If you have diabetes, eating healthily is key to controlling blood sugar levels and avoiding complications. Consult your health care team on eating patterns and meal timing options that work for you.
Healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil have been shown to help improve glycemic control and decrease post-meal triglycerides levels by stimulating the fullness hormone (24-25). Meanwhile, leafy green vegetables provide low calories yet abundant nutrition, such as Vitamin C.
Fruit can be an integral part of a balanced diet, providing vital vitamins, antioxidants and helping manage blood sugar levels.
However, fruit contains natural sugars so portion control is key. Furthermore, processed fruits like jellies and jams contain additional added sugar; one serving of whole fruit should not exceed 15 grams of carbs daily.
Vegetables are essential for everyone, but especially beneficial for diabetics since nonstarchy varieties have lower carb counts.
Frequent consumption can help maintain healthy sugar levels, an essential step to managing diabetes. They contain plenty of fibre, nutrients and proteins for maximum protection.
Make an effort to incorporate broccoli, kale, leafy greens, tomatoes and cucumber as part of your meal. Avoid starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn as these may increase blood sugar. Okra is another fantastic low glycemic index choice as it’s packed full of potassium, vitamin C and folic acid – great options.
People living with diabetes are typically advised to limit their consumption of grains like rice and rotis, but there are healthy alternatives that can still provide a satisfying meal experience. Whole grains like ragi, amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat have low glycemic index scores which slow digestion and absorption of sugar for reduced risk of sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.
These grains offer fibre, B vitamins, protein and minerals that help lower cholesterol levels and protect against heart diseases. You can easily incorporate them into salads, soups, khichdi and upma dishes.
4. Lean Meat
Meat contains both proteins and fats that help stabilize blood sugar levels, but not all meat is created equal.
As experts advise, selecting lean cuts of poultry and beef will help someone meet the guidelines set by experts for saturated fat intake, which in turn lowers their risk of chronic diseases such as heart attacks. Organic and grass-fed meats provide additional health benefits such as improved fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content. When cooking meals it is also beneficial to use methods such as steaming, poaching or baking rather than roasting or frying to minimize extra calories intake and help save on calories.
Fish is an essential food source for diabetics as it offers both high-quality protein and omega-3 fats that may help lower blood cholesterol levels. Aim for grilled, baked or curried varieties without added sugars or high carbohydrate ingredients such as curries.
Rohu, hilsa, cod, herring and sardines are excellent choices for diabetics as they contain omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and vitamin D. Tuna can also be enjoyed grilled on whole grain bread with mayonnaise or cottage cheese for breakfast or added into salads for lunch.
Nuts are an excellent addition to a diabetes diet as they contain heart-healthy fats that help manage blood sugar levels and provide plenty of dietary fibre.
Almonds are packed with essential vitamins and minerals like Vitamin E and Magnesium, helping reduce post-meal glucose spikes while increasing levels of HDL cholesterol that protect against arterial damage.
Peanuts are an excellent source of protein, fiber and healthy fats – but when choosing unsalted peanuts it is essential that they be chosen as added salt can increase blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein with a low glycemic index rating, making them an ideal source of food for diabetics. One large egg does contain about 200 mg of cholesterol however so individuals should eat them with caution.
Studies have demonstrated that eating eggs regularly may help increase insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation levels in the body. To maximize health benefits from eggs, they should be consumed as part of a nutritious and well-rounded diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.
People living with diabetes must carefully manage their carb intake at every meal and snack. A registered dietitian can assist you in selecting nutritious options to suit your specific needs.
Some studies indicate that dairy may play an integral part in preventing Type 2 diabetes, while other research indicates full-fat dairy increases your risk.
If you are lactose intolerant, try an alternative dairy product like almond or soymilk; just be sure to read the label for any added sugars.