The best foods for diabetes patients to Choose
Diabetes is a common chronic disease that needs to be tackled efficiently by proper care and healthy lifestyle changes. Food and lifestyle are crucial things that help to keep your blood sugar under control. A healthy and active lifestyle is a part of diabetes management, especially type 2 diabetes, as it is called a lifestyle disorder.
People with diabetes need glucose for energy that comes from the food they eat. With diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or cannot use it effectively. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar and supplies sugar from the blood to cells to store or use for energy.
So, food for diabetes patients needs to be selected from the right food group. They should eat a balanced diet and small portions. Just keep things simple, your main goal is to manage and control blood sugar levels. Based on various studies, we have prepared a list of foods for diabetes patients that you can include in your daily diet to balance your blood sugar levels and minimize insulin resistance in the body.
This article includes the best food for diabetes patients that helps you to manage your increased blood sugar:
1. Whole Grains
Replace your plate with whole-grain food for diabetes patients instead of refined grains. Whole grains are loaded with fiber and nutrients that may reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus. Containing more fiber slows the digestion process, thus your body absorbs nutrients at a slower pace, preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.
Whole grains also contain a lower glycemic index (GI), which impacts blood sugar levels less. Brown rice, whole wheat, buckwheat, oats, millet, and quinoa are good choices for diabetes patients. Beta-glucans in oats and barley can lower blood glucose levels.
2. Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables have loads of nutrients. They are also low in calories and low in carbohydrates. Green leafy vegetables are rich in dietary fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, so they reduce the chance of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli, Malabar spinach, Collard Greens, cabbage, Beet Greens or lettuce should be included in your diet. They are full-packed with essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Diabetics must eat some raw vegetables in the form of salads since cooking vegetables can destroy many important elements like phytochemicals. You can also eat them as traditional sabzi or soups.
Nuts are highly beneficial for diabetes patients. They are also known as superfoods. Their taste and nutritional profile is the added advantage. They are often low in carbohydrates and high in soluble fiber. Consuming nuts with a controlled diet can reduce blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Almonds are known to control blood sugar and insulin levels after a meal. Walnuts also control blood sugar levels and avoid the risk of diabetes. Pistachios have the hormone glucagon-like peptide1, which improves glucose levels, thus reducing the risk of diabetes.
4. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is low in carbohydrates and high in calcium, probiotics, and protein. Moreover, it also contains a low glycemic index (GI). Unsweetened, low-fat Greek yogurt improves blood glucose levels and avoids the risk of type 2 diabetes.
People with diabetes can have Greek yogurt with a meal or as a snack between major meals. Having probiotics is also good for digestion. The high protein of Greek yogurt keeps you fuller for a long time, hence helpful in weight loss. You can mix fruits like pomegranate or apple on top with this delicious curd and eat it as a dessert , it can be your new diabetes friendly recipe.
Many people don’t like to eat garlic due to its smell, but garlic is helpful for diabetes management. It is full of nutrition, eating garlic helps to improve the glycemic status and reduces fasting and postprandial (After lunch or dinner) blood sugar levels.
Garlic is a great source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Vitamin B6 promotes carbohydrate metabolism, and vitamin C helps to maintain blood sugar levels. If you’re a diabetic person, you can consume raw garlic or add it to foods. Besides this, it also lowers cholesterol levels, inflammation, and blood pressure.
Cinnamon helps to combat diabetes, and reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications, as you know, diabetes is a silent killer and causes other serious health issues.
It increases insulin secretion and the signaling of insulin receptors, thus helpful in diabetes management. Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants, preventing the further progression of diabetes. It also checks a sudden spike in sugar levels after meals.
Beans have a load of nutrition, rich in fiber and protein. They keep you fuller for a long duration and reduce your carbohydrate intake. Beans contain a low glycemic index (GI) and effectively work on blood sugar levels.
Beans with a GI of 28 or above are kidney beans, while chickpeas have a GI of 33. Therefore, beans are highly beneficial for diabetes patients.
In a study of more than 3,000 participants at high risk of cardiovascular disease, those who consumed more legumes had a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes
Berries are a rich source of antioxidants. They are high in vitamin C and fiber. Berries such as blueberries, and strawberries help to regulate blood glucose levels, hence beneficial for people with diabetes. Strawberries can reduce cholesterol and glucose levels when you eat them after a meal.
It depends on the types of mushrooms you take, the glycemic index can fluctuate. However, mushrooms have a low GI. With unique nutritional benefits, it also adds some good and new flavor to a meal. Mushrooms are special food for diabetes patients for vegetarians.
Cauliflower comes under cruciferous vegetables. It is beneficial in terms of glycemic load. This vegetable is not only good for diabetes but also beneficial for heart disease and has anti-cancer characteristics. It gets absorbed easily and contributes a variety of nutrients to the body.
11. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a fermented juice of apples that contains vitamin C, B and acetic acid. It effectively lowers blood glucose levels after meals and enhances insulin function, hence it is beneficial for diabetes patients.
Foods to prevent in diabetes
- Sugary food and beverages like cake, candy, bakery products, soft drinks, canned juice, and soda.
- Processed and refined food, white bread, white pasta, tortillas, etc.
- Deep fried and fatty food – fritters, burger, pizza
- Starchy vegetables – potatoes, corn, and peas
- Packaged food or junk food
- Regular cheeses
- Trans fat – peanut butter, spreads, creamers
A Few Other Tips For Diabetes Control
- Do daily exercise
- Stay hydrated
- Manage stress through management tools like mediation, yoga, music and exercise
- Choose low glycaemic index foods
- Regular monitor your blood in checks
The above-mentioned list of foods for diabetic patients can help in keeping blood sugar levels on track. Besides these foods, one needs to be active, adopt a healthy lifestyle and maintain an ideal body weight. By following a healthy and low carb diet with physical activity, diabetic patients can lead a quality life as well as, they can also enjoy their favorite food but in small portions. A healthy and balanced diet also helps in preventing diabetes complications like skin sore, heart disease, vision problem, kidney problem, etc. Doctor’s advice and medication are also essential for those who are suffering from very high blood sugar levels.
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