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Stay Fit: Know the variety of foods that help control blood sugar level

There are varieties of food that a diabetic patient can splurge on to stay fit.

ByOsmee Nongmeikapam

Updated on 26 Sep 2020, 8:02 am

(Representational Image by Nadine-Unsplash)

(Representational Image by Nadine-Unsplash)

Food keep us going but eating healthy is the key to a healthy lifestyle. And eating foods that help control blood sugar level can help people with diabetes stay healthy. Diabetes is a chronic lifelong disease caused due to less insulin secretion in the beta cells of Langerhans at the Pancreas. This insulin helps maintain the blood glucose (sugar) level in the bloodstream. Those suffering from diabetes should have a strict diet plan in order to control the blood sugar level in the body. However, there are varieties of food that a diabetic patient can splurge on.

Eight important types of food to be included in the diet of a diabetic patient are –

A diabetic patient should consume high fibre, protein and healthy unsaturated fats with less carbohydrate and saturated fat contains into it. Potassium intake should be more as diabetic acidity leads to loss of potassium into the body and multi-vitamin supplements should be taken in order to meet the requirements of the body.

1. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, mustard, broccoli, lettuce, green beans, cauliflower, amaranth, cabbage, kale are rich in fibre, minerals, induce satiety has a low glycemic index, controls blood sugar levels, provide nutrients and energy needed by the body.

2. Vegetables like broccoli, lady’s finger, pumpkin, bitter melon, beans, lentils, beetroot, carrot, brinjal, mushroom, tomato, radish, cucumber are high in fibre contain, antioxidant, rich in vitamins and minerals too. Bitter melon contains a lectin that helps reduce the blood sugar level in the body.

3. Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, peanuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame, peas, hemp are rich in minerals, vitamins, fibre, antioxidant, carotenoids and phytosterols.

4. Oats, oat brans, black rice, ragi atta, barley helps induce satiety as it is rich in fibre. It also provides energy, fights obesity and maintain blood sugar level.

5. Eggs are a rich source of protein and contains around 80 calories. It contains very less amount of carbohydrate into it so it is good for diabetes patient. Three to five eggs can be consumed in a week.

6. Spices like ginger, cinnamon, fenugreek, onion, turmeric, basil, garlic, cinnamon, curry leaves are good for the body. It helps in retaining the blood sugar level. It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties too. Healthy beverages can be made from basil, ginger, cinnamon and turmeric. A research found that fenugreek consumed by soaking it overnight daily helps in controlling type 2 diabetes.

7. Fruits like apple, amla, guava, avocado, pomegranates, citrus (like orange, grapefruit), berries (like blueberry, blackberry, strawberry), has a low glycemic index, rich in fibre, are antioxidants. It helps lower the risk of glaucoma, cataracts, nerve damage or retinopathy diabetes, heart problems, stroke and other diseases. Berries contain anthocyanins that help retain blood sugar level and helps increase our sensitivity towards insulin. It is also good for skin, mood swings and brain functioning.

8. Fishes like salmon, maceral, tuna, sardines are not only rich in omega 3 fatty acids but are also good anti-oxidants, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and protein sources too. It helps slow digestion, controls blood sugar level and improved our memories.

Diabetes can also be controlled by regular exercise, checking the blood sugar level, maintaining a proper diet, by taking medications and doing regular checkups. The normal blood sugar level for a person should be between 72 to 99mg/dl (fasting) and up to 140 mg/dl (two hours after food). The requirement of nutrients depends upon the individual’s activities, Body mass index (BMI), age and other health factors. A person who has diabetes might have other chronic disorders along with the disease. This disease might cause blindness or blurry visions, damage brain functioning, lead to heart diseases or stroke, foot problems or gangrene diabetic foot and impairment of kidney functioning. Gout, heart diseases, thyroid problems, kidney problems, etc. may occur along with diabetes, so one should be very careful while maintaining the diet.

Maintaining the level of consumption is very important for our body. No food is good if consumed very less or excessively. The above foods can be given by considering the individual's physical conditions. If the individual is suffering from any other disease along with diabetes then one has to see according to it. The unsaturated fats obtained from fish, nuts and seeds are good cholesterols that helps clear bad cholesterol and maintains the blood pressure. Staying hydrated and drinking at least 2 litres a day can help detox the body.

Foods to avoid if you are diabetic

On the contrary, a diabetic patient should avoid sweetening dairy products and beverages like cake, chocolate, bakery products, ice cream, sandwiches, burgers etc. Fried foods and junk foods like a chicken lollipop, pizzas, noodles, pasta, dumplings, fry rice, biryani, etc. and caffeine products like coffee and tea are no good for diabetes. Processed food, starchy and toxic substances should be totally avoided for a healthy lifestyle and physic. High salty foods, soda, refined white flour, soda, smoked meat, barbecued meat and conventional foods should be totally avoided.

Since diabetes is a slow killer, we have to take good care of what we eat and try to be physically fit as much as possible. Meals should be plan wisely and the frequency can be increased by minimizing the amount of food. Awareness should be given to all the people so that the ignorant and the unfamiliar ones can understand and cope with the prevailing situations.

10 symptoms of diabetes are:

1. Polyphagia (excess eating/appetite)

2. Glycosuria (excess sugar in urine)

3. Polydipsia (excessive thirst)

4. Polyurea (excess/abnormal urination)

5. Hyperglycaemia (excess glucose in the bloodstream)

6. Blurred vision

7. Delay healing

8. Skin infection

9. Loss of weight, weakness, fatigue (tired)

10. Ketosis/Acidosis (caused due to less energy supply into the body)

Acidosis is a condition caused due to insufficient energy supply into the body wherein it starts utilizing from the protein and fat intakes and leads to accumulation of ketone into the liver (acidic form), thus the acidity causes unconsciousness and weakening of the body due to lack of proper metabolism of diet. This disease can be diagnosed either in urine, blood or by doing a glucose tolerance test.

Different types of diabetes can occur but dealing with it depends on its prevailing types - type 1, type 2, gestational, prediabetes or any other. Some of the main causes of diabetes may be due to heredity, obesity, lifestyle, ageing, pancreas cancer and glandular disorders. India is known as the diabetes capital of the world as it is one of the second most leading diabetic population in the world. Three main reasons for its increasing numbers are due to the lack of awareness, timely diagnosis and medication. In 1991, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and World Health Organization (WHO) launched “World Diabetes Day” on the 14th of November every year in order to treat diabetes and provide global awareness around the world.

First published:26 Sep 2020, 8:02 am


Osmee Nongmeikapam

Osmee Nongmeikapam

Lecturer, Tamphasana Girls’ Higher Secondary School, Imphal, Manipur

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