Diabetes, as we know, is a lifelong medical condition in which glucose (type of sugar) circulating in the blood is abnormally high. People say that diabetes is a life limiting disease but that is absolutely untrue because diabetics can also lead a fulfilling life, provided they adhere to certain dietary restrictions. What one eats during diabetes is very important as it influences blood sugar levels. No wonder, it is rightly said that sensible food choices can go a long way in keeping a fleet of health complications associated with diabetes, miles away.
What diabetics eat plays a significant role in controlling blood sugar. The right food choices will allow you to take charge of your health, in spite of suffering from chronic ailments like diabetes. When it comes to dietary changes for diabetics, one simply cannot forget to mention about fruits and vegetables for diabetes. Being a rich source of vitamins and minerals, they form an inseparable part of a diabetic diet. Foods high in carbohydrates are said to elevate blood sugar levels. Simple carbohydrates are the ones that can increase sugar in blood when eaten in excess amounts. Simple carbohydrates get easily converted into sugar in the body, which can lead to sudden rise in blood glucose levels. Therefore one should ensure that daily meals should comprise only a small percentage of simple carbohydrates. It is advised that every meal of diabetics should not contain more than 45-75 grams of carbohydrates.
A point to note that certain foodstuffs, despite containing complex carbohydrates cause drastic rise in blood sugar levels. Keeping this in mind, instead of looking for simple or complex carbohydrates, one should switch over to whole grain carbohydrates as they are never easy to digest, which prevent spike in blood sugar levels. The best sources of whole grain carbohydrates are brown rice, bran cereals and whole grain pasta.
Fruits for Diabetes
When it comes to fruits for diabetics, one should select those that are low in sugar. Whatever fruit you consume, make sure that it is low in simple carbohydrates. In any case, the fruit serving size should not have more than 15 grams of carbohydrates. Some of the fruits that can be added in diabetes diet are given below:
Citrus fruits such as oranges and limes
Although, strawberries are low in sugar, overeating has to be avoided. For instance, 1¼ cup (approximately 180 grams) strawberries has 15 gm of carbohydrates. Eating more than this specified amount can raise your sugar levels, which is not good for diabetic patients.
Vegetables for Diabetes
Recent studies showed that addition of green vegetables in the diet can reduce the chances of developing diabetes. This clearly suggests how beneficial can green leafy vegetables be in controlling diabetes. Onions and tomatoes being low in carbohydrates can also be included in the diet. Some of the green vegetables that can not only alleviate the risk of diabetes but also contribute in managing this medical condition successfully are given below:
Bitter gourd (bitter melon)
Mustard and turnip greens
Fruits and Vegetables to Avoid
There is no doubt that fruits are a good source of essential nutrients, which can certainly help diabetics to lead a healthy life. However, certain fruits need to be discarded from the diet even though they are high in nutritional value. This is because the sugar content in these fruits is abnormally high and so including them in the diet can make it extremely difficult to manage diabetes. These fruits are naturally too sweet and hence, doctors often warn diabetics to avoid it or eat it in small portions. Some of these are given below:
Certain vegetables can also be troublesome for diabetics, especially when their daily consumption is more than normal. These are starchy vegetables loaded with complex carbohydrates that can raise blood sugar in the body. Hence, one should either avoid or restrict their consumption to keep diabetes under control. Following is a list of starchy vegetables:
In order to combat diabetes, besides a healthy diet, one should devote some time in following an exercise routine. Well, it doesn’t always mean hitting the gym to burn sugar. A 40-45 minutes of brisk walking daily can also benefit in improving and managing diabetes effectively. In fact, light exercise after lunch and dinner is a natural method to regulate blood sugar.