Controlling your blood sugar level is necessary for living a good life. Learn about these 5 types of food that you should incorporate in your daily diet to make sure you’re not at risk for diabetes.
We all know someone who is diabetic. It’s so widespread in India that we’re called the diabetes capital of the world! The World Health Organisation has even dedicated 2016 to halting the rise of diabetes. Those suffering from this lifestyle disease are supposed to take care, live healthier and exercise more to stave off exacerbation or complications. All of this, admittedly, is easier said than done. With our stress-filled, fast-paced lives, our health often comes down to a series of choices we make through the day, every day.
But what if you could make certain choices that are easier than others, every day? Like the choice to eat organic food, free of pesticides, chemicals and adulterants? Or the choice to eat certain organic superfoods that could help you control your blood sugar? We feel you nodding, so we’re going to get to it!
Should I go on a diet?
On the contrary. Most experts say that eating small frequent meals is the best way to maintain blood sugar levels and even lose weight – critical to controlling diabetes. We’ll go a step further and say that eating small, frequent and organic meals or snacks is the best way to maintain blood sugar levels.
So what’s my eating formula?
Get fresh. By that we mean eat as much or as many raw organic veggies and fruits as possible. Fresh produce is full of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, compounds, and flavonoids that naturally help balance sugar and insulin levels. They are easier absorbed into your body and help it fight better. Also, these unprocessed foods are free of unhealthy fats and chemicals, which means you can eat them every day. Of course, when you’re eating raw, going organic is that much more important as you can also consume the skin, which is full of nutrients.
So what are these organic superfoods?
To help you remember them better, we’ve divided them into simple categories, with superstar foods in each category. Use them as meal plans or snacks – but just remember to get some organic goodness every day.
Fruits like organic apples
Organic fruits are super good for you anyway, with natural fibre and vitamins. But fruits like apples, which are high in the flavonoid quercetin, are especially good for diabetics. Research has indicated that quercetin might help people with diabetes because of its ability to bring down levels of sorbitol, a sugar that accumulates in kidney, eye and nerve cells of people with Type 2 diabetes.
Also eat: organic berries like blueberries, cranberries, lingonberries, as well as plums.
Fibre-rich organic foods
Isn’t this the same as fruits, you ask? No, definitely not. Fibre is found in almost all foods to some degree. The trick is to pick high fibre, unprocessed options as much as possible. Because fibre fills you up, it delays the emptying of the stomach and thus lessens any post-prandial rise in glucose levels. In fact, a study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that people who increased their fibre intake from 24 to 50 g daily had dramatic improvements in blood sugar levels.
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Also eat: obviously vegetables, but also whole grains like wheat and rice, cereals, beans, and even leafy greens.
Protein like organic dals
Protein is pretty much the building block of our cells. It’s used to make organs, muscles, tendons and skin, create energy and fill stomachs. For diabetics, it slows the release of blood sugar in your system, thus maintaining sugar levels and insulin release. As part of an organic, cruelty-free diet, protein is mostly derived from legumes or lentils and beans. Low in fat and calories, they are great as snacks when roasted and add bulk to meals. The average man needs 56 grams per day and the average woman, 46 grams. To give you a rough idea of how much to eat, one cup of cooked lentils is about 18 grams of protein. And a cup of almonds offers 20 grams.
Also eat: chickpeas, dals of all kinds, cannelloni beans, kidney beans, lentils. Incorporate spreads like hummus into your daily breakfasts for a protein kickstart to your day.
Seeds like organic chia
When it’s snack time, what do you reach for? As a diabetic, you should be reaching for seeds like chia. Apart from vitamins, essential minerals (like magnesium), protein and iron, seeds are also rich in fibre. Sprinkled on top of meals or eaten roasted for a snack, they balance sugar and insulin levels.
Also eat: flax, sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, and sesame seeds
Cinnamon stands alone in its ability to help regulate blood sugar. Just a half teaspoon a day can make cells more sensitive to insulin, and thus better at converting sugar to energy. A 2003 study in the journal Diabetes Care indicated that cinnamon may cause muscle and liver cells to respond more readily to insulin, thereby also improving weight loss.
Eat: Ceylon Cinnamon, rather than cassia.