Patients who have high blood glucose levels are referred to as sugar patients since their level of blood sugar in the body is higher than normal, this condition is called diabetes. Sugar patients, also known as diabetics, have to be very careful about what they eat because the body absorbs sugar from the food consumed which is then transferred to the cells to produce insulin – a hormone that provides energy to the cells. When this normal process of absorption and conversion of sugar from food into insulin is disturbed, the patient develops a condition called diabetes. Diabetes can be essentially of two types:
Type 1 Diabetes: When the body does not make enough insulin, causing blood sugar levels to rise.
Type 2 Diabetes: When the body does not make as well as does not appropriately use insulin, leading to a rise in blood sugar levels.
Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes that affects people. No matter the form, diabetes is a lifelong condition which can only be managed and not completely cured. If not managed properly, diabetes can cause an adverse impact on kidneys, eyes, joints, bones and nerves. Moreover, people with diabetes are also more prone to a heart attack and stroke. Also, diabetes is a progressive health problem, the impact of which intensifies with age; hence it is very important to keep the level of blood glucose in control. This is possible through medicines, as well as by eating a proper diet since the body takes sugar from the food consumed. Below are some foods that sugar patients can include in their diet and manage diabetes easily.
Green Leafy Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables are non-starchy, rich in fibre, low in carbs, easy to digest and also have very low calories. Vegetables such as kale, spinach, cabbage, bok, choy, mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, etc. are very helpful in maintaining a normal glucose level. These green leafy vegetables provide the body with essential nutrients and minerals, including Vitamin C that is known to reduce the inflammatory markers and fasting blood sugar levels. Also, these vegetables contain antioxidant properties which protect the body from the adverse impact of diabetes on the eyes.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon is more than just an essential kitchen spice, the medicinal properties of Cinnamon make it an ideal food for patients with high sugar levels. Cinnamon helps to maintain healthy blood glucose levels by imitating the impact of insulin and enhancing insulin sensitivity and also improving the efficiency of transferring of insulin into the cells. Moreover, Cinnamon slows down the emptying of the stomach post a meal and blocks digestive enzymes, helping maintain low blood glucose levels after meals.
Eggs: Apart from being a great source of protein, Eggs are also very efficient in lowering blood glucose levels. Eggs are rich in anti-inflammatory properties and improve insulin sensitivity, as well as improve the level of good cholesterol in the body while simultaneously reducing the bad cholesterol. Also, eggs are enriched with antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin that help protect the eyes from prolonged damaged caused by diabetes.
Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are very effective in controlling blood sugar levels of the body. Chia seeds contain viscous fibre that helps slow down the rate of movement of food through the gut, thereby enhancing the absorption of food. Also, Chia seeds are highly digestible carbs that make you feel fuller for longer duration, helping in maintaining a healthy weight. Chia seeds also function as anti-inflammatory markers, as well as help control blood pressure levels.
Turmeric: Turmeric contains an active ingredient called curcumin that helps to lower blood glucose level and reduce inflammation in the body. It is very beneficial for people with diabetes and also helps to reduce the risk of heart and kidney problems. Increasing the intake of turmeric in food is very helpful for sugar patients.
Tomatoes: Heavily used in all kitchen recipes, tomatoes are also beneficial for people who have diabetes since they are enriched with lycopene that helps to reduce the level of blood glucose in the body, as well as reduces the inflammation and risk of heart problems. Tomatoes are also very effective in preventing the body from cancer.
Nuts: Consuming a recommended quantity of nuts – including almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia, etc. – has shown to be really helpful for people who have diabetes. These nuts reduce the glucose level, insulin and bad cholesterol levels. Also, nuts are highly digestible carbs that are a great substitute for food when hungry.
Also, people with sugar should include garlic strawberries, flaxseeds and Greek yoghurt in their diet to help control blood glucose levels. These foods also aid to reduce inflammation in the body caused due to diabetes. Apart from the recommended diet, a sugar patient also needs to make some lifestyle changes to help check blood sugar levels.
- Do not have long gaps between meals. Instead eat regular, small portions with healthy food.
- Do not eat only one type of food, instead make a healthy combination of nutrient-rich food in recommended quantity including fats, lean meats, proteins whole grains and low-fat dairy.
- Switch to fibre-rich food including fruits, green leafy vegetables and whole grains.
- Avoid sweetened drinks, carbonated beverages, tea, coffee or sweetened water. Take a natural sugar substitute, if needed.
- Keep all your meal portions in check and eat only the recommended quantity.
- Do not consume any junk or fast food.
- Consume food that is low in salt, spice and grease or if preferably cooked in olive oil.
- Indulge in 30 minutes of walk or any other non-strenuous physical activity each day.
Even though diabetes is a life-long issue which is not entirely curable; however, it can easily be managed, and its impact can be minimised by following a proper diet and making certain lifestyle and habitual modifications.