Diabetes Diet: What To Eat To Manage Blood Sugar And Keep Diabetes In Control
According to WHO, over 8.5% of the world population is suffering from Diabetes. This article lists out a complete guide to the list of foods that make up a Diabetic Diet.
Resulting from an increase in blood glucose levels, diabetes, can directly impact several normal body functions. The primary reason for this being that various parts of the body use glucose as a fuel. In fact, glucose is also extremely vital in the development of muscles and tissues, thus too much glucose can lead to some serious health problems. Some of these conditions include cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, and eye damage, as the normal functioning of all these organs depends heavily on regulated sugar consumption. A Diabetes diet is one which looks at the nutritional quotient of all food items to create a list of healthy foods for diabetics to eat. The most important factor in the food recommended to a diabetic is that it should have a low glycemic index. Simply put it is the rate at which energy is released during the breaking down of the food, and subsequent release of energy to the body. A food item that has a low glycemic index prevents sudden spikes in the blood sugar level of a diabetic. The list of foods in a Diabetic Diet will include all necessary nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats and vitamins, and minerals. A Diabetic Diet must also include probiotic-rich foods like curd.
Before we share a comprehensive guide of foods to include in a Diabetic Diet which can help you keep your blood sugar level under control, we do have to understand what diabetes is with a zoomed-in lens.
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Types Of Diabetes
When we discuss diabetes in depth, there is no other way to describe it better than to classify it into two basic types, type 1 and type 2. However, apart from these two, there are other two rather reversible diabetic conditions namely prediabetes and gestational diabetes. Prediabetes is a condition that involves the blood sugar level being above its normal level but is still low enough to not be considered as diabetes, and on the other hand, gestational diabetes is the condition which takes place during pregnancy, and the blood sugar level immediately comes back to normal once the child is born.
Let us now take a look at the other two rather irreversible categories of diabetes:
1. Type 2
It is quite important that we discuss type-2 diabetes before getting on with type 1, as the type-2 form of diabetes is more common. This type is usually developed as the person grows old, when the pancreas is not able to secrete enough insulin, or when the cells inside the body have increased their insulin resistivity. In both cases, the blood sugar level tends to keep on rising and could also, in some case, become a major issue in a person’s healthy lifestyle.
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2. Type 1
Though this form of diabetes may not be as common as the one that we previously discussed, this type tends to be more serious, as it is not an age-related defect but a medical condition that can develop at any age. In this type, the immune system, which is usually helpful in battling external bacteria, attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, which further leads to the lowering of the insulin level and the increase in the level of blood sugar (as insulin is used to break down the sugar molecules).
Some of the symptoms related to the higher blood sugar level include:
- Slow wound healing
- Excessive thirst
- Blurred vision
- Unmanageable changes in body weight
Now that we have gotten that out of our way, it would be logical for us to move towards the next segment that involves the diet tips which one can use in order to maintain a healthy level of blood sugar.
Diet Tips For Managing Blood Sugar Level
The key to preventing diabetes is to eat healthy, for there is nothing else more beneficial than a meal-plan that is balanced in every aspect. It is also important to note the whether you are suffering from diabetes or not, your body’s nutritional requirement would be just the same as anyone else’s, however, there are certain changes that you can make in your diet, which might later lead to a more controlled sugar level.
A Diabetes Diet is one which looks at the nutritional quotient of all food items to create a list of healthy foods for diabetics to eat. The most important factor in the food recommended to a diabetic is that it should have low glycemic index. Glycemic Index is the rate at which energy is released during the breaking down of a particular food, and subsequent release of energy to the body.
If your diet includes a heavy consumption of sugar, you should also think about increasing your consumption of fiber. Since fiber is that part of the food that cannot be digested, a fiber-filled food takes a longer time to get completely digested and gives the pancreas enough time to secrete insulin. This phenomenon is known to decrease the body’s insulin resistivity and allow an easy break-down of sugar globules.
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Here is What You Should Eat on A Diabetic Diet
1. Healthy Fats
Though these may not directly aim to reduce your blood sugar level, healthy consumption of good fats however can reduce the effects of the high sugar level. For example, a high blood sugar level can lead to the risk of heart disease, and a good dosage of healthy fats helps in promoting cardiovascular health and could reduce the severity of the high sugar level in your blood. Some of the sources include nuts, flax seeds, fish oil rich in omega-3, and avocados.
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2. High-Fiber Fruits Can Manage Diabetes
As we have mentioned, eating a healthy amount of fiber can be quite beneficial when it comes to tackling diabetes as if slows the body’s digestive process. Moreover, this leads to slow sugar absorption and gives the pancreas an adequate amount of time to secrete enough insulin in order to break down the sugar molecules, thus lowering the blood sugar level. Some of the high-fiber foods that you can add to your diet are cereals and whole grains.
