Glucose is an important source of energy to the cells that form tissues and muscles in our body. It also helps in functioning of the brain. Diabetes is a disease that affects how glucose or sugar is used in our body. Having a good diet and working out on a regular basis can help you stay away from diabetes. However, if you are diagnosed with diabetes, we have put together 10 foods that keep diabetes under control.
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 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 foods 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 with 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 affect on blood sugar level. 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. Reishi mushrooms benefit diabetes patients
Reishi mushrooms are popular as medicine from plants in eastern part of the world. A lot of research has been conducted and is still going on to prove that having reishi mushroom benefits diabetes patients by improving their insulin resistance. They have more than 400 nutrients and a rich source of beta glucans and triterpenoids. These compounds can help in keeping the blood sugar levels under control. However, having reishi mushrooms in addition to your diabetes medicine may lower your blood sugar levels beyond limit. It is always advised to consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication.
5. Beans are low on GI scale
Beans help in regulating blood sugar levels because of their low GI scale. They are called as 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 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 vegetable. Half 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 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 the 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 with diabetes are advised to have food high in fibre. These foods delay the digestion process and keep the blood sugar levels maintained. White breads and white rice are high on 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 it 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 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 with 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 which have saturated and trans-fat and also canned and frozen food are a strict no for people suffering with 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 with diabetes should not consume more than 2 drinks per day.