14th November has been recognised as the ‘World Diabetes Day’. The incidence of diabetes is increasing with the rise of sedentary lifestyle. Dietary modifications play an important role in the management of diabetes. Here are some tips for you-
1. Consume whole grains-whole grains are the ones which have all the 3 components namely germ, endosperm and bran intact. The germ contains starch, endosperm contains vitamins and other essential nutrients and the bran is rich in fiber. Hence, it is more nutritious than refined grains which do not contain bran. Examples of whole grains are whole wheat, brown rice, jowar, bajra etc.
2. Include more fiber in the diet-in addition to whole grains, fiber rich foods include fruits and vegetables. Diabetes friendly fruits include oranges, sweet lime, papaya, pineapple, apple, pear, jamun etc. Vegetables like green leafy vegetables, gourds, beans, etc. have good fiber content.
3. Include healthy fats in the right quantity-studies have shown that restricting the intake of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol is highly beneficial for people with diabetes. Vegetable oils like sunflower, rice bran, groundnut, safflower are better for diabetics with hyperlipidemia. Of course, the daily intake of total fat should not be more than 3-4 tsp/day. It is advisable to keep changing the type of oil every 3-4 months for maximum benefits.
4. Understand terms like glycemic index, carbohydrates etc.-as a diabetic, it is important to understand terms like glycemic index, glycemic load, carbohydrates, carb counting etc., so that it is easier to follow and maintain the diet prescribed by your dietitian.
5. Avoid sweet in any form-sugar, jaggery, honey provide the same number of calories to the body, that is-4 kcal/gm. Hence, thinking that only refined sugar should be avoided, but jaggery, brown sugar and honey can be consumed by diabetics is not right. All these sweeteners need to be avoided for optimal glucose control.
6. Avoid processed foods-processed food contain a lot of preservatives, including sodium, which can put unnecessary pressure on the kidneys. Fluctuating sugar levels also affect the kidneys, hence it is best to avoid any kind of processed food, including processed meat and meat products.
7. Include functional foods-foods like flax seeds, garlic, jamun, methi seeds, bitter gourd, isabgol etc. are functional foods, since they provide various health benefits like regularising blood sugar levels, preventing or treating hyperlipidemia, cardiac protection, to name a few.
8. Engage in regular physical activity-regular physical activity is essential for the management of blood sugars and also overall health of people with diabetes. Aerobic, strength training, flexibility and balance exercises are beneficial. The type and duration of exercise varies depending on various factors such as weight, age, health conditions, etc.
9. Regularise your meal time-it is important to have meals at regular time and intervals. This ensures optimal blood sugar levels, helps in weight loss and improves the overall health.
10. Limit alcohol intake-while occasional alcohol consumption may not affect the blood sugar levels, regular consumption is known to hamper blood sugar control and also contributes to the development of neuropathy and retinopathy in diabetics. Hence it is best to avoid alcohol for optimal glucose control.
Apart from this, it is extremely important to check your blood sugars, lipid profile and other relevant blood parameters routinely. This can help your dietitian and doctor to make the necessary modifications in your diet and medications.
Nutriworks is your go-to place for diabetic diet consultation in Pune. Our founder-
Siddhi Takalkar Deshpande is a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Diabetes
Educator and has been working as a diabetic diet consultant in Pune.