Diabetes Awareness Day: 5 Best Foods That Will Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels In Check
Diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases in the world today with the lives of over 460 million people affected. Over the last few years, the rate of Type 2 diabetes has alarmingly spiralled due to poor immunity, stress, dietary, and lifestyle habits, among other factors. If left unmanaged and untreated, Type 2 diabetes can lead to several other chronic health conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke, to name a few. The first thing the doctor may tell you upon your diagnosis is to change your eating habits as diet plays a pivotal role in controlling your blood sugar levels.On World Diabetes Awareness Day today, we shall look at 5 best foods that will help you keep a tab on your blood sugar levels. However, before we get to that, let’s look at what diabetes is and its different types.
What Is Diabetes And Its Different Types?
Educating people about diabetes, its different types and ways to keep this chronic disease at bay will help control the rise in global numbers. A person gets diabetes when their pancreas ceases to produce insulin correctly. Insulin is a hormone that aids your body utilise and stock sugar from food for energy. The issue crops up when the pancreas struggles to produce sufficient amounts of insulin or when the body has a negative response to the hormone in question. Under normal circumstances, the insulin assists in maintaining a steady level of sugar in the body.
There are different types of diabetes. Let’s look at them in detail below.
- Pre-diabetes: Pre-diabetes is a condition when the concerned person has high blood sugar levels but not high enough to fall into the type 2 category. People who are pre-diabetic are more prone to developing type 2 diabetes and the other health complications that arise due to it. But this is also the stage when one can make certain dietary and lifestyle changes to avert the development of diabetes in the future.
- Type 1 diabetes: This is a chronic health condition that occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin at all. This is usually diagnosed in one’s childhood, but in some cases, it has been diagnosed later in one’s life as well. Those who have type 1 diabetes must administer insulin all the time to keep their blood sugar levels steady.
- Type 2 diabetes: This is a lifestyle-related problem. As mentioned above this is when the pancreas ceases to produce sufficient amounts of insulin to meet the body’s requirements and your body’s cells can’t store glucose in the form of energy. When that happens a high level of sugar builds up in the blood, thereby increasing the blood sugar levels and causing type 2 diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes: Sometimes some pregnant women who have never had high blood sugar levels may develop diabetes during their pregnancy. Why does that tend to happen no one really knows, but post delivery gestational diabetes usually resolves itself.
Diabetes is such a disease that needs to be managed lifelong to avoid further health complications. The best way to do so is by following some dietary and lifestyle changes. Following are some of the best foods to consume if you want to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Best Foods That Help Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels In Check
Out of all the factors that help in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, a balanced and wholesome diet is perhaps the most important. Deciding what to eat to maintain steady sugar levels shouldn’t feel like a herculean task. That is why, we are curating a list of 5 foods that you can consume to maintain healthy levels of blood sugar and manage and, in some cases, prevent diabetes as well.
Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are rich in dietary fiber. Foods high in fiber not only take longer to digest but also slows down the absorption of sugar, which helps improve one’s blood sugar levels. Thus consuming more green leafy vegetables does not cause a spike in blood glucose levels the way other simple carbohydrates tend to do.
Green leafy veggies also contain vitamin C. Research shows that people with vitamin C tend to have low levels of the water soluble nutrient as compared to those who don’t have diabetes and the former may require more of it as well. Increasing the intake of vitamin C may help people with diabetes as the nutrient plays a vital role in reducing inflammation in the body, neutralising oxidative stress and aiding in the process of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
If you don’t find the time to cook up a nice home cooked meal or healthy smoothie made out of green leafy vegetables, give Wellbeing Nutrition’s Daily Greens (DG) a try! Made out of 39 farm fresh fruits, vegetables and superfoods, Daily Greens contains the goodness of green leafy veggies in the form of effervescent tablets. All you need to do is, drop in a tablet of DG in a glass of water and gulp down the fizzy drink.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Research shows that a daily and religious intake of apple cider vinegar is likely to ensure better sugar levels. It is known to enhance insulin sensitivity and insulin response levels in the body, eventually lowering glucose levels and lessening the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, it is best to use organic apple cider vinegar with ‘mother’, which are live cultures that provide it extra potency. The murkier and cloudier the appearance of ACV, the more beneficial it is to your health. Wellbeing Nutrition’s organic Apple Cider Vinegar is a great addition to one’s regular routine. It contains 2x the ‘mother’ and Himalayan gold and red apples, and is a rich source of healthy vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes that naturally boost one’s wellbeing.
