Glucose is an important source of energy to the cells that form tissues and muscles in our body. It also helps in the functioning of the brain. Diabetes is a disease that affects how glucose or sugar is used in our bodies.
There are two types of diabetic conditions, Type 1 and Type 2. In type-2 diabetes, there could be two interrelated problems i.e. either your pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin or your cells or tissues are not able to accept the insulin produced. Then there is prediabetes and gestational diabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which the blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not as high to be declared as diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a condition seen in pregnant women which gets normal after the baby is delivered.
Prediabetes, if not controlled at an early stage, may lead to diabetes. Diabetes has several side effects including damage to vital organs in our body such as the Heart, Liver, and Kidneys. While the occurrence of symptoms for diabetes may vary from case to case, here are a few commonly observed symptoms in diabetic patients -frequent urination, thirst, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue among others.
If you’re worried about diabetes, here are 10 types of food to consider including in your diet.
1. Fatty Fish Regulates Post-Meal Blood Sugar Levels
Fatty fish is a great source of protein and also regulates blood sugar levels. A study shows that people who consumed fatty fish showed noteworthy improvements in post-meal blood sugar levels. It is also proven that consuming fatty fish promotes heart health, which in turn reduces the risk of heart stroke among people suffering from diabetes. Salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, and mackerel are great sources of the omega-3 fatty acids-DHA and EPA, which have major benefits for human health.
2. Eggs Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Consuming eggs as a part of breakfast reduces the risk of heart-related diseases among diabetic patients. They also help manage the blood sugar levels throughout the day. Eggs improve insulin sensitivity, decrease inflammation, increase your HDL (good) cholesterol levels and modify the size and shape of your LDL (bad) cholesterol. Having a whole egg instead of just egg whites is more beneficial as there are more nutrients in the yolk than the egg white. Eggs can be prepared in various ways to suit your taste.
3. Leafy Greens Protect From Common Diabetes Complications
People with diabetes are found to have lower Vitamin C levels than compared to people with no diabetes. Leafy vegetables are a rich source of Vitamin C. Spinach and Kale specifically provide vitamins and minerals in abundance while also being very low in digestible carbohydrates that are absorbed by the body. This property of leafy vegetables helps them have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels. Leafy vegetables are extremely nutritious, low in calories, and have antioxidants like Lutein and Zeaxanthin. These antioxidants protect our eyes from common diabetes complications in the eyes.
4. Chia Seeds Are High In Fibre
The high in fibre and low in digestible carbohydrates properties of Chia seeds work wonders for people suffering from diabetes. The rate at which food moves through the gut and the absorption rate of the food can be reduced by Chia seeds. In addition to that, they also help you achieve a healthy weight because of the fibre content which reduces hunger. They also help in maintaining Glycemic in individuals with diabetes. Again, Chia seeds can be used in multiple ways. They can be sprinkled over breakfast, as salad dressing, for baking, and even as dessert- by adding water to them.
5. Beans Are Low On GI Scale
Beans help in regulating blood sugar levels because of their low GI scale. They are called complex carbohydrates which means they take time to digest, unlike carbohydrates. They are a rich source of plant-based protein. Carbohydrate intake can be substantially reduced with the intake of beans. Various types of beans helpful for diabetic patients are
They also contain nutrients like iron, potassium and magnesium. A variety of beans in chilli stew or in tortilla wraps with salads is the most common way in which beans can be used. It is always advised not to use canned beans. In case you use canned beans, make it a point to use unsalted beans or drain the water and rinse before using them.
6. Broccoli Reduces Blood Glucose In People With Diabetes
Broccoli is one of the most nutritious vegetables. Half a cup of cooked broccoli contains only 27 calories and 3 grams of digestible carbohydrates. Eating broccoli sprouts may help lower insulin levels and prevent cellular damage in diabetic people. It has also helped in the management of blood sugar levels. Approximately 10% of blood glucose was reduced in people who consumed broccoli sprouts. This reduction happened due to the presence of a chemical called Sulforaphane which is present in vegetables like broccoli and sprouts.
7. Sweet Potatoes Can Minimize The Occurrence Of Insulin
Sweet potatoes can be classified as low to high on the Glycemic index scale. Several studies proved that it can help minimize the occurrence of insulin resistance and lower blood sugar levels. Sweet Potatoes slowly release sugar into the bloodstream as compared to other starchy foods. This slow release of sugar aids in controlling the blood sugar levels and makes sure it is not too low or too high. Sweet potatoes also have fibre that is helpful in managing diabetes. Soluble fibres such as Pectin are known to reduce food consumption and spikes in blood sugar. Also, sweet potatoes are rich in Magnesium which minimize the risk of individuals acquiring Type II diabetes.
8. Whole Grains Slower The Digestion Process
At least half of your grains for the day should be whole grains. Whole grains contain fibre and more nutrients than white grains. People suffering from diabetes are advised to have food high in fibre. These foods delay the digestion process and keep the blood sugar levels maintained. White bread and white rice are high on the GI index as compared to whole grains because whole grains have no impact on blood sugar. Whole grains that can be included in the diet are
9. Flax Seeds Have Unique Plant Compounds
Flax seeds are beneficial for heart and gut health making them a must-have for diabetic people. Flax seeds contain heart-healthy omega 3 fats and fibre. A part of their fibre is made up of lignans which help in improving blood sugar level management. It is always advised to use flax seeds in ground form as a human body cannot digest whole flax seeds. Also, it is always better to refrigerate them in a tight lid container to avoid a foul smell or getting stale.
10. Raw Garlic May Help Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
Garlic has many medicinal properties and is useful for people suffering from diabetes. Though research is underway, it can be safe to say that having a raw garlic clove on a daily basis may help in reducing blood sugar levels and keeping them in control. Garlic contains vitamin b6 that helps in carbohydrate management and vitamin c that maintains sugar levels.
Foods To Avoid For Diabetes
The above-mentioned foods are helpful for patients with diabetes. There are foods that have to be avoided to stay healthy and maintain blood sugar levels. Foods that are rich in carbohydrates or sugar can cause serious damage to people who have diabetes. Foods that are rich in starch and glucose should be avoided. Foods that have saturated and trans fat and also canned and frozen food are a strict no for people suffering from diabetes. Limiting alcohol consumption is a healthy habit to follow always. It is recommended that women who have diabetes should not consume more than 1 drink per day and men suffering from diabetes should not consume more than 2 drinks per day.
Yoga Asana For Diabetes
Yoga is practiced worldwide and is known to have many health benefits. There are few asanas that can be practiced on a daily basis to avoid chronic diseases. For people with diabetes, asana such as legs-up-the-wall pose, reclining bound angle pose, seated forward bend pose, supported shoulder stand, and bow pose, all have been proven to be helpful. However, we recommend you consult a physician before making any changes to your lifestyle. Before practicing any asana please consult an expert in yoga to know which asana suits your physical condition.