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Nutrients Important For Preventing And Managing Insulin Resistance And Diabetes, And Foods They Are Found In

Photo credit: rawpixel

Photo credit: rawpixel

Deficiencies of specific vitamins and minerals that play important roles in glucose metabolism and insulin signaling pathways may contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Shifting from a diet that is nutrient-poor to one that is nutrient-dense, low glycemic and high fiber is important, and a diet rich in certain vitamins and minerals can help you avoid nutrient deficiencies that are associated with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. A diet rich in plant foods including fresh whole fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains (like a Mediterranean style diet) can improve how genes that control insulin function and obesity work (where obesity is associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes). Along with eating a nutrient-dense diet to resolve nutrient deficiencies, lifestyle modification (including stress management), engaging in interval training and physical activity, and the appropriate use of dietary supplements can enhance mitochondrial function (energy production) and reduce oxidative stress, where these factors are important for improved glycemic (blood sugar) control.

Incorporate these nutrients into your diet to help manage insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes

Nutrients important for managing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes: Vitamin B3, vitamin B12, biotin, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, inositol, carnitine, glutamine, CoQ10, glutathione, cysteine, lipoic acid, zinc, magnesium, chromium, vanadium, quercetin, resveratrol, omega 3 fats (EPA and DHA), PABA, GABA, antioxidants

Foods containing nutrients for the management of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes

B3: Tuna, chicken, turkey, salmon, lamb, beef, sardines, brown rice

B12: Choose methylcobalamin for supplemental source, sardines, salmon, tuna, cod, lamb, beef, liver, chicken, fish, eggs, rainbow trout, haddock

Biotin: Eggs, legumes, meats, oily fish, chicken, liver

Vitamin C: All will be higher in vitamin C if uncooked. Bell peppers, papaya, citrus fruits, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, kiwi 

Vitamin D: Salmon, herring and sardines, cod liver oil, canned light tuna (lower in mercury), oysters, egg yolk, mushrooms

Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, spinach, Swiss chard, avocados, turnip greens, asparagus, mustard greens 

Inositol: Inositol is found in cereals and vegetables as phytic acid (combination of inositol and phosphorus). Lecithin granules, beef heart, desiccated liver, wheat germ, lecithin oil, liver, brown rice, citrus fruits, nuts, leafy green vegetables, molasses

Carnitine: Beef steak, ground beef, pork, whole milk, cod, chicken breast, avocado, asparagus

Glutamine: Beef, chicken, fish, eggs, beets, beans, spinach, parsley 

CoQ10: Meat, poultry, fish

Glutathione: Undenatured whey protein, asparagus, curcumin/turmeric, avocado, spinach, garlic, foods high in vitamin C (e.g., citrus fruits) and selenium

Cysteine: Beef, chicken, lamb, fish 

Lipoic acid: Broccoli, spinach, red meat, organ meat, Brussels sprouts, peas, tomatoes, beets, carrots, Brewer's yeast

Zinc: Beef, lamb, pumpkin seeds, lentils, garbanzo beans, quinoa, turkey

Magnesium: Halibut, spinach, chard, oatmeal, potatoes, black-eyed peas, brown rice, lentils, avocados, pinto beans

Chromium: Brewer's yeast, mussels, oysters, pears, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, tomatoes, broccoli, egg yolk, prunes, herring, dried basil, turkey breast, cheese, organ meats. Food rich in vitamin C (red peppers, citrus fruits, strawberries) can improve absorption of chromium.

Vanadium: Mushrooms, shellfish, black pepper, parsely, dill weed, beer, wine, whole grains, tomatoes, green beans, corn, carrots, garlic, radishes, onions, cabbage

Quercetin: Apples, peppers, red wine, dark cherries and berries, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, leafy greens, citrus fruits, whole grains, raw asparagus, raw red onion, olive oil, black and green tea, beans/legumes, cocoa

Resveratrol: Grapes, red and white wine, peanuts, pistachios, blueberries, cranberries, cocoa, dark chocolate

DHA and EPA: (Essential Fatty Acids/Omega 3s/healthy fats) Cell membranes are made of cholesterol and phospholipids, need to make sure there are plenty of healthy fats in your diet daily, and essential fatty acids reduce inflammation, and assist with gut and skin healing. Flaxseed, eggs, fish and fish oils, marine sources (sea vegetables/seaweeds), avocado, coconut oil

Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA): Whole grains, folate rich vegetables (mushrooms, spinach, dried beans, lentils, split peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beet root, Brussels sprouts, dark leafy greens, kale, bok choy, asparagus, oranges, peaches), Brewer's yeast

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA): Fermented foods (kimchi, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, tempeh, yogurt). Flavonoid phytonutrients may enhance GABA function (berries, citrus fruits, apples, pears, tea, cocoa, wine).

Antioxidants: Virtually all plant foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, kidney beans, dark chocolate

Avoid High Mercury Fish

High mercury fish: Bluefish, grouper, mackerel (Spanish, Gulf, King), marlin, orange roughy, sea bass (Chilean), shark, swordfish, tilefish, and tuna (canned albacore, yellowfin, bigeye, ahi)

Low mercury fish: anchovies, butterfish, catfish, croaker (Atlantic),  flounder, haddock (Atlantic), hake, herring, mackerel (North Atlantic, chub), mullet, perch (ocean), pollock, salmon (fresh, wild), sardines, sole (Pacific), squid, tilapia, trout (freshwater), whitefish, and whiting

General Recommendations

Go organic when possible for fruits and vegetables.

Go organic, pastured, free range, grass fed, wild caught, etc. for animal products.

Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day.


