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Diabetes

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What is diabetes?

A blood sugar (glucose) level that is too high results in diabetes. It arises when your body is not reacting to the effects of insulin appropriately or when your pancreas produces too little or no insulin at all. People of all ages are affected by diabetes. All types of diabetes are treatable with medication and or lifestyle modifications, and the majority are chronic (lifelong).

This article explains how lifestyle modifications, especially diet, can help prevent diabetes.

How do foods affect blood glucose levels?

Your blood contains glucose, which is derived from specific foods referred to as carbohydrates, or “carbs.” You will have a higher blood glucose level the more carbohydrates you eat.
Choosing the right foods is crucial to maintaining your blood glucose at a healthy level whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Maintaining blood glucose control reduces the risk of developing major health complications from diabetes, including heart and vision issues.

What foods should I eat if I have diabetes?

Your healthcare team developed a meal plan that suits your needs and preferences. So, you need to talk with them. You can eat a range of healthy foods from food groups in the recommended amount by the healthcare team.  
Eating the right foods in the right amounts at the right times is one of the commonalities among all diabetes eating plans.

Vegetables – We can use several vegetables for the management of diabetes.

Carrot – It is a high-fiber vegetable, that helps us feel full and satisfied. Also, it is high in vitamin A, which helps with immunity and a healthy eye.

Broccoli – Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals found in broccoli are excellent for regulating blood sugar levels. Broccoli, for instance, has a lot of chromium, a mineral that is vital for controlling blood        sugar. This mineral aids in the body’s more effective use of insulin, which lowers blood sugar levels. It also contains sulforaphane, a substance that can decrease blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity.

Cabbage – Cabbage is low in sugar and helps control blood sugar in several ways. To start, this vegetable has few calories and a high fiber content. More stable blood sugar levels are maintained by these two factors. Consuming foods high in fiber causes the bloodstream to absorb glucose more slowly. Sugar spikes are therefore less likely to happen.

Spinach – For diabetes, spinach can also aid in controlling blood sugar, or blood glucose. It’s a good source of magnesium, potassium, plant-based iron, and vitamin C. Spinach absorbs iron better when combined with foods high in vitamin C, like bell peppers or strawberries. Spinach is high in the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid, which can help lower oxidative stress in the body and help regulate blood glucose.

Tomatoes – According to research, tomatoes may have anti-diabetes and anti-inflammatory qualities. In certain studies, lycopene—a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red color—has been linked to better insulin sensitivity and a decrease in diabetes risk factors.
Tomatoes are also a good source of important vitamins, especially vitamin C, and minerals like potassium, and they have a low calorie and carb profile. These nutrients are important for maintaining general health and can help with a diabetes diet.

Cucumber – A non-starchy vegetable with a high fiber content and low carbohydrate content is cucumber. Cucumbers are a great food choice for those with diabetes because of these qualities. Cucumber can help these people better control their blood sugar levels by adding it to every meal.

Lettuce – While the nutrients in different varieties of lettuce vary, they are all high in water and fiber. Specifically, a single cup of red leaf lettuce provides 33% of your daily requirement for vitamin K. Bone health and blood clotting depend on vitamin K. By slowing the absorption of other foods, serving them over a bed of lettuce can also help control blood sugar levels.

Mushrooms – A person with diabetes is known to benefit greatly from mushrooms because of their anti-inflammatory qualities. This, in addition to their low glycemic index, renders them ideal for ingestion. Furthermore, because they contain relatively few carbohydrates, mushrooms can be enjoyed as full meals or snacks, which helps to reduce the risk of elevated blood sugar levels.

Green beans – In addition to being high in fiber and protein, eating green beans helps the sugar to be released into the blood more slowly.  Also, green beans contain vitamins A and C.

Frits – Fresh fruit can be regularly consumed by many people with diabetes without harming their blood sugar levels. While all fresh fruits are a good option, some fruits—like avocados, pomegranates, citrus fruits, apples, and berries—may provide particular health advantages for those with type 2 diabetes, like lowering blood pressure and improving blood sugar levels after meals.

Whole grains – Whole grains are a wise choice for the entire family, not just those who have diabetes. Wholegrain foods typically have a lower glycemic index (GI), making them better for controlling blood glucose levels if you do have diabetes.

Proteins – A diabetes who consumes enough protein can benefit from lower blood sugar, increased satiety, and the preservation of lean body mass. Several variables, such as body weight, the existence of kidney disease, and age, can affect how much protein a person needs.

Fish, Lentils, Tofu, Nuts, Eggs, and chicken are the best choices of proteins for diabetes patients.

Non-fat or low-fat dairy – the variety of milk, yogurt, and cheese.

