“When I work, a lot of times, I have to lose weight, and I do that. But in my regular life I was not eating right, and I was not getting enough exercise. But by the nature of my diet and that lifestyle – boom! The end result was high blood sugars that reach the levels where it becomes Type 2 diabetes. I share that with a gajillion other people.”-Tom Hanks
The successful American actor, Tom Hanks, has touched stratospheric heights of fame, but he is also plagued with dreaded diabetes. Diabetes is a worldwide phenomenon today with millions of people afflicted by this disease. It has debilitating effects on the lifestyle of the people who have difficulty in managing their diet and physical activities.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
When the blood glucose levels in the body goes higher than normal then it is termed as hyperglycemia. In type 2 diabetes, the body does not use the insulin properly and this condition is called insulin resistance.
At the beginning, the pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for the lack of this essential hormone. But as time passes, the pancreas is just not able to keep up. This results in your body being unable to maintain normal glucose levels.
That is why people with diabetes have to eat frequent meals. These meals have to be planned to manage the glucose levels in the body.
Top 10 Foods For Diabetic Patients
Let’s look at some foods that are beneficial for people suffering from diabetes:
Beans raise the blood-sugar levels slowly and gently rather than spiking it. Beans contain high-quality carbohydrate. Opt for these over low-quality carbs, such as refined grains and flours. Choose a combination of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats. Various types of beans, such as black, white, navy, garbanzo, soy and our favorite red kidney beans are also available in the market. These keep the blood sugar levels within limits and keep the hunger pangs away. An economical option, the beans can be easily cooked and can be included in soups, salads and our curries.
Research indicates that diets rich in whole grains and fibers reduce the risk of diabetes by up to 40%. Opt for oatmeal as your breakfast cereal. Eat it as upma, cookies and porridges throughout the day. Full of fiber, it is healthy for your heart. The fiber in it slows the absorption of glucose from the food that you consume. This results in balanced blood sugar levels. You can add toppings like walnuts, pecans and almonds to boost the protein level, which help in stabilizing the blood sugar levels.
Fish is a rich source of lean protein. You can opt for fresh fish like cod and tilapia. They are mild-flavored and can be prepared in a variety of healthy preparations like baking and steaming. Opt for high quality carbs like vegetables and beans to balance this meal. This will maintain the blood sugar levels. Wild Salmon is replete with omega 3 fatty acids. These reduce the risk of heart disease. Cardiovascular disease is a big risk with type 2 diabetes. Wild salmon has the unique combination of fat and protein .This slows the absorption of carbohydrates, which keeps the blood sugar levels in check.
4. Fat-free Yoghurt:
Yoghurt has the right mix of high-quality carbohydrates and proteins. It slows the rise of blood sugar levels in the body. Research indicates that a diet which is high in calcium rich foods leads to a reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes. Opt for low fat or fat-free yoghurt to avoid the extra artery clogging fats and calories. Also full of protein, yoghurt can provide you with ample amount of RDA.
Nuts, such as unsalted almonds, pecan and walnuts are brimming with a low carbohydrate mixture of monounsaturated fats and magnesium. This is responsible for carbohydrate metabolism. Studies indicate that a diet rich in magnesium rich foods reduces the risk of contracting diabetes. Introduce more foods rich in magnesium, such as almonds, spinach and pumpkin seeds.
6. Zero Starch Vegetables:
Zero starch vegetable like broccoli, spinach and mushrooms are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These provide high-quality carbohydrates. Non starch vegetables are low in calories and full of nutrients. They don’t impact the blood sugar levels in the body. These vegetables can be included in your daily diet and will also help you in losing weight.
7. Egg Whites:
Egg whites are teeming with protein and are low in carbohydrates. They are a healthy choice for managing and preventing type 2 diabetes. They include 16 calories and 4 grams of protein per egg white. They are filling and balance the blood sugar levels. Include egg whites in your diet for weight management.
Avacados are rich in monounsaturated fats. These fats are the healthy fats that are essential for good health. Studies indicate that a diet rich in these fats in combination with low quality carbohydrates can improve insulin sensitivity. These fats also improve the health of your heart. Use avocados in smoothies, salads, and dips.
9. Chia Seeds:
Chia seeds are high in protein and are teeming with fiber .They are also full of omega-3 fatty acids. You can add chia flour to your diet. They lower the blood sugar level. These seeds also lessen belly fat.
Add cinnamon to your diet to reduce the blood glucose levels. It improves insulin sensitivity. Add cinnamon to your baked goods and spice mix. You can also add it to your coffee and even sprinkle it on oatmeal. Apple and cinnamon water is an amazing way of including cinnamon in your daily regimen.
All these foods help in managing your diabetes levels. Diet management is only one aspect of managing your diabetes. A fitness regime is a must. Try and include at least 30 minutes of exercise in your daily routine.
“My diabetes is such a central part of my life… it did teach me discipline… it also taught me about moderation… I’ve trained myself to be super-vigilant… because I feel better when I am in control.”-Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Let’s take a leaf out of the American lawmaker and embrace life even with its deficiencies. This disease can be managed with self control. Stay healthy and stay happy.
Do you or someone you know have diabetes? How do you manage it? Do share your tips with us in the comments section.