A good diet always contains vegetables, especially if you suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure. However, you’ll need to cook them without salt (or with really low amounts) and avoid frying them. It’s best to eat them raw, steamed, or baked, and seasoned with herbs and spices.

Fruit

There’s a common misconception that diabetics can’t eat fruit because it’s sweet. On the contrary, instead of avoiding them, diabetics should consume them to supplement their diet in a healthy way.

Nutritionist, Julio Basulto points out that fresh, whole fruits are recommended for diabetics because they contain numerous nutrients that contribute to overall health. Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, they don’t affect blood sugar levels or promote excess weight.

“Except for a few pathologies, such as food hypersensitivity or kidney disease, among others […] the unanimous message that the population should receive regarding whole fruit is: try to consume at least three servings a day.”

Dr. Manuel Viso states that fruits (whole) can be consumed at any time of the day. They aren’t fattening because they don’t have free sugars and can provide multiple benefits because they’re rich in various nutrients. In addition, they contain fiber and promote gastrointestinal transit.

You might like to read this article, too: 10 Fruits and Vegetables to Treat Liquid Retention

Fruit, one of the foods recommended for people with diabetes and high blood pressure.
Fresh, whole fruits are recommended for diabetics because they contain numerous nutrients that contribute to overall health.

Fish

Eating fish three times a week is good for your health, and is perfect for people with diabetes and high blood pressure. In fact, the best is oily fish because they provide omega-3 fatty acids that reduce heart problems and provide vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. They’re recommended for all your cells and organs to keep them in good condition. Among the best are:

  • Tuna
  • Grouper
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel
  • Hake

Low-fat dairy products

Although there are discrepancies regarding this point, it’s generally said that low-fat dairy products are good sources of calcium and, as they don’t contain as much fat as whole dairy products, they help control blood sugar. Therefore, don’t hesitate to consume low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt.

A woman holding dairy products.
Low-fat dairy products are good sources of calcium.

Some final recommendations

You must be careful with ready-to-eat and frozen foods, as most of them contain a great deal of salt. In addition, you should pay attention to foods that are low in sugar because they may contain a lot of sodium (like some oat flakes for breakfast).

Pay close attention when you’re out buying food and read the nutritional labels on everything you choose. At first, it’ll take time, but you’ll soon learn what you should and shouldn’t eat. For starters, buy more from the fruit and vegetable section than any other and it’ll be easier for you to pick healthy foods.

Don’t forget that, in addition to eating healthy foods, you need to exercise three times a week. It doesn’t have to be difficult or intense exercise. You simply need to set aside your sedentary lifestyle and bad habits and you’ll be able to live well, despite having diabetes and high blood pressure.

Finally, you must always comply with the recommendations that your doctor (or nutritionist) has given you. Ask them any questions you have, even the ones you might think are irrelevant or too obvious. Also, keep a list of what you’re eating so your doctor can evaluate whether or not your diet is appropriate.

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