In general, eating healthy and eating right is considered essential for a long and healthy life. Nutritious daily meals that comprise of all the essential nutrients in the right portions are a way of ensuring that you stay on top of your health. But what do you do when you are hit by a life-altering metabolic disease like Diabetes? Are right foods still going to be of any help?
The answer is a strong Yes! The idea is to control portion sizes and composition, limit or avoid certain foods and provide your body with the nourishment it requires to fight against Diabetes and hopefully get your health right back on track. Here are some food tips that will help you prevent diabetes, reduce the risk of your getting diabetes and in case of those who are already living with it, fight diabetes.
#1 Opt for foods that are high in fibre
While carbohydrates are essential to fuel your body and give you the required energy, they have a much greater impact on your blood sugar levels than proteins and fats. Since carbs are unavoidable, the best way to tackle them is to be smart about your carb consumption. Avoid highly refined carbohydrate foods such as pasta, white rice, white bread, candy, snack items and sodas. Instead, opt for complex carbohydrates that are high in fibre. These carbs keep your blood sugar levels steady because they are digested slower, preventing excess insulin production. The list includes dried peas, lentils, legumes and whole-grains.
#2 Choose foods with low Glycemic Index (GI)
As previously mentioned, avoid or limit foods that have a high GI and are low in protein and fibre, such as potatoes, baked goods, white bread and rice, white pasta, sweets, processed foods and chips. Consume vegetables and fresh fruits, brown rice, whole-wheat bread and whole-wheat pasta.
#3 Consume non-starchy veggies
Apples, pear, berries, peaches, banana, papaya and mango are excellent alternatives for desserts, for those who really crave sweets. Incorporate legumes and beans and leafy vegetables into your diet.
#4 The lesser the processed, the better!
Consume whole grains and foods that are as least processed as possible – whole-wheat and whole grain bread, whole grain oats, brown rice, whole millet, whole barley, natural granola and muesli are excellent foods to control sugar levels in the blood.
#5 Opt for lean proteins
Fish or skinned chicken are excellent sources of light, lean protein. You can also opt for legumes and beans for vegetable protein. The goal is to cut down on red meats and heavier animal proteins. Soybeans are also a great source of vegetable protein.
#6 Be smart about your fat consumption
Of course, there are fats that are healthy and those that are unhealthy! Saturated fats and trans fats contain high density lipoproteins, that can have negative health implications. Saturated fats are primarily found in animal products such as red meat and whole milk dairy products. Trans fats are partially hydrogenated oils; it is best to altogether cut down these fats. Unsaturated fats contain low density lipoproteins that are good for you – they are derived from plant and fish sources. Olive oil, avocados, canola oil and nuts are good sources of unsaturated fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly healthy for heart health, and can be found in fatty fish such as tuna and salmon and in flaxseeds.
#7 Follow a systematic meal plan
A regular meal schedule aligns your body’s metabolism in a way that it is better able to regulate blood sugar levels and your body weight. Consume meals at regular intervals, following consistency in portion sizes. A healthy breakfast is a must as it supplies your body with the requisite energy and helps keep blood sugar levels steady. Consume smaller meals regularly, in the place of a fewer larger portions – this helps you cut down on your portion sizes, keeps you feeling full for longer and prevents you from binging. Regulate the amount of calories you consume daily – aim to consume roughly the same amount of calories every day so that your body is in a better shape to regulate blood sugar.
Diabetes can make you feel crippled and helpless – the idea is to take back control of your life and manage your blood sugar levels through consuming the right foods, exercising regularly and maintaining a well-balanced physical and mental state.