New Delhi: Have you been diagnosed with diabetes?
Instead of pressing the panic button and worrying about getting shots of insulin, how about incorporating a healthy diet plan to keep your blood sugar levels under control?
Nutrition plays an important role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. What kind of food you eat, its quantity and timing need to be evaluated constantly to keep blood glucose level in the desired range.
"Following a healthy eating plan can not only control blood sugar levels but it can also help to manage weight and control the risk factors of heart disease and high blood pressure," says Nmami Agarwal, Celebrity Nutritionist and Dietician.
While consuming food with excess calories and fats, the body responds negatively and makes the blood glucose levels shoot up. This can lead to serious problems like hyperglycemia and other long-term complications such as nerve, kidney and heart damages.
There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Both these types are chronic diseases that impede the regulation of blood sugar or glucose in the body. While glucose keeps the body cells functioning, insulin allows the body to store and use glucose from the bloodstream.
All types of diabetes cause blood glucose levels to be higher than normal, but they do this in different ways. While type 1 diabetes harms insulin production because the body's immune system attacks insulin-producing cells from the pancreas, in type 2 diabetes, the cells are unable to make use of glucose efficiently for energy production. This occurs when blood sugar gets too high and cells became insensitive to insulin.
The best way to keep diabetes under control is to follow a diet plan that is a perfect combination of nutritious foods including fiber-rich complex carbohydrates, lean protein sources, whole grains, healthy fats, dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Given below are must-have foods you may want to pick up at the grocery store or eat in a restaurant while following a diabetic diet plan:
- Vegetables: Choose from non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and bell peppers. The starchy ones ideal for a diabetic patient are potatoes, corns and peas.
- Fruits: Consume apples, bananas, oranges and berries in good quantities.
- Cereals: Barley, wheat, rice, quinoa and oatmeal are diabetic friendly cereal and can be eaten as part of the regular diet.
- Proteins: Chicken, fish, egg, nuts, legumes, tofu and beans are rich source of proteins.
- Dairy: Dairy items should consist of low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese.
- Nuts and oils: Include heart-healthy fat like nuts, seeds, avocado and oils such as canola, olive oil, mustard, coconut, rice bran oil in your diet plan.
Changing your lifestyle should be the first step towards diabetes. Consider these tips for taking control:
- Do not skip breakfast. Having a healthy breakfast will help to maintain steady blood glucose levels throughout the day.
- Add a rainbow of colours to the plate every day. This will help your body get all the vitamins and minerals it needs to sustain its functions well.
- If you have diabetes, cut down on soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks, as these are high in calories.
- Maintain body weight 10% lower than the ideal body weight.
- If you engage in physical activity, increase the calorie intake as per the body needs.
- If you are following a diet plan, ensure your food provides you 60% of your calories from carbohydrates, 15-20% from proteins and 15-20% from fats.
- Restrict simple sugars obtained from carrots, sweet potatoes, etc since they are easily absorbed and have a high glycemic index.
- Eat snacks in between to avoid hypoglycemia. Three main meals and three in between snacks are a must.
- Avoid fasting. Those who fast or skip meals can create problems for themselves as blood glucose levels drop too low.
- Incorporate good quality fats such as avocado and nuts in your diet.