Diabetes and food management

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Written by Ekta Sanoria MSc (Food Technology), Reviewed by Dr. Shyam Sundar Gupta PhD (Biotechnology) and Dr. Ajay Kumar Tiwari, MD (Ay.)

Diabetes develops in the human body when blood glucose (blood sugar) is too high. In other words, we can say that diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, which result in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood. Glucose in the blood is the chief source of energy for the human body and it produces from the daily food intake. Sometimes human body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. The glucose then stores in human blood and doesn’t reach human cells (1).

Having too much glucose in human blood can cause other health issues. Even though diabetes is a not curable disease, it can be only managed.

Symptoms

The symptoms of diabetes vary from person to person depending on the amount of blood sugar in the human body. Some signs and symptoms of diabetes are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Irritability
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Extreme hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Gums infections
  • Skin infections
  • Vaginal infections

Best foods for managing diabetes

Black jamun

Black jamun is a popular summer fruit which helps to control blood sugar levels. Jamun cider vinegar converts sugar and starch into energy without spiking blood sugar levels. This jamun cider vinegar maintains normal blood sugar in the morning and it can be taken at night before sleeping. This would also manage the symptoms like thirst, weakness, frequent urination, and nausea (2).

Cinnamon

It is a delicious spice and full of antioxidants. Several studies have shown that cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity (3).

Eggs

Regular consumption of eggs reduces heart disease. Eggs decrease inflammation and bad LDL cholesterol, and increase good HDL cholesterol levels, and improve insulin sensitivity. Try to eat whole eggs because the benefits of eggs are primarily due to nutrients found in the yolk rather than the white of the egg (4).

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are super food for diabetic patients. They are rich in fiber and low in digestible carbohydrates. The viscous fiber in chia seeds actually lower blood sugar levels (5).

Fenugreek seeds

Fenugreek seeds contain fiber and phytochemicals that may slow digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. It has been found that a daily dose of 10 gms of fenugreek seeds soaked in hot water overnight may help to control diabetes (6).

Foods to avoid

Diabetes causes the risk of heart disease and stroke by due to development of clogged and hardened arteries. Foods and food constituents should be limited or avoided are following.

Saturated fats: Keep away from high fat containing dairy stuff and animal proteins such as butter, beef, sausage, bacon and hot dogs. The coconut and palm kernel oils should be used in limit.

Trans fats: The trans fats found in processed snacks, shortening, baked goods, and stick margarines should be avoided.

Cholesterol: The high-fat dairy stuff and animal proteins such as liver, egg yolks and other organ meats. It shouldn’t be more than 200 mg in a day.

Sodium: It should be less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.

Sugar sweetened beverages: Sodas and sweet drinks are high in carbohydrates and increase the blood sugar. Also their high fructose quantity has been linked to insulin resistance and increase the risk of obesity.’

Rice, pasta and white bread: Rice, pasta and white bread are high in carbohydrates and low in fiber. These foods increase the blood sugar level. High-fibrous whole foods may reduce blood sugar level.

Take fruits

  • Always eat fresh, local and low glycemic index fruits.
  • Eat fruits in the middle of meals as a snack.
  • Eat fruits with olives and some nuts to maintain the glycemic load.
  • A sprinkle fruit with cinnamon make balance blood sugar levels.
  • Never take fruit juice.
  • Avoid cooked fruits take only raw fruits.

Note: Please consult your family doctor before applying any health tips of Amrit Health Tips website (www.amrithealthtips.com).

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