What foods and drinks should I limit to control my blood sugar?

Maintaining a balance between high- and low-Glycemic Index (GI) foods is one method of managing diabetes through diet. More than low GI foods, foods with a high GI raise blood sugar levels. To lower the impact of high GI foods on blood sugar and prolong feelings of fullness, choose foods with lower GI values and pair them with protein or healthy fat sources.

White bread, white rice, white pasta, chocolate, cookies, and cakes are examples of high GI scale foods.

Additionally, diabetes may want to balance or restrict their intake of the following foods.

Carb-heavy foods – Reducing carbohydrate consumption or combining it with a good source of fat or protein may help those who have diabetes.

Saturated and trans-fat – Saturated and trans fats, for example, have been shown to raise insulin resistance and worsen blood sugar regulation in diabetes.

Refined sugar – Individuals who have diabetes should minimize or stay away from refined sugar sources, such as homemade or store-bought pastries, cakes, and biscuits.

Sugary drinks – Sugar-rich beverages, like shakes, some coffees, and energy drinks, can upset a person’s insulin balance and cause an imbalance.

Salty foods – High-sodium foods have the potential to elevate blood pressure. “Sodium” could be the name of salt on a food label.

Alcohol – Moderate alcohol consumption should not pose a significant risk to diabetes or have an impact on long-term glucose control.

However, since mixed drinks and cocktails frequently contain added sugars that can cause blood sugar spikes, people with diabetes should avoid them.

When should I eat if I have diabetes?

For some diabetes, meals must be taken at approximately the same time each day. Some people can choose when to eat more freely than others. Depending on your diabetes medication or type of insulin, you may need to eat the same amount of carbohydrates at the same time every day. If you take “mealtime” insulin, you can adjust your eating schedule more freely.

Missing meals while taking insulin or certain diabetes medications increases your risk of experiencing dangerously low blood sugar. Find out when to eat and whether you should eat before or after working out with your healthcare team.

How much can I eat if I have diabetes?

Consuming the appropriate quantity of food will also assist you in controlling your weight and blood sugar levels. You can work out how much food and calories you should eat each day with the assistance of your healthcare team.

Meal plan methods,  

If you have diabetes, you can use the plate method and carb counting, also known as carb counting, to help you plan how much to eat. Find out which approach works best for you by consulting with your healthcare team.

Plate method

Using the plate method aids in portion control. There is no need to track calories. The amount of each food group that you should eat is indicated by the plate method. It is best to use this method for lunch and dinner. We can find different combinations for this plat method. As an example,
Make use of a 9-inch dish. Arrange the plate so that non-starchy vegetables take up half of it, meat or another protein takes up one-fourth, and the final quarter is occupied by a grain or starchy food. Starchy vegetables like corn and peas are examples of starches.

As part of your meal plan, you can also have a small glass of milk and eat a small bowl or piece of fruit.

Small snacks in between meals may also be part of your daily eating plan.

Carbohydrate counting

Counting carbohydrates is monitoring how many grams of carbohydrates you consume daily through food and drink. Carbohydrates have a greater effect on blood glucose levels than other foods because they are converted by your body into glucose. You can better control your blood sugar by counting your carbs. Counting carbohydrates can assist you in determining the appropriate dosage of insulin if you take it. While some diabetes who take insulin can benefit from carb counting as a meal-planning tool, not all diabetes require carb counting. You can develop a customized eating plan that best suits your needs with the assistance of your healthcare team.

Foods’ carbohydrate content is expressed in grams. If you want to count carbohydrate grams, you will need to know,

  • learn which foods have carbohydrates
  • read the nutrition facts food label, or earn to estimate the number of grams of carbohydrates in the foods you eat
  • add the grams of carbohydrates from each food you eat to get your total for each meal and the day.

The main sources of carbohydrates are milk, sweets, fruits, and starches. Limit your intake of carbohydrates found in foods with added sugars or refined grains, like white rice and bread. Eat fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, low-fat or nonfat milk, and other sources of carbohydrates instead.

References

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/7104-diabetes
https://medlineplus.gov/diabeticdiet.html
https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7763406/best-vegetables-for-diabetes/
https://www.health.com/fruits-good-for-diabetes-8346880#:~:text=Although%20all%20fresh%20fruits%20make,levels%20and%20lowering%20blood%20pressure.
https://www.eatingwell.com/article/8001055/best-proteins-to-eat-for-diabetes-according-to-a-dietitian/
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324416#foods-to-limit
https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/eat-well/meal-plan-method.html
https://extension.usu.edu/nutrition/research/controlling-blood-glucose-levels-through-diet

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