When you are first diagnosed with diabetes, the first thing that crosses your mind is what food you can eat to keep your blood sugar in check. Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, or even if you are showing symptoms of prediabetes, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or nutritionist on food to lower blood sugar levels.
After all, the maxim “you are what you eat” has never proven to be truer than for people with diabetes. Here are a few superfoods that you can make a part of your diet chart. These foods are high on protein, low on carbs, and have cholesterol within prescribed limits. All of them are a healthy source of essential vitamins and minerals that keep you on the go.
Okra is popularly known as ladyfingers and is cultivated in different parts of the world. The vegetable itself is consumable as a whole unit including the pods on the inside, which are smaller than peas but edible, nevertheless. Okra is a recent addition to the arsenal of sugar-regulating food. Studies have shown that you can count okra as diabetes food to lower blood sugar levels. Okra helps in regulating blood glucose levels by slowing down the rate of glucose absorption. This works well for people with diabetes who have a craving for food between meals.
Okra comes with many health benefits other than tackling high blood sugar levels. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, making it a healthy choice in meals. It can be cooked in oil, sauteed, or even boiled. Its insides come with a slimy consistency which needs to be taken into account if you are pairing it with other food or vegetables.
Is Pumpkin good for diabetes? Yes! It is highly nutritious and is loaded with vitamins and minerals. The antioxidants and fibre that make up the rest of it are valuable sources of development for the body and promote a healthy brain. This bright-coloured vegetable (technically, it is classified as a fruit), is superb for blood glucose regulation.
Pumpkin is high in polysaccharides, a form of carbohydrates, widely appreciated for regulating blood sugar. Up to 94 per cent of the weight of pumpkins is water. Pumpkin also has no cholesterol. For those diagnosed with diabetes, this is an added benefit. Pumpkin seeds are another potent source of healthy fats and proteins. Studies have revealed that a regular dietary intake of pumpkin seeds resulted in the lowering of blood sugar after meals by up to one-third of the value before the food was consumed.
Nuts and seeds are a great way to replenish your energy levels and address your craving for food if you are diagnosed with diabetes. The high fibre content of nuts helps make you feel fuller over time. Most of them have great antioxidants and are packed with fibre which helps in digestion, keeping your stomach happy. The good part about nuts is that they are easily portable. You can carry them anywhere without worrying about spillage. They double up as good snacking options keeping you at arm’s length from junk food or ready-to-eat alternatives that pack high calories and cholesterol. Many of these nuts, like almonds, are a wonderful source of protein and healthy fats. Flaxseeds and chia seeds help reduce weight and are good for the heart.
The dilemma for people with diabetes is whether to go for fruits or not. Fruits are rich in minerals and essential vitamins that keep a body healthy. But most of them are sweet and are, therefore, a potent source of glucose. This may result in increasing the blood glucose levels for people with diabetes. But worry not! Citrus fruits can, in fact, help lower blood sugar levels. Citrus fruits have been found to be low on the Glycemic Index, which means they do not lead to a spike in blood glucose compared to other forms of fruits.
Most citrus fruits like oranges safeguard people with prediabetes from developing diabetes. They are rich in fibre, which also makes them light on the stomach. What is even better is that there is no need to cook these fruits. You can have them whole or you can garnish your yoghurt or oatmeal with a generous dose of citrus fruits, and make your healthy meal even more delicious.
Eggs are a great source of nutrition for everybody. Even people with diabetes can include eggs in their regular diet. An egg is a powerhouse of protein and healthy fats. It has ample quantities of minerals and antioxidants alongside the essential vitamins. The caution to bear with the intake of eggs is that they are also high in cholesterol. This means you have to take cholesterol-rich food off the menu for the day. Alternatively, you can remove the yolk and consume just the egg whites which are full of protein. The American Diabetes Association, in fact, has included eggs in the diet for people with diabetes. You can have eggs any way you want. They are easy to cook. A boiled egg is even better. The best part is they’re not just gentle on your health but also your pocket.
Seafood is a great addition to the menu for people diagnosed with insulin resistance. Fish pack in natural Omega-3s that are known to help boost immunity, while helping stabilise blood glucose levels. Most over-the-counter prescriptions for Omega 3s are sourced from seafood. Seafood is low in carbohydrates and is a good source of protein. While carbs are easier to break down, the body takes time to break down protein into glucose, which augurs well for people with diabetes because it slows down the intake of sugar in the bloodstream. Studies show that you can safely have moderate amounts of seafood at least twice a week. Consult your doctor if you would like to have more or have an underlying condition that needs to be addressed before you can have seafood.
While diabetes restricts food intake, there is no shortage of good choices in food that are actually beneficial in regulating blood sugar. What is important is that you get a healthy diet plan that allows you to savour the best food that not only prevents diabetes but helps in tissue build-up and repairs and prepares the heart for a healthy run. The idea is to select wholesome foods that suppress your craving for intermittent snacking and help slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream, keeping you energetic for longer durations of time.