Four million: the number of people in South Africa with diabetes, according to recent data from the International Diabetes Federation. This means that South Africa has the highest proportion of adult diabetics on the African continent. Moreover, diabetes is the sixth most common cause of death in the country. Added to this, uncontrolled diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke, and amputations, a pandemic fuelled by soaring rates of individuals who are overweight and obese.
World Diabetes Day
Each year, World Diabetes Day (14 November) aims to educate and inform the public on this devastating disease, and how it is completely possible to prevent and even reverse your risk of getting diabetes. Diabetics are encouraged to make healthy food choices to control glucose levels. That said, it is equally important to manage other diabetes-related complications. This includes the increased risk of heart disease and being overweight and obese.
Avocados for the heart
The risk of heart disease risk is two to four times higher in diabetics compared to non-diabetics. Heart disease is the primary cause of death in diabetics. The heart-healthy monounsaturated fats in avocados are what earns this creamy fruit’s place on a diabetic’s eating plan.
In a study on over 120 000 participants followed for 24 years, replacing saturated fats (like coconut oil, fatty cuts of meat, chicken skin, and butter) with the same amount of monounsaturated fats (like avocado, avocado oil, olives, and olive oil) lowered the risk of coronary heart disease by a whopping 15 % – all the more to choose the avocado.
How avocados may help slim the waistline
Contrary to popular belief, avocado can be helpful as part of an energy-controlled eating plan for weight loss. Researchers have found that the monounsaturated fats in avocado give a quicker feeling of fullness which means less overeating. The monounsaturated fats in avocados will help make the diet more appetising. This then reduces the temptation to binge on foods high in energy from sugar and bad fats. As a result, it supports our weight loss efforts.
Clearly, it’s a double-whammy win for the humble avocado. In portion-controlled amounts, it can and should be a healthy addition to the diabetic’s healthy eating plan. Inlcuding it will help to to manage heart disease risk and help maintain a healthy weight.
Diabetes-friendly avocado recipes
Here are a few recipes you can try, courtesy of The South African Avocado Growers’ Association.
ASIAN NOODLES WITH PORK FILLET AND AVOCADO
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons avocado oil
- 400 g pork fillet, cleaned of sinew and sliced
- 2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 avocados
- 560 g Asian noodles, pre-soaked/cooked as per pack instructions
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- 2 tablespoons light soy
- ½ sprig coriander leaves
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- Cashew nuts
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Heat the sesame and vegetable oil in a wok or fry pan.
- Fry the pork fillet until cooked, add ginger and garlic, fry gently then add noodles and stir fry.
- Cut the avocados in half, remove the stone and skin, and cut the flesh into chunks.
- Add the avocado, onion, soy, and oyster sauce to the noodles. Stir fry for a further minute, or until all the ingredients are combined and hot.
- Serve and garnish with coriander leaves, cashew nuts, and sesame seeds.
GREEN AVO SAUCE, MEGA VEGGIES & AVO ON HARD SHELL TACO WITH CHARRED PINEAPPLE, PICKLED RED ONION & PICO DE GALLO
Ingredients for the Green Avo Sauce
- 1 avocado
- 1 bunch/30g fresh coriander
- ½ bunch fresh parsley
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios
- 1 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed
- ⅓ cup avo oil (or olive oil)
- ⅓ cup water
- Juice of 1 lime
Method for the Green Avo Sauce
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine, allow to mix until the desired consistency is reached.
- Serve immediately. You can also transfer to a small bowl and cover with a film of plastic wrap. Make sure to press it gently into the top, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Ingredients for the Tacos
- 1 pineapple, diced and charred on a grill pan
- ½ English cucumber, diced
- 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 red onion, sliced
- Shredded cabbage
- Grated carrot
- Shredded lettuce
- 12 blue corn tortillas, toasted
- Lime wedges and fresh coriander to serve
- Lay out the tortillas and top with the veggies.
- Serve drizzled with green avo sauce and garnish with lime wedges and extra coriander.