The number of diabetics is continuously on the rise. More and more members of the younger generations are getting affected. It is important to know that though Diabetes does not have a cure it can be well managed.
One major change diabetics got to make in their diet is to consume more of low index glycemic foods in their daily diet.
What is Glycemic Index?
Glycemic Index (GI) refers to a scale of 1-100 that measures how fast and how much a food item raises blood glucose levels. Carbohydrate-containing foods are compared with glucose or white bread as a reference food, which is given a GI score of 100. As these foods control your blood sugar levels, they regulate your hunger pangs and eating habits.
The GI rating of various carbohydrates include:
- low GI (less than 55) – foods that induce a relatively gradual rise in blood sugar
- medium GI (55 to 70) – the foods that lead to an average rise in blood sugar
- high GI (greater than 70) – foods that cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels
Low GI foods, because of their slow digestion and absorption properties, cause only a gradual rise in blood sugar and insulin levels.
- Chickpeas – help prevent elevated blood sugar levels, making it a good choice for diabetics. You can toss them in your green salads, make a tasty curry for chapati or prepare hummus to eat along with pita bread.
- Beans (kidney beans, black beans, white beans) – if you are looking for a food item that has high-quality carbohydrates, lean protein, and soluble fiber your search ends with beans. Include them in your meal plans at least thrice a week as it helps stabilize your body’s blood-sugar levels.
- Barley – Having a meal with barley instead of white rice has shown to reduce the rise in blood sugar by almost 70%. The added advantage is that it keeps the blood sugar lower as well as steadier for hours.
- Broccoli – is rightly termed as ‘antidiabetes super hero’. This veggie being high in fibers and low in carbohydrates is the most ideal pick for diabetics. Other veggies like spinach and green beans are also included in this category.
- Whole Grain Bread – When going to the market for buying bread read the ingredients label carefully and carry only that loaf that has ‘wholegrain’ mentioned in it. It was found that simply switching to whole grain from white bread improves sensitivity to insulin. More coarse the bread, better it is as it will slower digestion.
- Cranberries – owing to the presence of abundant phytonutrients like anthocyanins in them, cranberries are especially beneficial in a diabetic meal plan. You can eat half a bowl of fresh cranberries or have it as a juice. You could also consider adding them to you fruit salads or smoothies.
- Fish – Baked, broiled or steamed fish is a good meal for diabetics and it reduces the risk of developing heart problems linked to diabetes.
- Oatmeal – packed with with soluble fiber it slows the absorption of glucose from food in the stomach thus controlling the blood sugar levels. An oatmeal breakfast is a healthy way to start the day.
- Apples – if you have a sweet tooth and are tempted to munch on candies, you must instead bite into an apple. Filled with fiber this fruit along with others like pears, papaya and grapes are a healthier option for blood sugar control.
- Dalia/ Cracked Wheat – this wheat product is made from whole raw wheat kernels that are crushed into smaller pieces to get coarse grains. It is more nutritious than rice, because it contains more fiber, vitamins & minerals. It also has a better glycemic index than white rice or refined flour. It is the best food option for those who have problems of high blood pressure with high cholesterol and diabetes. You might want to try out those steaming dalia idlis also!
- Ragi or Nachni – the perfect health food for any age ragi contains higher amounts of dietary fibre. It helps maintain optimum sugar levels in blood. It also aids in digestion and prevents you from over-eating as it makes you feel full for a longer span of time.
- Raw Onions – this is considered as one of the best foods for diabetics. It has hypoglycemic effects that are beneficial in management of type 1 and type 2 diabetic patients. Onions contain an anti-diabetic compound and have the ability to reduce blood sugar levels.
- Bitter Gourd (karela) – contains at least three active substances with anti-diabetic properties and can help manage diabetes better. A compound called charantin in karela keeps the glucose low and controls sugar levels.
- Fenugreek (methi) seeds – these seeds are helpful to diabetics as they contain fiber and other chemicals which slow digestion and the body’s absorption of carbohydrates and sugar. Soak about one teaspoon of methi seeds overnight & drink this water on an empty stomach in the morning. It will help in many ways to cope with the complications of Diabetes.
- Drumsticks – Drumsticks can keep the glucose levels in the blood in check. Use them in your sambars or dal. Owing to its anti diabetic property, eating this vegetable regularly, you can manage diabetes better. Take a few drumstick leaves, wash and crush them to extract their juice. Drink one cup of this juice every morning before you eat anything else.
A small tip – Keep a food diary to note down your food and activity level. This should give you a clue of what suits you the best. Your daily diet should have the ratio of 60:20:20 for carbs, fats and proteins.
Living with diabetes doesn’t mean living in deprivation, it simply means living with caution.