21 Healthy Meals for Diabetics with High Blood Pressure
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21 Healthy Meals for Diabetics and High Blood Pressure

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December 11, 2010, last updated August 8, 2014
By Nina Lee, Contributing Columnist

If you have both diabetes and blood pressure, you can sometimes find yourself in conflict when it comes to planning meals. Certain foods --- such as bananas --- can truly help to lower your blood pressure. But because bananas are high in sugar, they can wreak havoc with your diabetes. Using the latest news on ideal foods that help both diabetes and high blood pressure, we have come up with 21 heart-healthy and diabetes-friendly meals for you. 

Diabetes and high blood pressure are co-conspirators in the killing of millions of Americans and people around the world.  According to estimates from the American Diabetes Association, over 23.6 million Americans suffer from diabetes and over two-thirds of those -- 16 million people --  also suffer from high blood pressure.

Having diabetes alone reduces your life expectancy by 7.5 years if you are a man aged 50 or over and by 8.2 years if you are woman of the same age, according to a 2007 study from the University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Having high blood pressure reduces your life expectancy by 5 years, a 2005 study from the same university found.  In fact, hypertension is the leading global risk for premature death, responsible for 7.5 million deaths (that's 12.8% of total deaths) worldwide, according to a 2010 World Health Organization report. The combination of diabetes and high blood pressure could thus reduce your life expectancy by over 12 years.

In addition to staying active, changing your diet is the most important thing you can do to battle diabetes and high blood pressure. Studies show that people with both diseases who follow heart-healthy and diabetes friendly diets can actually reverse many of the debilitating health conditions associated with the diseases, like progressive heart disease, arterial disease, stroke and the sudden bursting of blood vessels seen in aneurysms.

Each of the following meals features foods that can dramatically lower your risk of diabetes and high blood pressure or, if you already have these 2 diseases, can improve your symptoms.

What do these heart-healthy and diabetes-friendly meals have in common?

They are all low salt. Salt is the single most damaging food to those with high blood pressure.

They are low-glycemic foods, meaning they do not raise your blood sugar levels rapidly. It is the slow release of sugar from digested food that helps to control insulin release. Low-glycemic foods prompt your body to produce a low level of insulin and to do so gradually. This slow, low release of insulin is key to protecting you not only from diabetes but from certain other deadly diseases such as pancreatic cancer.

They feature fish, rather than red meat. No surprise here. Red meat is marbled with animal fat --also known as cholesterol--which clogs your arteries and helps to raise your blood pressure. Red meat also encourages weight gain, which increases your waist size. The fat around your waist releases hormones which raise your risk for diabetes and disrupts the body's normal balance of insulin. Abnormally large waist size, high blood pressure and obesity are all a part of the combination of symptoms known as metabolic disorder. Fish with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, halibut and sardines have been found effective in combating metabolic disorder.

They emphasize healthy, complex carbohydrates such as whole grain cereals, whole grain pasta and vegetables. These healthy carbohydrates are high in fiber and, in the case of vegetables, high in micro-nutrients (phytochemicals and anti-oxidants) which lower the degree of internal inflammation in your body.

In general, they feature high-fiber foods. Fiber helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day. In all the dishes below, feel free to substitute beans for lentils and substitute beans or lentils for red meat.

What's that, you might ask, carbs for diabetics? Yes, the latest comprehensive research on diabetic eating has found that certain complex carbohydrates such as rye and barley actually are superior even to protein in controlling blood sugar for up to 10 hours a day.

So, here are 21 delicious meals which can be the foundation for your efforts to control diabetes and high blood pressure:

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2 egg whites,  fried in olive oil spray and your choice of coffee or chamomile tea, with a cinnamon stick. Cinnamon is one of the foods studies have found effective in controlling or even lowering blood sugar. It's a "natural insulin" food.
cup of oats, cooked in winter, or eaten as a dry cereal (Cheerios) in warm months. Add skim milk as desired. Add cinnamon as desired.

Top off with a cup of coffee or cinnamon tea
2 slices of turkey bacon, 1 egg white. I slice of oat, wheat or rye toast
oat cereal, low fat milk, topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Add Splenda (sucralose) as desired, for today.

Side of cafe au lait or cinnamon tea
egg white omelete (2 egg whites, green bell peppers, onions). Sprinkle shredded low-fat Swiss cheese (about half a handful).

Coffee or cinnamon tea
pancakes of   soy flour, topped with apple sauce and butter substitute and sprinkled with cinnamon. Side of turkey bacon. (2 strips)

cup of cocoa with Splenda,  coffee or cinnamon tea
slice of unsalted or low-salted salmon lox, low-fat cream cheese on a half of toasted whole grain (rye) bagel.

coffee, low fat milk, Splenda or cinnamon tea
tuna salad

-tuna from a can, preferably stored in water rather than oil to lower calories is fine. Fresh tuna if you're lucky.