Also Read: Amazing Health Benefits Of Broccoli You Should Know
3. High-Protein Are Better Than Carbs
A high-protein diet can further help you replace that additional carbohydrate intake that might result in the increase of blood sugar. A protein diet provides you with the necessary nutrient that can help in the development of your body, and it further helps in the overall betterment of one’s health. Some of the healthy sources of protein include eggs, legumes, and fish and chicken dishes.
Also Read: Benefits of Fruits
4. Fresh Veggies And Fruits Are A Must
Loaded with dietary fibers and vitamins, a good amount of vegetables and fruits in your diet can help you lead a more healthy and controlled lifestyle. On the other hand, drinking some fresh fruit-based beverages might also just do the trick.
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5. Omega 3 rich Foods For Diabetics
Foods that are rich in omega 3s are known to reduce the severity of diabetic symptoms, and one of its most important benefits, similar to that of healthy fats, is its ability to reduce the level of bad-cholesterol in one’s blood and reduces the risk of any heart disease. Almost all of the seafood varieties are rich with omega 3 fatty acid and can prove to be a beneficial addition to your diet.
Here Is What You Should Not Eat On A Diabetic Diet:
1. Packaged Fruits
It is highly advised that the people suffering from high blood sugar should avoid packaged food, especially the ones which are loaded with sugar, the list however also includes baked goods and fried oily items as well.
2. Too Much Rice Should Be Avoided
Carbohydrates, when consumed, are broken down by the digestive enzymes into sugar molecules. This later leads to the increase in the blood sugar level and might in some cases even lead to the contraction of type 2 diabetes. having said that rice is not bad for everyone. White rice is particularly to be avoided by those who lead an inactive lifestyle If you are active and pack in at least 30 minutes of walk into your daily routine, controlled intake of rice is fine. However, you can switch white rice with brown rice, for it is low on starch and contains more fiber.
3. Low-Fat Foods
Though this might seem to you as quite an absurd suggestion, low-fat foods, which might be helpful in getting your body in shape, they would not be so helpful when it comes to maintaining your blood-sugar level, and the reason behind that is simple. Low-fat food, due to the low concentration or the absence of fat, tastes bad. And so, in order to make it taste better, a significant amount of sugar is added to the mix. Thus, this characteristic of low-fat foods may contribute to the rising of the blood sugar levels.
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Best Foods For Diabetics
Let us be more specific now and give you exactly the kind of information that you want. Here is the list of different food items, which could prove essential as a part of your diabetic or low-sugar diet.
1. Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Dana)
Loaded with a high concentration of water-soluble fiber, there is no doubt in our minds that fenugreek seeds can actually be quite beneficial for lowering the blood sugar level. The high-fiber nature of methi seeds leads to a decrease in the body’s insulin resistivity and further aids in the breaking down of sugar.
Also Read: Benefits of Kasuri Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves)|Side-Effects
These aromatic spices, cloves, consist of a chemical called nigericin, which acts as a natural stimulant for insulin, thus increasing the secretion rate of insulin by pancreas and breaking-down the sugar molecules, which further leads to a lowered blood sugar level.
3. Coconut Water For Diabetes
Coconut water, according to as a study, has been shown to be quite helpful in maintaining the body’s sugar level. However, it is more important for you to check before buying packaged coconut water, as most of them are loaded with sugar, which completely defies its purpose.
There are several brands selling packaged coconut water in India. We did an in-depth review of the top 8 brands to arrive at the tastiest and healthiest packaged coconut water available.
4. Ginseng Tea
Just another beverage that works well as an addition for a low-sugar diet, ginseng tea, consisting of a particular chemical called ginsenosides, can further benefit in increasing insulin secretion and effectively lower the blood sugar level.
5. Indian Gooseberry (Amla)
Indian gooseberry has been used as a natural remedy for controlling blood sugar and is an essential part of Ayurveda (an ancient medicinal tradition). Its fiber filled nature gives it the ability to lower the rate of digestion and sugar absorption, thus giving the pancreas enough time to secrete insulin and break down sugar globules.
6. Caraway Seeds
Fiber-rich in nature, like most other seeds, caraway seeds can be highly dependable when it comes to lowering the blood sugar level. In fact, these seeds are also popularly consumed.
7. Noni Juice
A highly beneficial beverage that is linked with increased secretion of insulin, the pancreatic juice that helps in the breaking down of sugar molecules and maintaining the overall blood sugar level. Noni juice is commonly consumed by people suffering from diabetes, all thanks to this benefit itself.
8. Sesame Seeds
These fiber loaded sesame seeds help in maintaining the blood sugar level when consumed in an adequate and regulated fashion.
Some other foods that you can add to your daily diet include:
- Mustard Seeds
- Green Leafy Veggies
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Apple Cider Vinegar
If you have carefully noted down the necessary things about how you can maintain your blood sugar level just by altering your diet instead of just cutting down on your sugar intake, you must also note that a healthy diet is just like a helping hand, there is a lot of effort and determination that goes into bringing one’s blood sugar level under control. All you have to do is eat well, stay fit and healthy.