It is thus advisable to add 1 tbsp of organic apple cider vinegar to your salad, along with 1 tbsp olive oil, and a pinch of salt to regulate sugar levels. You can also add a tablespoon of ACV to a cup of green tea, instead of a tbsp of lemon juice to get the tart flavour.
Fatty fish is a healthy source of vitamins, minerals, proteins, antioxidants and healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acid, all of which are important to regulate and control blood sugar levels. Protein, in particular, is essential for blood sugar control. So irrespective of whether you have diabetes or not, you should make fatty fish a part of your regular diet. Fatty fish is also incredibly good for the heart. Since the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke are almost doubled if you have diabetes, incorporating fatty fish in your diet is likely to lessen the risk of serious health complications.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein and this macronutrient plays a very important role in maintaining healthy sugar levels. Protein not only slows down digestion and keeps you satiated for long but also slows down glucose absorption, which tends to be very helpful if you have diabetes. A hard-boiled egg can be your go-to high-protein snack if you have diabetes. According to research, eating two eggs per day, preferably the whites, 6 days a week is considered safe and a healthy addition to the diet of a person with type 2 diabetes.
Whole Grain Foods
Whole grain foods or products with 100 % whole grain ingredients like breads, popcorn, cereals, quinoa, oatmeal, cornmeal, brown rice, pasta, and the like are great options to include in your diet if you have diabetes or insulin sensitivity as compared to refined grains and high processed foods. Whole grains contain the endosperm, bran, and germ of a grain, as compared to refined grains only the endosperm, which makes it less nutritious compared to the former. Whole grain foods also naturally contain more vitamins, minerals compared to their refined counterparts. They are also known as complex carbohydrates as they are digested more slowly, keeping one feeling full for longer and providing sustained energy. Given that this causes the sugar to reach the bloodstream steadily and gradually, it helps to maintain sugar levels within a healthy range always.
The aforementioned foods are all healthy food options to be added to your regular diet if you have insulin sensitivity, pre-diabetes, type 1 or type 2 diabetes. They take time to digest, control your appetite, keep you feeling satiated for long, and slowly release glucose to the bloodstream, thereby not causing any spikes to the blood sugar levels. This way it helps to regulate, manage and even prevent diabetes.
Apart from the aforementioned foods, you must also add fresh fibrous fruits, non-starchy vegetables, and low-sugar foods to your diet. Avoid fried and processed foods at all costs or should you have to eat them, have them in moderation. You must also include Wellbeing Nutrition’s Daily Greens and Apple Cider Vinegar to your regular diet. Additionally, remember that diabetes, especially type-2 diabetes is a lifestyle disorder. So inculcate good and sustainable habits like doing regular physical activity (for atleast 30-45 minutes), practicing daily yoga and meditation to keep stress at bay, getting good restful sleep, and staying hydrated always to regulate blood sugar levels or prevent diabetes and other health complications altogether.
- World Diabetes Awareness Day, World Health Organisation, (https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-diabetes-day/2021)
- Diabetes, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes#:~:text=Diabetes%20is%20a%20disease%20that,to%20be%20used%20for%20energy.)
- What is Diabetes? Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. (https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/diabetes.html)
- Vegetables and Fruits, The Nutrion Source, Harvard T.H Chan Scool of Public Health(https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vegetables-and-fruits/)
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- Brita E Karlström, Anette E Järvi, Liisa Byberg, Lars G Berglund, Bengt OH Vessby, Fatty fish in the diet of patients with type 2 diabetes: comparison of the metabolic effects of foods rich in n–3 and n–6 fatty acids, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 94, Issue 1, July 2011, Pages 26–33, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.110.006221
- Lee J, Kim J. Egg consumption is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in middle-aged and older men. Nutr Res Pract. 2018;12(5):396-405. doi:10.4162/nrp.2018.12.5.396. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6172166/)
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