Nutrients Important When You Are Living In A Larger Body, And Foods They Are Found In

Photo credit: rawpixel

Photo credit: rawpixel

It’s not news that weight gain has been, and continues to be on the rise. In order to combat this epidemic, we need to shift from our current siloed thinking into a systems based approach that takes into account the entire body. All our body systems are connected and when one is not in balance, others will also fall out of place. This is why addressing your needs holistically is necessary for optimal health and wellness. The complete picture is much more complex than being at a certain weight and BMI, and it must involve lifestyle with an emphasis on nutrition.

There are genetic, environmental and behavioral factors involved that contribute to the problem. It isn’t just what you eat! Of course it’s a lot about what you eat, but it’s not the entire story.

Conditions that occur more often in those living in larger bodies include insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancer, sleep apnea, GERD, and many others.

In addition to making lifestyle changes to address your health challenges, studies have shown that there are certain nutrients more likely to be deficient if you are living in a larger body. These include vitamin D, chromium, B vitamins (including folate, B12 and biotin), and antioxidant vitamins (vitamin A, E and C). As well, coppermagnesiumselenium, iron, zinc, beta-carotene, and lycopene have appeared low in studies. Omega 6/omega 3 fat ratio can be high (too much omega 6, very inflammatory) so balancing this ratio is important by reducing intake of omega 6 fats (processed foods) and increasing intake of omega 3 fat foods (see below).

When our bodies are depleted of nutrients, our metabolic processes can become imbalanced and impaired. This can lead to metabolic dysfunction, making it even more difficult to manage your weight. And when we are living in larger bodies, we have greater metabolic needs so more nutrients are needed to keep those processes running smoothly. This is why eating a diet of whole, real foods is so important, because this is where those nutrients occur naturally!

Again, lifestyle changes are necessary. 100%. Nutrient supplementation can be important for restoring deficiencies that food alone may not be capable of. Talk to a professionalabout what supplements may be right for you. Everyone is different and has different needs.

Incorporate these nutrients into your diet

Nutrients important for those living in larger bodies: B complex vitamins, vitamins A, C, D, and E, chromium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, selenium, beta-carotene, lycopene, omega 3 fats (EPA and DHA)

Foods containing these nutrients

B1: Can be depleted with alcohol. Green peas, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, sunflower seeds, pistachios, herring, crimini mushrooms, ground flaxseed, spinach

B2: Spinach, tempeh, crimini mushrooms, eggs, asparagus, turkey 

B3: Tuna, chicken, turkey, salmon, lamb, beef, sardines, brown rice 

B5: Chicken liver, sunflower seeds, salmon, avocado, sun dried tomatoes, corn, mushrooms

B6: Tuna, turkey, beef, chicken, salmon, sweet potato, potato, sunflower seeds, spinach 

Folate: Liver, chicken giblets, egg yolk, dried beans, lentils, split peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, beet root, Brussels sprouts, dark leafy greens, kale, bok choy, asparagus, oranges, peaches 

B12: B12 is found naturally only in animal products. Choose methylcobalamin for supplemental source, sardines, salmon, tuna, cod, lamb, beef, liver, chicken, fish, eggs, rainbow trout, haddock

Biotin: Eggs, legumes, meats, oily fish, chicken, liver

Vitamin A: Beef liver, cod liver oil, egg, butter, milk, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot, cantaloupe, mango, spinach, broccoli, kale, collard greens, butternut squash (essentially all red, orange, yellow, and green plant foods)

Vitamin C: All will be higher in vitamin C if uncooked: Bell peppers, papaya, citrus fruits, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, kiwi 

Vitamin D: Salmon, herring and sardines, cod liver oil, canned light tuna (lower in mercury), oysters, egg yolk, mushrooms

Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, spinach, Swiss chard, avocados, turnip greens, asparagus, mustard greens 

Chromium: Broccoli, green beans, potatoes, grape juice, orange juice, beef, turkey, apples, bananas

Magnesium: Halibut, spinach, chard, oatmeal, potatoes, black-eyed peas, brown rice, lentils, avocados, pinto beans

Iron: Beef, chicken liver, oysters, clams, tuna (light canned in water), muscles, raisins, prune juice, prunes, potato with skin, quinoa, spinach, Swiss chard, beans, lentils, tofu, hazelnuts, cashews

Zinc: Beef, lamb, pumpkin seeds, lentils, garbanzo beans, quinoa, turkey 

Copper: Mushrooms (shiitake), sunflower seeds, garbanzo beans, lentils, lima beans

Selenium: Tuna, sardines, salmon, turkey, cod, chicken, lamb, beef

Beta-carotene: Sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens (spinach, kale), squash, sweet red peppers, broccoli, cantaloupe melon, dried apricots (high in sugar)

Lycopene: Guava, watermelon, tomatoes (cooked has higher content), papaya, grapefruit, sweet red peppers (cooked has higher content), asparagus (cooked has higher content), mango, purple cabbage, carrots

DHA and EPA (Essential Fatty Acids/Omega 3s/healthy fats): Cell membranes are made of cholesterol and phospholipids, need to make sure there are plenty of healthy fats in your diet daily, and essential fatty acids reduce inflammation, and assist with gut and skin healing. Flaxseed, eggs, fish and fish oils, marine sources (sea vegetables/seaweeds), avocado, coconut oil.

Avoid High Mercury Fish

High mercury fish: Swordfish, shark, king mackeral, tilefish, marlin, orange roughy, ahi tuna, bigeye tuna, yellowfin tuna

Low mercury fish: Anchovies, catfish, flounder, hake, haddock, herring, salmon (farmed may contain PCBs, not good either), mackeral, canned light tuna, trout, whitefish, pollock, sardines, butterfish

General Recommendations

Go organic when possible for fruits and vegetables.

Go organic, pastured, free range, grass fed, wild caught, etc. for animal products.

Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day.