If you are suffering from diabetes then your food choices matter a lot. Your body cells need glucose for energy, and glucose comes from the food you eat. People suffering from diabetes have to depend on medicines to regulate their blood sugar levels. When it comes to glucose levels, anything from sugary to spicy can spike your blood glucose level. For diabetes, it is necessary to include the right food groups in your diet to balance your blood sugar level. There are many pieces of evidence that suggest including certain food groups in your diet balances blood sugar levels in the body, curbs sugar spikes, and reduces insulin resistance in the body.
This article shows the best foods for diabetes patients:
1. Leafy green vegetables
Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli, and bok choy are loaded with essential nutrients and are low in calories. They also have minimal impact on the blood glucose level of the body. Apart from that, they are loaded with dietary fiber, vitamins, phytochemicals, and essential minerals such as calcium and potassium. Consumption of green leafy vegetables is beneficial for people suffering from Type 2 diabetes as they are high in anti-oxidants and starch digesting enzymes. One can easily make a traditional sabzi out of them and also include them in soups and salads.
Nuts are highly beneficial for people with diabetes. These are delicious and full of nutrition. Most of them are rich in soluble fibers and low in carbs. Nuts such as pistachios contain glucagon hormone–peptide 1 that lowers blood glucose levels, hence reducing the risk of diabetes. Apart from that, almonds and walnuts are known to manage blood glucose levels and prevent the complications of diabetes. Consuming nuts along with a controlled diet further improves blood glucose levels in diabetes patients. One can easily eat a handful of them as a snack or use them as toppings on the oatmeal bowl to have a nice diabetic diet breakfast bowl.
Even a tiny clove of garlic can be incredibly nutritious for people with diabetes. It contains vitamin C and vitamin B6, along with selenium and manganese. Vitamin C regulates the blood sugar level in the body, and Vitamin B6 regulates the metabolization of carbohydrates in the body.
These minerals and vitamins work together to improve the glycemic index and glucose levels during fasting and after meals. Apart from that, it also reduces bad cholesterol levels, inflammation, and blood pressure in people dealing with diabetes. One can eat it raw or consume it as a supplement.
Strawberries are great options for fruits for diabetic patients as they are loaded with anthocyanin- an antioxidant that gives them their prominent red colour. These antioxidants are known for their ability to reduce cholesterol and insulin levels right after meals. Besides that, they also reduce the risk of heart disease and increased blood sugar levels, specifically in patients with Type 2 diabetes. It also contains polyphenols, which also have antioxidative properties. As per a study, regular consumption of polyphenols from strawberries and cranberries shows an improvement in insulin sensitivity in adults (study 1 ).
5. Greek Yogurt
It is the best dairy option for people suffering from diabetes, due to its ability to control blood sugar levels. It also lowers the risk of any coronary disease. Greek yogurt is a great source of probiotics, which are great for your digestion. It is high in protein, which keeps you full for a longer duration, hence promoting weight loss as it reduces unnecessary binging. This is delicious as a breakfast bowl topped with fruit, or as a side dish with lunch.
Seeds are also great for people with diabetes. Chia seeds are a type of seed that is low in digestible carbs and high in insoluble fibre. The viscous fiber present in chia seeds slows down the rate of movement of food in the gut and helps in its absorption of it. Also, it keeps you satiated for long period.
Flaxseeds, which are also known as Alsi in India, are rich in insoluble fiber made of lignans. It has been known to improve blood glucose levels and lower the risk of heart disease. So one can definitely use these as a snack for diabetic patients or you can top them with your cereal bowl.
7. Whole grains
Whole grains are full of fibers and nutrients in comparison to refined flour, which makes it a great substitute for diabetic patients. These have a low glycemic index and aid in slowing digestion in the gut, allowing our bodies to absorb all nutrients from food at a slower rate and preventing blood glucose spikes.
Whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat, buckwheat, quinoa, and barley are great for people with diabetes. Foods such as oats and barley contain beta-glucans which prevent the increase in blood glucose levels after meals.
Another super affordable, nutritious, and healthy food option for diabetic patients is beans. Beans or lentils, when combined with a low glycemic diet, help in lowering the blood sugar level in patients with diabetes. It also reduces any risk of cardiovascular ailments. These are complex carbohydrates, so the body takes longer to digest them, which keeps you full for a longer duration. Beans are rich in vitamin B, fiber, protein, and essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Beans such as soybeans and chickpeas have a lower glycemic index (chickpeas – 33 and soybeans – 15).
You may have enjoyed it in your dessert, but you will be surprised to learn that cinnamon is extremely beneficial to diabetic patients. It is rich in antioxidants and is known for its ability to manage diabetes and other complications related to it. It increases the secretion of insulin in the body and the sensitivity of insulin receptors in the body, which means better management of diabetes. Besides that, it also lowers the bad cholesterol level in the body, which prevents the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Although not more than a teaspoon should be consumed per day. You can always use it in your tea or some desserts.
10. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is made up of apple juice after fermentation. It is abundant in acetic acid, vitamin C, and B vitamins. ACV is highly effective in lowering blood glucose levels in the body by improving insulin sensitivity in the body. It is effective in lowering fasting blood sugar levels in the body, which makes it highly beneficial for people suffering from diabetes mellitus.
Food to avoid with diabetes
- Sugar food and beverages such as cake, candy, bakery products, soft drinks, canned juice, and soda.
- Food products are made with refined flour, such as white pasta, white bread, tortillas, etc.
- Vegetables that are abundant in starch, such as potatoes, corn, and peas.
- Packaged food products such as wafers and junk foods are high in sodium and provide zero nutrition.
These are the list of foods for diabetic patients that you should definitely include in your diet to keep your blood sugar level in check. Apart from that, one should lead a healthy, active lifestyle. There is a proverb that prevention is better than cure. A healthy and low-carb diet for diabetes, along with lots of physical activity plays a pivotal role in minimizing all the risks and complications associated with diabetes