Diabetes is a chronic disease that can lead to many other life-threatening complications such as kidney failure and heart diseases. Having a healthy lifestyle and eating habits can help prevent, treat, and reverse the effects of Diabetes. If we specifically talk about foods, one needs to have a balanced diet that boosts energy, keeps the taste buds happy, and improves moods. Having said that, let’s learn more about diabetes diet and how to make it a part of your routine.
Need for a healthy-eating plan in Diabetes
Excess intake of calories and fat increases blood glucose levels in the body, which can lead to heart, nerve, and kidney damage, if not controlled at the right time. Therefore, a healthy eating plan is a must for individuals diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes.
It is always advised to consult a dietitian who can create a customized plan, instead of doing it yourself. A well-made plan will help control blood glucose levels, manage weight, as well as control the risk of other diseases related to diabetes.
Foods to include in diabetes diet
Unlike common myths, a diabetes diet doesn’t need to be unappetizing. A dietitian can help in creating a plan based on your lifestyle, health goals, as well as taste. Let’s look at some of the foods recommended for individuals who want to control, prevent, and reverse diabetes.
Carbs are the primary source of energy for body and fuel for the functioning of the brain. Therefore, it is vital to have foods rich in carbohydrates. Individuals with or prone to diabetes must be aware of the glycemic index (GI) of foods. Foods with higher GI are digested, absorbed and metabolized quickly, thus causing high fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Foods with low GI carbs are good for long-term health, as they cause a low fluctuation in blood glucose levels. Add legumes, whole grains, vegetables without starch, fruits, nuts, and other carbohydrate-rich foods with low GI in your diet.
Fiber helps in controlling the blood glucose level and moderating the digestion in the body. Increase the intake of vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fruits, and legumes, as these are rich in fiber.
Fish such as tuna, sardines, and salmon are rich in Omega3-fatty acid, which helps prevent heart problems. Eat fish twice a week, however, avoid consuming fish that have high levels of mercury.
Foods that contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can control the cholesterol level in the body. Nuts, avocados, and olive, peanut and canola oils are rich in good fats. However, make sure that you limit their consumption as an excess of any type of fat is not good for the body.
Foods to avoid in diabetes diet
Diabetes can increase the risk of clogged and hardened arteries, which could lead to a person getting a stroke or heart disease. Certain foods can accelerate blood glucose levels in the body and must be avoided by those suffering from or prone to diabetes. The list of foods to avoid includes:
Saturated-fat rich foods
Foods rich in saturated fat such as high-fat dairy products, animal proteins such as beef, sausage, and bacon, and oils such as kernel and coconut.
Trans-fat rich foods
Foods rich in trans fat that is found in baked goods, processed items etc.
Foods with a high amount of sodium. Try restricting daily sodium intake to 2,300 mg.
Foods with high sugar
Foods and beverages with a high amount of added sugars, such as soda, energy drinks, juice, ice-cream, and candies.
Dairy products with high-fat
High-fat dairy products, animal proteins, liver, organ meats, and egg yolks. One should not take more than 200 milligrams of cholesterol daily.
Ideal time to eat, if you have diabetes
Meal timings depend on the type of insulin or diabetes medicine an individual is taking. Those put on ‘mealtime’ insulin can be more flexible with eating schedules, while others might have to take the same amount of carbohydrates at the same time daily. Another factor to take care of is not skipping or delaying the meal as this can lower the blood glucose level. Always consult your doctor and dietitian about the right time to eat meals.
A healthy and well-balanced diet keeps the blood glucose level in control and prevents any complications related to diabetes. In addition to managing glucose levels, a diabetes diet can also help in achieving weight loss goals. So, work with your dietitian to create a diet plan for diabetes that works for you to live a healthy and hearty life.