For most of you who are unwell, visiting a doctor and getting a diagnosis along with a treatment plan works smoothly, doesn’t it?
Some diseases, however, are silent predators. They offer no warnings and pounce upon you quite later in life. One of such diseases is diabetes. Diabetes affects more than 24 million people in the US. What’s more surprising is that 25 percent of them do not even know about it.
What is Diabetes?
The food you eat is broken down into sugar or glucose as soon as it enters the body. Your body requires this glucose to extract energy and maintain its normal functions. For utilizing glucose, your body produces a hormone named as insulin.
Insulin is what drives glucose from the blood into the cells so that the cells are able to use it.
In a patient suffering from diabetes, not enough insulin is present. This means that the cells are unable to take up any of it from the blood. With the passage of time, the glucose starts accumulating in the blood and increase the sugar levels.
Types of Diabetes
There are three types of diabetes- type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Diabetes type 1 occurs in people of all ages whose bodies fail to produce enough insulin. Gestational diabetes is seen in pregnant females and tends to disappear after they give birth.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form that usually hits obese individuals. The risk of this disease increases in people who observe sedentary lifestyles and are not a fan of exercise.
How is Diabetes Related to Diet?
Food can either promote or prevent the incidence of diabetes, depending on its impact on glucose processing. Foods that increase the blood sugar levels and cholesterol can exacerbate the symptoms of diabetes and worsen the situation.
Diet including processed foods, saturated fats, added sugars as well as syrups are particularly said to worsen diabetes. These food items not only disturb the balance between insulin and glucose but can also induce inflammation and increase the risk of being overweight.
Consumption of excessive carbohydrates also needs to be watched. Carbs serve as fuel for your body but can also increase the sugar levels more than any other food item. These foods need to be measured for their glycemic index to find out how they can impact a diabetic person.
Healthy Diet for Diabetics
A healthy diet for diabetics is quite similar to a healthy diet for just anyone. It includes eating reasonably sized portions of a meal to avoid weight gain and relying more on vegetables and fruits. Diabetes much use whole grains instead of processed ones and incorporate fish, legumes, beans and liquid oils in their routine meals.
High-calorie diets such as chips, ice creams, cakes, etc. must be limited.
The patients are also encouraged to work out for 30 minutes every day and to lose 5-10 percent of the total body weight in case of type 2 diabetes.
Anyone who is experiencing blurry vision, fatigue, extreme thirst or frequent urination must immediately see a doctor. By carefully regulating the dietary, diabetes can be easily kept under control.
To make it more simple, try following these steps.
Step One: Be Conscious of Carbs
Your body tends to digest foods with a low glycemic index (GI) more slowly. This means that such foods are great for stabilizing your blood glucose levels. These foods not only help you control blood sugar but can also prevent certain complications.
Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is an eye disease with a strong association to a high GI-diet. People with diabetes are already at an increased risk of developing eye diseases. For such people, eating foods with low glycemic indexes can help maintain eye health.
Additionally, foods with high GI can lead to unwanted spikes in your blood glucose levels. Scientists have a reason to believe that these spikes in glucose levels can lead to complications. This is true even if the spikes continue for a short duration of time.
So it is better for all the diabetic patients to switch to foods with a low glycemic index.
How can you make this change?
Try eating wholegrain bread instead of wholemeal bread. Replace all the processes cereals with oat-based porridge. Rely more on natural muesli and try avoiding rice and eat noodles or pasta instead.
If you cannot live without eating rice, switch to a better version. Basmati rice tends to have a lower GI than Jasmine. If you are a spud lover, try eating sweet potatoes of GI Nicola potatoes.
Step Two: Focus on Good Fats
Trans fats, monounsaturated fats, saturated fats, or polyunsaturated fats? Confused?
If you cannot decide which fats to choose, get one thing straight. While some fats are good for your health, too much of any kind can be dangerous. They can lead to insulin resistance, obesity, and rigidity of the arteries.
Make the change by limiting the number of times you consume butter, fatty meals, and full-fat dairy. Say no to processed foods and try consuming healthier oils such as canola and olive oil.
Rely more on fish as it is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids can not only reduce blood pressure and triglyceride level but may also fight depression. Fattier fish will provide you with more omega-3s so try eating salmon, tuna, and sardines.
Certain varieties such a deep sea perch, swordfish, and flake are high in mercury. So do not eat them more often.
If you are relying on salmon or tuna, cook these fish on the BBQ or in a pan. If you wish to eat a white fish, wrap it in a foil and bake it so that it retains moisture. If there is no way for you to access fresh fish, try canned fish.
Step Three: Cut Back on Salt
If you watch any TV show, you will probably get to hear how seasoning is the essence of cooking. People often tend to say that it is actually a great idea to season your food. Health experts, however, do not believe so.
Putting salt in everything is not good for health because it can increase blood pressure. A high blood pressure eventually puts a greater pressure on the kidneys too. So it is better to stay away from salts and try making your sauces on your own.
Step Four: Get More Legumes
Lentils, kidney beans, and chickpeas; if you are not a fan, think again.
Legumes offer tons of health benefits such as improving insulin sensitivity. They also help your body get a better control of the blood sugar level.
It may be much easier for you to stick to carrots, peas, or potatoes. However, legumes are an awesome choice for people suffering from diabetes. They have a low glycemic index and are quite filling.
Additionally, these tiny legumes are rich in fiber which means they can help lower cholesterol.
Try treating legumes like other vegetables. If you are cooking a stir-fry, add some chickpeas in it. If you are thinking of cooking mince, throw some kidney beans in it. Add lentils to your curries since they absorb flavor.
Step Five: Literally Go Nuts
You cannot have a better snack than nuts, especially for people with diabetes.
Diabetics are naturally at a higher risk of encountering a heart problem. The healthy minerals, fats, fiber, and vitamins in nuts can help reduce this risk. They can reduce inflammation, improve insulin efficiency, and lower the levels of cholesterol.
Incorporate as many nuts as you can in your meals and snacks. Whenever you are hungry, just eat a handful of nuts. While eating a cereal, add some chopped nuts or walnuts for added flavor and health boost.