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Indian Dietary Ways to prevent and control Diabetes

In India the number cases of diabetes is on the rise and is growing every year. As per the World Health Organisation, the number of people suffering from diabetes rose 300 percent from 1980 to 2014. Elate Wellbeing offers diet plans and consultation to manage high sugar levels and diabetes management.

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. This occurs when the pancreases in the intestine are unable to produce enough insulin or the bodily functions become ineffective in response to insulin. When the insulin is not able to process glucose, it gets stored in the bloodstream, leading to rise in blood sugar level. Although, diabetes is considered a chronic disease, it is possible to regulate it and curb down its risk and symptoms.

People with type 1 diabetes don't produce insulin. Its like not having a key. People with type 2 diabetes don't respond to insulin as well as they should, and sometime later in the disease often don't make enough insulin. Its like having a broken key.

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes occurs when your immune system, the body's system for fighting infection, attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. Scientists think type 1 diabetes is caused by genes and environmental factors, such as viruses, that might trigger the disease.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

A chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose). With type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn't produce enough insulin, or it resists insulin. Symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, fatigue and blurred vision. In some cases, there may be no symptoms. Treatments include diet, exercise, medication and insulin therapy.

People suffering from diabetes have double the risk of getting a heart attack and developing mental health issues. But the good news is, most cases of type 2 diabetes can be reversed. Taking steps to control your diabetes does not mean to live in deprivation, it rather means eating in moderation and maintaining the right balance. Here we bring to you some diet tips which will not leave you hungry or deprived.

For every person, whether diabetic or not, the nutritional requirements of the body is same.. So, you don’t need to consume anything special, though you need to take care of the certain thighs and especially the number of calories you intake. The choice of food and most importantly the carbohydrates is very important .

The more you take care of your lifestyle the more control you will have on your health. By eating healthy, doing some physical activity and losing weight you can control your diabetes and even reverse it in some cases. By losing just 5 to 10 per cent of your weight, you can lower your blood sugar level, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Also, losing weight and eating healthy will have a tremendous effect on your energy, mood and sense of well-being.

The per day calorie intake should be between 1500 to 1800 calories. A diabetic diet should have at least three vegetables and two fruits each day. Although dryfruits is a a healthy snacking option but for diabetic people it’s not really the case. The fructose in dry fruits may spike your sugar level. So, try having fresh fruits instead of dry fruits.

Some Indian home remedies to control diabetes

Drumstick leaves: The fibre content in these leaves increases satiety and slows down the breakdown of food.

Almonds: Eating soaked almonds every day in the morning also keeps diabetes in check.

Methi: Overnight soaked methi seeds are also considered an effective remedy.

Tomato juice: Tomato juice with salt and pepper on an empty stomach every morning also helps in controlling diabetes.

Whole grains: We all know that whole grains are better than refined grains. If you want to have something like noodles or pasta it should be accompanied with lots of vegetables.

High fibre vegetables: Vegetables such as broccoli, beans, spinach, peas and leafy vegetables should definitely be included in one’s daily diet. Fibre can help you feel full and satisfied, and may help regulate the blood sugar levels. And since people with diabetes are at double the risk for cardiovascular complications, fibre’s ability to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels is a great way to improve heart health.

Pulses: Pulses should be considered as an important part of the daily diet in diabetic people. The carbs in pulses do not affect the blood like other carbs sources. Pulses are also a very rich source of protein.

Fruits: Many people believe that diabetic people should not consume fruits as they are sweet in nature. Though that is true but not for all fruits. Some fruits like mangoes, grapes and banana contain high sugar and should not be consumed. But fruits like papaya, pear, apple, guava and orange are high in fibre and can be consumed.

Cinnamon water: Cinnamon is an effective way of treating diabetes at home. Drinking Cinnamon with warm water on an empty stomach helps increase metabolism.

Milk: This combination of carbohydrate and protein helps to keep the sugar level in control. Two cups of milk every day can be an ideal option.

Green tea: This tea is unfermented and hence has high polyphenol content, which has strong antioxidant and hypoglycaemic effects. The polyphenols help in controlled release of blood sugars.

Omega 3 fatty acid: Mono saturated fats are good for the body. Because saturated fat raises blood cholesterol level.

Soak one tablespoon of fenugreek seeds overnight in water and consume the water and seeds in the morning. Amla fruit/ juice is another natural remedy to help reduce insulin resistance. Similarly, kalonji (nigella), cinnamon, raw onions, turmeric and karela juice areDietary recommendations to prevent diabetes (and even reverse it)

Large meals spike the blood sugar level and therefore it is recommended to take small frequent meals. Small snacks that you can take in between can be dhokla, butter milk, home made yoghurt, poha, upma, fresh fruits, raw vegetable salad, sprouted seeds and lentils etc.

What are the broad food items to be avoided in Diabetes?

Food to be avoided are:

  • Sugared Beverages

  • Ready made processed fruits juices

  • Fruit-flavored yogurt

  • Sweetened breakfast cereals.

  • Honey, or any syrup based fruits like murrabba.

  • White bread, rice, and pasta.

  • Dried fruit.

  • Packed Snacks

  • Food containing trans fats

  • Alcoholic drinks

Can diabetic people consume non-veg?

If you are suffering from diabetes and love to eat non-veg, you should prefer seafood and chicken rather than red meat. Red meat has a higher amount of saturated fats which is not good for the body. People who have high cholesterol should avoid egg yolk. Red meat and processed red meat are both linked to type 2 diabetes. Processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, and deli meats are particularly bad because of their high levels of sodium and nitrites.

Although there's no cure for type 2 diabetes, studies show it's possible for some people to reverse it. Through diet changes and weight loss, you may be able to reach and hold normal blood sugar levels without medication. This doesn't mean you're completely cured. Type 2 diabetes is an ongoing disease.

Prevention is always better than cure. What we eat plays a big role in shaping our bodily health. Lifestyle-related diseases stem from unhealthy living, and making few changes and pivoting to a healthier lifestyle can make a world of difference in bringing about overall wellness. Diabetes too can be reversed and its risk can be reduced if you take care of your diet and live a physically active life.

Contact Elate Wellbeing dieticians and nutritionists who specialise in diabetes management and reversal.