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Manage Diabetes with Your Food

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Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body cannot use sugar (glucose) normally. Hence, there is an increase in blood sugar level for a prolonged period of time. This happens when the body’s unable to produce or utilise the Insulin hormone efficiently. India is one of the leading countries with this metabolic disorder. People have a problem in managing their blood sugar levels mainly because of insufficient knowledge about Diabetes. A very basic problem they face is selecting right kind of food to eat.

Better healthThe four pillars of managing Diabetes are:

  • Physical activity: Being active on a daily basis is an integral part of staying fit and healthy for everyone including diabetics. Just walk for 20 to 30 minutes a day to overcome Diabetes -related health complications.
  • Medications: It varies depending on a person’s health condition. Be vigilant and regular while taking medications prescribed by physician.
  • Monitoring the blood sugar level at regular intervals: Regular monitoring will help you to know how blood sugar level is getting affected by your diet, medications, activities etc.
  • Eating right: The basic nutritional need of a diabetic is virtually same as a healthy person’s. However, give special attention while selecting carbohydrate-rich foods. This is because, eating the right quality and quantity of carbohydrates at the right time can largely influence blood sugar levels.

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Below are few dietary tips to help in managing Diabetes.

Timely meals

As cliché as it sounds, timely meals are a must to avoid the highs and lows of blood sugar levels. Huge variations in blood sugars lead to diabetic complications in the future. This can simply be prevented with timely meals. Breakfast is one important meal that no one should skip. Thus, timely meals will help you regulate your blood sugar levels.

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Glycemic Index (GI)

It measures how a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose level. Select foods with low to medium GI for if you are a diabetics. Example for low and moderate GI are most of the non-starchy vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains etc. Consult a Bucket list nutrition experts to plan a menu for a diabetic with low and moderate GI foods.

rice for diabetesAdd vegetables

Vegetables will just not add colour to our plate but also texture and taste. Most importantly, fibre in vegetables will help to manage blood sugar levels. Non-starchy vegetables contain a good quantity of fibre in them. This will ensure a slow release of sugar in the system. In this way, it will not cause a sudden spike in blood sugar level. Include at least one vegetable with every meal or snack.

Watch your protein intake

It is a myth that increased consumption of protein can help in the better management of blood sugar. Research says excess consumption of meat can lead to insulin resistance, which can then worsen diabetes. Protein requirement of a diabetic person is same as the protein requirement of a normal healthy person.

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Fruits for Diabetes

Fruits get bad ranking when it comes to Diabetes because of its sweetness (fructose). Fibre present in fruit especially in the skin, slows down the progression of fructose (fruit sugar) into the blood. Few fruits such as mangoes, grapes, banana etc are high in fructose content. Have these fruits in controlled proportions as a part of your healthy diet plan of a diabetic.

Sugar is not the killer

For a diabetic, there is no need to replace normal sugar with artificial sweeteners just to curb sugar cravings! Enjoy sugary treats, provided you plan your diet properly. Limit your hidden sugars which are present in many foods like biscuits and breakfast cereals. These are supposedly fortified with a good amount of sugars and saturated fats which are not good for Diabetes.

methi for diabetesSuperfoods for Diabetes

Spice up your meal with cinnamon powder. Cinnamon regulates blood sugar levels naturally because of “cinnamaldehyde” present in itTurmeric in food or “haldi milk” is a  super food that improves insulin sensitivity because of “curcumin. Probiotics in fresh homemade curd, will help you manage blood sugar by reducing insulin resistance. Lignans in flaxseeds, soluble fiber in methi seeds will significantly improve HbA1C levels. Also, Dark chocolate in moderation prevents the onset of type 2 diabetes. Flavonoids present in the cocoa help reduce insulin resistance. These superfoods will also prevent food cravings and increase satiety of a meal.

Diabetes is a condition which can be very well managed with small changes in your lifestyle. It can help to bring in irreversible and sustainable results. Try to follow the above-mentioned tips to see improvement in HbA1C levels and manage Diabetes efficiently!

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Aruna, Asha
Consultants-Nutrition