Diabetes mellitus (DM) commonly referred to as Diabetes, is a chronic disorder. It occurs when the pancreas does not secrete enough insulin or when the cells of the body become resistant to insulin. In either case, the blood sugar cannot get into the cells for storage, which then leads to serious complications.
Diabetes, perhaps more than any other disease, is strongly associated with the western diet, as it was uncommon in cultures consuming a 'primitive diet'. However as cultures switch from their native diets, to the foods of commerce; their rate of diabetes increases eventually reaching the proportions seen in the western societies. However, what's alarming is the fact that India Is home to 62 million diabetics and the number is estimated to be 100 million by 2030.
Obesity is seen as one of the major contributing factors to the development of insulin resistance in approximately 90% of the individuals with type-2 diabetes. In most cases, achieving ideal body weight is associated with the restoration of normal blood sugar levels. Hence dietary modifications and treatment are fundamental to the successful treatment of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
There are some specific foods that have been shown to produce positive effects on blood sugar control. These foods have a low glycemic index and glycemic load and are high in fiber.
When it comes to diabetics eating fruits, there is a lot of confusion and information is very misleading. Just remember that moderation is the key here.
TIPS TO ENJOY FRUITS IF YOU ARE DIABETIC:
- Always eat fruits that are fresh, local and in season.
- Eat fruits that have a low glycemic index.
- Fruits should not be eaten with your main meals, its best to have fruits in between meals and as a snack.
- Fruits with high glycemic index should be eaten only in moderation.
- Eat fruits with some nuts and olives to balance the glycemic load.
- Sprinkle fruits with cinnamon which is very helpful in balancing blood sugar levels.
- Grind whole flaxseeds in a coffee grinder and sprinkle over fresh fruit to balance sugar levels.
- Never consume fruit juice as it's robbed of all the fiber and would spike blood sugar levels.
- Diabetics should not eat cooked fruits always eat raw fruits to reap the benefits.
BEST FRUITS FOR DIABETICS:
Pomegranates: Pomegranates contain the richest combinations of antioxidants of all fruits and can protect you from free-radicals and chronic diseases. So feel free to enjoy these red pearls with such powerful phytochemical compounds.
Grapes: Resveratrol, a phytochemical found in grapes, modulates the blood glucose response by effecting how the body secretes and uses insulin. Hence grapes are a good choice keeping its nutritional profile in mind.
Apples: Diabetics should feel free to eat apples. In fact, apples along with blueberries and grapes are especially beneficial for reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes according to the American journal of clinical nutrition.
Blueberries: Blueberries get their deep pigment from anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid, known particularly to lower the risk of diabetes.
Strawberries: Strawberries have low- glycemic index hence it's slowly released in the blood stream as glucose. It can also improve immunity, has cancer fighting ability and increases metabolism, which in turn helps you lose weight.
Guava: It's a great snack for diabetics with a low glycemic index. Guava is very rich in dietary fiber that helps ease constipation (a common diabetic complaint) and can lower the chance of developing type-2 diabetes.
Watermelon: The high potassium content makes watermelon one of best fruits for proper kidney functioning which in turn keep your blood uric acid levels on the lower side. This prevents kidney damage especially if you are diabetic. Also, diabetes can cause nerve damage but lycopene found in watermelon really helps reduce the effect.
Cherries:Cherries like blueberries contain anthocyanins that pump the cells insulin production by 50%. The day is not far when anthocyanins might be the building blocks for new diabetes treatments. So include cherries as a part of your healthy diet.
Papaya: Natural antioxidants within the fruit make papaya a great choice for diabetics. Diabetics are prone to many ailments, including heart or nerve damage caused by irregular blood sugar levels. A diet incorporating papaya can obstruct future cell damage for a better and longer life span.
Oranges:The flavonols, flavanones and phenolic acid found in oranges, have shown tremendous protective abilities, especially in diabetics. When it comes to glucose metabolism, citrus fruits not only slow glucose update, but also inhibit the movement or transport of glucose through the intestines and liver.
Being a diabetic should never stop you from eating fruits. The key is to eat a wide variety to keep your body toxin-free benefiting from their important role in detoxification. There is no need for exotic fruits, eating fruits that are fresh, local and in season are best suited for you.
About the Author: Shilpa Arora ND is a renowned Health Practitioner, Nutritionist and certified Macrobiotic Health Coach. She has to her credit Doctorate in Natural Medicine. She is currently based in Delhi NCR region, successfully running her Nutrition Studio with individual consultations, offering life style programs supported by the most up-to-date clinical research.
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