6 Foods That Help You Manage Diabetes Better
To manage diabetes you do not necessarily need to eat a completely sugar-free diet. A well-balanced diet including fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help you manage symptoms of diabetes better. A diabetes diet should include fiber-rich foods, healthy fats and carbohydrates. This helps in diabetes management, prevents weight gain and promotes heart health. Read on to know about the 6 versatile foods that you can add to your diet to manage diabetes better!
A Nature publication, July 2018 reported that diabetes-related deaths are triple in India as compared to the Western nations. The reason for higher death rates from chronic diseases in India and other developing countries is due to lack of detection at an early stage and less effective treatments as compared to high-income countries.
Professor Majid Ezzati, lead author of the analysis from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London said, “Health service planning in India should change fundamentally towards prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases like cancers, heart and kidney disease, and diabetes, which now are the most important cause of morbidity, death and economic loss in India.”
Thus, for better diabetes management it is important that people are aware of the right treatment plan and diet. Here, we talk about 6 foods that you can include in your diabetes diet!
This green super-food has a plethora of health benefits and can easily be incorporated in any Indian diet whether it’s a curry, soup or salad. Broccoli is a rich source of antioxidants especially vitamin C and beta-carotene, which the body uses to make vitamin A.
It has high levels of sulphur-containing compounds called glucosinolates which helps improve heart health. This is especially important for diabetes management as it benefits people who are at an increased risk for heart disease, stroke and heart-related deaths. Other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi and bok choy are great alternatives to broccoli.
The different types of beans such as black, kidney, white, and lima beans are high in fiber and a good source of protein. The soluble fiber in the beans stabilizes blood sugar levels as they are absorbed more slowly. As a result, this prevents blood sugar spikes. Beans also prevent weight gain as they are low in fat, which is important for diabetes management.
Maintaining a healthy body weight helps in better blood sugar control and lowers your risk for diabetes-related complications like high blood pressure and plaque buildup in the arteries. It also helps you in feeling fuller longer in lower caloric intake. Beans are inexpensive, versatile and virtually fat-free, which makes it an integral part of any diabetes diet!
Fish is a healthy protein source that helps manage diabetes. It also decreases the risk of heart disease and stroke – a major concern for diabetics. Fatty fishes such as sardines, salmon, mackerel and trout are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
They are low in harmful saturated fats and cholesterol, which are additionally beneficial for heart health. The combination of healthy fats and lean protein helps slow down carbohydrate absorption in the body that prevents blood sugar spikes.
People widely consume lentils across India. It is not only versatile but is also one of the best foods that lower blood sugar levels. Lentils are rich in protein and lower in calories. Furthermore, they are rich in carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium and polyphenols.
They also have a low glycemic index. Foods with low GI prevents blood sugar spikes. These nutrients help improve glucose metabolism and lower the risk of diabetes. Lentils also positively affect heart health reducing the risk of heart diseases and stroke in diabetics.
Nuts such as almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts and walnuts are a hugely beneficial part of a diabetes diet. They are a rich source of heart-healthy substances such as vitamin E, unsaturated fats, fiber and magnesium. Nuts have a low glycemic index, which prevents blood sugar spikes and thus, in turn, manage diabetes.
The different nutrients also help lower “bad” cholesterol and increase “good” cholesterol levels in your body. Therefore, reducing the risk of heart diseases. However, they are high in calories and obese diabetics should consume them in moderation to prevent excess weight gain.
Different berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are all considered healthy for diabetics. These berries are low in sugar and have a high fiber content that helps manage diabetes better.
Polyphenols and antioxidants present in these fruits improve insulin sensitivity. They also reduce heart health risks in people suffering from diabetes. However, preparing juice from these fruits increases blood sugar as you lose the fiber present in them in the process of juicing.
Isn’t A list of 6 foods seem too short for your diabetes diet?
Don’t worry. You can easily manage diabetes by keeping these few considerations in mind.
- Choose non-starchy vegetables and maintain a variety of different types and colours of vegetables.
- Opt for whole-grain foods rather than refined grains and flours.
- Include more lean protein foods.
- Limit the intake of unhealthy fats (saturated fats) and eat more healthy fats (unsaturated fats).
- Choose low-fat milk and other dairy products.
- Avoid packaged foods containing “added sugars”.
- Check the calorie content of “sugar-free” products to avoid excess weight gain.
Choosing diabetes-friendly foods can be a daunting task; but not anymore! What are your favourite diabetes foods? Let us know in the comments section below.
Disclaimer: Consult your doctor for more targeted diabetes diet recommendations and proper monitoring of your blood glucose levels for better diabetes management.