Diabetes is a chronic disease where your diet plays an important role. In fact, regulating and controlling your diet can improve your body's repose to insulin and help in managing the ailment in the long run. The good thing is that the best foods for diabetes are simple every day staples and not some exotic ingredients. A healthy meal plan for a diabetic should include the following: high fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, lean protein and fresh fruits and veggies.
We asked Dr. Sanjay Kalra, Consultant Endocrinologist at Bharti Hospital Karnal, to help us out here. “A diet that is low in carbohydrates and calories and naturally rich in nutrients with healthy fats in moderation is ideal for a person with diabetes,” he says. However, keeping a tab on your eating habits does not necessarily mean that you should live a life of deprivation. Managing diabetes is all about making some adjustments in terms of what you eat, how much you eat and when you eat. Here are some superfoods that can help you fight diabetes effectively.
Beetroots are not only delicious and satisfying but also low on the carbohydrate content. They are also a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients – all of which help in managing diabetes. When consumed the natural sugars in beetroot don't get converted into glucose in the body too quickly which makes them good for diabetics. Beetroots are also high in a type of antioxidant called lipoic acid which protects your cells from the damage caused by aging.
Rich in lycopene, tomatoes are great for your heart. They also reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart complications associated with diabetes. Tomatoes are packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin A and potassium. They are low-carb and also low in calories which make them a superfood for diabetics.
(Also read: Why Are Diabetics More Prone to Heart Disease?)
3. Pumpkin Seeds
Keep a handful of pumpkin seeds with you to fight cravings for fatty and sugary foods. They are rich in iron and unsaturated fats and help in suppressing your appetite. When it comes to snacking, always remember that the key is portion control.
Flaxseed contains large amounts of an insoluble fibre called lignan. Flaxseeds help in reducing the chances of heart complications and also the risk of strokes linked with diabetes. It regulates blood sugar levels in the body and improves gut health and insulin sensitivity.
(Also read: How to Eat Flaxseeds)
5. Mixed nuts
Nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and have low glycemic index scores. The essential oils and overall nutrient content of nuts helps in reducing diabetic inflammation, blood sugar, and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. A handful of nuts or roughly 30 grams consumed daily is good for your overall health. Nuts can be a good substitute for carbs.
6. Whole grains
Whole grains like barley and oats are full of fibre which digests slowly to keep you blood sugar from spiking suddenly. Consuming whole grains regularly helps in preventing weight gain which is a big risk factor for diabetes. They are excellent sources of vitamin B, iron, and minerals. They also help in keeping the digestive system healthy, reducing LDL cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
7. Bitter gourd
Bitter gourd contains active substances that lend anti-diabetic properties like charantin which is known for its blood glucose-lowering effect and an insulin-like compound known as polypeptide-p. The best way to consume it is to have fresh bitter gourd juice early morning on an empty stomach. You can add a piece of amla or Indian gooseberry to get you dose of Vitamin C for stronger immunity.
Jamun is one of the best super fruits for diabetics. Consumption of jamun is known to improve insulin activity and sensitivity. In Ayurveda, jamun is used for treating digestive disorders and jamun seed powder is touted as a great home remedy for controlling high blood sugar levels. Jamun has a low glycemic indexand helps to convert starch into energy keeping your blood sugar levels in check.
Methi seeds and methi leaves are both superfoods for diabetes. They contain fiber and help in slowing the digestion process and thus regulate the absorption of carbohydrates and sugars in the body. They improve glucose tolerance and also lower bad cholesterol levels. Methi seeds can be soaked overnight can the 'methi ka paani' should be consumed early morning on an empty stomach for good health.
Guava has a low glycemic index score and is very rich in dietary fiber that helping in treating constipation which is a common complaint people with diabetes have. Some studies indicate that guava may help slow down sugar absorption in your body. It serves as a great mid-meal snack.
Turmeric is considered to be a great Ayurvedic superfood for diabetes. It can be an effective herbal way to control blood sugar. It regulates the functions of the pancreas and balances the insulin levels in the body.
In his book, 'Ayurvedic Home Remedies', Dr. Vasant Lad suggests that diabetics should follow the kapha-pacifying diet and especially avoid excess intake of sugar, carbohydrates and dairy products. Instead, they should take more fresh vegetables and bitter herbs.
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