-add red onions, light mayonnaise and black pepper.

Dressing choices include mustard vinaigrette, balsamic and vinegar or light italian. Try Dijon mustard, mixed with a teaspoon of lemon juice and olive oil
salmon salad
-baked salmon, sauteed in olive oil or grilled the night before, seasoned with dill and Mrs. Dash and black pepper or rosemary

-your choice of Romaine, red leaf  arugula lettuce.

Dressing choices include mustard vinaigrette, balsamic and vinegar or light italian. Try Dijon mustard, mixed with a teaspoon of lemon juice and olive oil

Treat day! Lean turkey or chicken burger on multi-grain bun, with lettuce, tomatoes and mustard. No ketchup--it's too high in sugar!

Garnish with onions if you like.

Add a small salad of greens and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and 3 to 6 walnut halves. Add fresh shaved parmesan if you're lucky enough to have it handy.
Tuna salad sandwich made of tuna, no mayonnaise (or if you're lucky enough to find it, light mayonnaise), mustard (any type except,  honey mustard), lettuce, tomato slices.

Side of small salad of celery, cucumbers, diced tomatoes, diced red bell peppers and 6 walnut halves.

Dressing choices same as Monday and Tuesday
Soy burger, topped with lettuce, onions,seasoned with black pepper and paprika. Add mustard as desired

Side of greek salad of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes feta cheese and olives. Topped with balsamic vinaigrette

bowl of pumpkin soup, with a drizzle of sour cream on top

Side of whole grain crackers

Salad of Romaine lettuce, chopped turkey, cucumbers, red onions, diced tomatoes, shredded low-fat Swiss cheese, and 6 walnut halves
Fajitas, served on a whole grain fajita, grilled red peppers, green peppers,onions, shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes, low-fat cheddar cheese or swiss cheese, slices of grilled chicken. Sautee the vegetables in olive oil spray or a teaspoon of olive oil or a Teflon pan before adding the grilled chicken

Lentil soup. Bake fresh lentil beans for 45 minutes on medium heat with enough water to cover three-quarters (75%) of the pot. In a separate pot, simmer, chopped onions, oregano, black pepper, a table spoon of olive oil and a crushed tomato base or tomato puree (avoid canned  tomato soup, because they can be high in salt). If you can go meatless. If you just need a taste of meat, use ground chicken or turkey and brown it in a pan with olive oil or vegetable oil spray. Mix with meat and sauce and simmer for 15 minutes. Then combine it with the lentils.

As a side dish, steam broccoli, and sprinkle it with lemon when finished. No limit here. Eat as much as you want.

Baked chicken. One serving of  a breast of chicken, grilled with olive oil spray, seasoned with rosemary and black pepper. Add a side of grilled onions. To spike up the chicken, add garlic powder or, if you're lucky enough to have it, a crushed clove of garlic, diced and rubbed into the chicken before grilling.

Add a side of steamed green string beans, seasoned with dill.

Choose from a slice of rye, wheat or oat bread.

Baked halibut. Grill halibut in olive oil spray, seasoned with dill and black pepper. Dice a red bell pepper and half an onion, grill them together with olive oil spray. In a small bowl, mix 3 teaspoons of Dijon mustard, a teaspoon of olive oil and the red peppers and onions to create a sauce. Once fish is grilled, pour the sauce over it.

As a side, sautee spinach leaves in olive oil spray. Season with salt substitute, Mrs Dash or dill. Sprinkle lemon juice as desired.

Choose a whole grain dinner roll the size of a child's fist and spread butter substitute (small pat, choose butter substitute made from olive oil such as Olivio or one of your choice)

Bakes pork tenderloin. Bake pork tenderloin in  3 teaspoons of olive oil, black pepper. Add a cup of water. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and a cup of water. Bake for 30 minutes on medium heat. Remove from oven. Layer pork loin with mustard. Put back in oven to bake another 10 to 15 minutes.

Add a steamed side of broccoli and onions.

Choose a slice of whole grain oat,rye or wheat bread.

Pizza on whole grain pita bread, shredded low-fat cheese (mozzarella, Swiss), diced tomatoes, basil and turkey chunks.

Add a side salad of Romaine lettuce, cucumbers (seasoned with dill), diced tomatoes and a vinaigrette

Eat out! Choose baked salmon, side of wilted spinach or steamed broccoli.

Splurge with  a glass of wine

Sunday baked bean and chicken soup. Use light chicken broth (check the can for salt content), black beans, diced onions (grill them before adding to soup), grilled red peppers, grilled green bell peppers, diced turkey bacon (cook 2 slices of the turkey bacon separately first). Cook all ingredients together for 30 to 40 minutes on low heat. Add shredded low-fat Swiss cheese after soup is finished cooking. Sprinkle a tiny pinch of parsley on top of soup once the cheese has been added and the soup in the bowl.

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