If you’re reading this, then in all probability, you or your dear one has diabetes or prediabetes. You are also aware that in diabetes type 1 or type 2, eating the right foods with a planned and prescribed diabetes-friendly diet is as important as the medication.
Otherwise, your treatment will just not be as effective. Knowing what foods to eat and what to avoid, therefore, is of paramount importance in the management of diabetes.
Furthermore, the prescribed menu card does not put too many restrictions and you should have no problems adhering to it.
It is a healthy eating plan, which gives you the right amount of nutrients and stays low on fats and calories. It is a low-carb diet, which improves your blood sugar levels, helps in weight loss, and is also good for heart health.
Besides adhering to this diet plan, you could add some natural foods, which you can include for daily consumption. They form part of the natural remedies for diabetics.
One other thing to make your diet more beneficial is to have an adequate amount of physical activity in the form of exercise. The benefits of exercise in the management of diabetes are tremendous.
What is the diabetic diet plan and how it will help?
The diabetes eating plan outlines three broad elements, which you should follow:
- Eat about the same amount of food every day to avoid consuming more calories and putting on weight.
- An average structured adult should have about 1500 to 2000 calories per day through his diet.
- Balance your diet with appropriate amounts of carbohydrates, fats, fiber, and proteins for proper nutrition and diabetes care. This will vary from individual to individual and your dietician will help you on this one.
How it helps:
Your diabetic diet will help to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Secondly, it will keep your symptoms under control. Thirdly, studies have shown that the proper diet with exercise can well reverse diabetes type 2.
Foods for diabetes and their nutritional value
Your low-carb diet should consist of the following foods. They are foods, which we even otherwise eat and do not put much restrictions on your food intake.
a) Whole Grains
Eat whole-grain foods. Look for that “whole wheat” indicator on the packing. As for bread, again choose whole wheat bread (brown). Diabetics should prefer brown rice to the polished white rice.
Whole grains give you energy, vitamins, and fiber. Though whole grains and brown rice are rich in carbohydrates, they are essential. They give your body fuel.
Secondly, they contain complex carbohydrates, which are digested slowly and do not cause spikes in blood glucose levels as simple sugars do.
b) What vegetables to eat?
Vegetables along with fruits form an important part of the diabetic diet. Choose vegetables having high fiber content and always eat them fresh.
Such vegetables include leafy vegetables like cabbage, spinach, green beans, cucumber, onions, carrots, and tomatoes. Rotate the vegetables on a daily basis. Dried leaves like pinto beans and lentils are also good.
c) What fruits to eat for diabetes?
The American Diabetes Association regards fruits as an indispensable part of a diabetes diet. Fruits like apples, oranges, grapes, and mangoes contain glucose but are necessary because they regulate the vitamins and minerals in the body.
Have five portions of fruits per day. A portion is what fits in your handful. For example, one apple or one mango, or a handful of grapes will constitute one portion.
Fruits are a rich source of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and other important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
When eaten raw, they are low on calories. Fruits add energy content to the diet. Certain fruits do contain glucose sugar, but the fiber content slows down the rate of absorption of glucose. They also satisfy the craving for sugary foods.
c) Non-fat dairy products
Non-fat dairy products constitute skimmed milk, low-fat cheese, and low-fat yogurt.
Low-fat milk and yogurt give energy, proteins, calcium, vitamins, and minerals. They are low on carbohydrates and, therefore, good for the diabetics.
d) Fat Intake
Eat healthy fats and keep a watch on your calorie intake. Know the number of calories present in various fruits and vegetables and other foods.
Olive oils, olives, nuts contain low saturated fats and more of unsaturated fats and should be preferred. Choose more fish, nuts, peas, and beans. Eat fewer meats and poultry.
e) Drink enough water
Patients with diabetes face the risk of dehydration if they do not drink an adequate amount of water every day. This is because in diabetes the kidneys are forced to work more to absorb and filter the excess glucose in the blood. As the excess glucose is excreted into your urine, more fluid is also excreted, which can make you dehydrated.
Drinking water increases the blood volume and therefore lowers the concentration of glucose in the bloodstream. This lowers blood glucose levels. Regularly drinking adequate water helps lower your blood sugar levels and keep them within a more normal range.
If you have diabetes, you should regularly drink 8 to 10 glasses of water spaced out throughout the day.
What foods to avoid for diabetes?
Foods that diabetics should not eat are those that contain saturated fats, trans fats, and LDL cholesterol because, as a diabetic, you are at a high risk of developing heart diseases and high blood pressure.
- Trans fats containing foods: chips, fried junk foods, butter, cookies, cakes, stick margarine, fat ice cream, and such fatty foods.
- Saturated fats: Again, beef, hot dogs, sausage, and bacon are a strict NO.
- Cholesterol foods are high-fat dairy products and high-fat animal proteins, egg yolks, shellfish, liver, and other organ meats
- Sodium intake (eg salt) should be restricted.
- Sugar in small “table” quantities can be consumed only with the permission and advice of your attending physician.
From what is described above, make a diabetic diet sheet of all the foods on the menu. This chart will not only serve as an ideal for the diabetes people but for all the members of the family.