If you are newly diagnosed with diabetes or you have been suffering from this medical condition for quite some time, then this article is going to help you out in many ways. Diabetes is a complex disease and its relationship with nutrition is not so easy, however with some guidance this journey to reverse it can become remarkable and easygoing.
It might be overwhelming to count calories and consider what macronutrients you shall intake after living your life without giving any or little thought to your eating habits. Shikha says, “Everything can be conquered with the right education if one is willing!” Nutrition can be a key part of managing diabetes successfully as it will train the body to use carbohydrates, protein, and fat as a source of energy.
A diabetic patient should adopt a diet where they are sticking to regular mealtimes, and eating the healthiest of food in moderate amounts. “The diet has to be planned in a way that it remains low in fat and rich in nutrients”, says Shikha.
Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes is caused in the body for different reasons. The former is mostly caused by genes, viruses and the external environment affecting the immune system and destroying the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. On the other hand, the latter is caused by several lifestyle factors (obesity, overweight, physical activity), IR (insulin resistance) as well as genes.
The following tips can get you started with making a positive impact on your health.
Control your calorie intake. Make sure that you have a negative calorie balance at the end of the day to induce the process of weight loss. For a sedentary woman, the normal calorie intake remains between 1200 to 1500, therefore if you take 1000 calories, you will be in a sustained calorie deficit and the same process for men (1500 – 1800).
There are certain “Super-foods” that will provide health benefits and help in curing diabetes among its patients. Beans (Kidney, pinto, navy or black) have magnesium and potassium, they are also high in fibre and contain carbs and protein too thus it’s the perfect food. Dark leafy green vegetables (spinach, collards, kale, drumsticks) are packed with vitamins like A, C, E and K as well minerals like iron, potassium and calcium. Citrus fruits (grapes, oranges, lemons and limes) are great to take a daily dose of fibre, vitamin C, folate and potassium. Nuts and seeds (Flaxseeds/linseeds, almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, methi seeds, pistachios, fennel seeds, chia seeds) are also helpful to reduce insulin in the diabetic patient’s body. Berries are of any kind and are rich in antioxidants, fibre and vitamins. They can play a good role in satisfying any sweet cravings with the added benefit of vitamins C, K, and minerals like manganese, potassium and fibre. Fatty fish (herring, sardines, mackerel, and trout and albacore tuna) and nuts (flax, chia, walnut) are heavy in omega 3 acid which is beneficial to reducing any cardiovascular diseases and inflammation.
Stay Consistent and try to avoid convenience. Diabetic patients cannot afford to skip meals and they should create a structured plan for their breakfast, lunch and dinner. Shikha Agarwal advises keeping a 3 to 5 hours gap in between meals. It is also common for people to feel tempted by fast food due to their busy lifestyle. Diabetic patients have a high risk of getting heart disease thus they shall avoid fast food and consume foods that are low in saturated fats and sodium.
Exercise, exercise, exercise! You must insert some physical activity into your daily routine. It will not only provide you with numerous health benefits but it will ensure that it fuels the dietary intervention you undertake and increase its impact two-fold.
Shikha Agarwal is a Nutritionist and Health & Wellness enthusiast hailing from the city of Kolkata!