Unfortunately, diabetes is growing rapidly in India, with around 72 million cases recorded in 2017 itself.
Characterized by frequent urination, fatigue, and nausea, diabetes can lead to dreadful health issues like cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, skin conditions, and even depression.
However, with healthy diet changes, it can be dealt with.
Here are five food items (and some tips) to regulate your blood sugar levels.
Most processed breads should ideally be avoided by diabetics, because they are high in carbohydrates and thus may raise blood sugar levels.
However, whole wheat bread (and pumpernickel/rye bread) go through lesser processing, and thus have low GI (Glycemic Index) scores.
And due to less processing, the fiber content in them slows down digestion and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
Nuts are a rich source of dietary fiber, and have GI score of 55 or less.
They also contain high levels of plant protein, unsaturated fatty acids, antioxidant vitamins, flavonoids, and essential minerals like magnesium.
In fact, a 2014 systematic review proved that consuming nuts could help diabetics.
However, stick to plain nuts only, as coated or flavored variants come with higher GI scores.
Garlic is a popular medicinal ingredient.
The compounds present in garlic might help lower blood sugar levels by enhancing insulin sensitivity and secretion.
In a 2013 study, participants who took both metformin and garlic saw reduction in their post-meal blood sugar levels, as compared to those who only took the metformin.
You can add garlic to your salads or use it while cooking meals.
Most whole fruits (not juices) have low GI scores of 55 or less. This is so because their high water content and fiber balance out their natural sugars (fructose).
Studies suggest that people who regularly eat whole fruits are at a significantly lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
So, get some fruits into your system on a daily basis to stay safe.
Plain yogurt is a low-GI food (50 or less), thus it might help reduce risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
In fact, a 2014 analysis concluded that yogurt might be the only dairy product known to help control the condition.
However, stay away from sweetened or flavored yogurts, as their high sugar content can be dangerous for you.
Foods to avoid: What diabetics shouldn't be eating
The food items that can cause a spike in insulin and blood sugar levels should be avoided. These include excessively sugary drinks (sodas/juices/sports drinks), processed foods, honey/maple syrup, sweetened yogurt, sugary coffee, white bread, pasta, breakfast cereals (with added sugars), among others.
Essential diet tips for diabetics
Here are some handy diet tips that can help control diabetes:
1) Incorporate more of whole grains and fiber into your diet. Peas, beans, oats, and barley are all good options.
2) Foods with moderate amount of carbs should be preferred.
3) Break your daily diet into smaller portions. And never skip meals.
4) Cut down on saturated fats and high-fat dairy food items.