Manage diabetes by eating healthy!

Nishant weighed 125 kgs when he was led to believe that bariatric surgery was a solution for his type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Most of his life, he had consumed nutrition-sparse diet, high in sugars and refined carbohydrates. But after his feet started to go numb, a sign of nerve damage due to diabetes, is when became aware of the relation between diet and health. He planned out his meals and started a healthy way of living. He lost around 15 kgs after 3 months and took up a fitness programme. After a year, he is now cured of diabetes and its complications.

A diabetic must carefully choose those foods which keep his/her blood sugar levels within a normal range. World Diabetes Day is observed on 14th November to create diabetes awareness among millions of people worldwide.

Fast facts:

  • Around 592 million people are anticipated to get affected by 2035, a 53% increase on existing cases.
  • India has the highest number of diabetics than any country in the world. The estimate of the actual number of diabetics in India is around 40 million.
  • Exercise and diet can reduce or delay the incidence of diabetes by over 50%

When should you get tested for diabetes?

People aged above 45 years who are overweight should get their blood sugar level tested. In case one is overweight (BMI above 25) and younger, then also a visit to the doctor is necessary if following signs show up:

  • High blood pressure or high cholesterol (blood fat) (above 140/90 mm Hg)
  • Abnormal levels of HDL, or good cholesterol (below 35mg/dL) or triglyceride (type of blood fat) (above 250mg/dL)
  • Gestational diabetes during pregnancy or giving birth to baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Blood vessel problems affecting the heart, brain, or legs

Apart from these, if a person has a family history of diabetes or belongs to the following ethnic groups: African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander American, then he/she should surely get the tests done. Even if the tests are normal, after 3 years one should be retested again.

Eat right, follow a healthy diet

Some foods enhance the health of people living with diabetes due to their unique ingredients. These foods manage your blood glucose levels along with providing good flavour and taste.

Apples: Low in calories, high in fibre content, fights bad cholesterol, blunts blood-sugar swings. Eat it unpeeled because of its antioxidant effect which can beat diabetes.

Beans: Rich in proteins and soluble fibre, they are good for heart and contain phytonutrients that beat diabetes.

Tea: Rich in phytonutrients such as catechins and tannins that help in balancing blood sugar levels.

Whole-grain bread: Coarse whole bread slows digestion and improves your sensitivity to insulin.

Olive oil: With its anti-inflammatory component, it lowers rates of heart disease and diabetes. A little olive oil may reverse insulin resistance and slows digestion and hence is less likely to raise your glucose.

Fish: Omega-3 fatty acids in fish reduce inflammation in the body as well as insulin resistance and diabetes. They also cut the risk of heart disease.

Tomatoes: Lower blood pressure and improve HDL to cut the risk of heart disease which is major complication of diabetes. Rich in iron and vitamins C and E and being low in calories, they are good for diabetics.

Finger millet (Ragi): Reduces the risk of diabetes mellitus because of its high polyphenol and dietary fibre content and lower glycaemic response.

Milk and Yogurt: Rich in protein, calcium and fight insulin resistance. Go for fat-free, skimmed milk and plain unsweetened yogurt.

Sweet potato: Packed with 40 percent soluble fibre that lowers cholesterol and slows digestion. It contains carotenoids and chlorogenic acid which help the body respond to insulin better and reduce insulin resistance.

Regulating the intake of portion size is one of the major factors in losing weight. It is well known that fat has more calories compared to carbohydrate or protein if same quantity is taken into account.

Tips to prevent/control diabetes

1. Fewer fried foods should be consumed and boiled foods should be made a regular choice.

2. Butter used in cooking should be replaced by margarine and olive oil or the usage of butter should be cut down

3. More fish, chicken and lean cuts of beef should be consumed

4. Meatless meals or reorganizing meals with more fruits, vegetables, starches compared to meat should be taken

5. Fat should not add to more than 30% of the total daily calories

6. Saturated fat should comprise of less than 10% of the daily calories

7. 50% to 60% of total daily calories should be made up of carbohydrates

8. Fibre should comprise of a minimum of 38 grams in the daily diet for men aged 50 years and below. For women of the same age, 25 grams of fibre daily is required

Did you know?

You could have type 2 diabetes and not show any symptoms! Studies show that only about 40 percent of diabetic patients have symptoms at the time of diagnosis so a follow-up blood test every year is important for people with a high risk of diabetes after they reach 40.

Diabetes is a complex yet manageable disease. Always consult a doctor

before making dietary changes.

 

 

Sources:

  1. WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION. ACCESSED OCT 29, 2015.
  2. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION. ACCESSED OCT 28, 2015.
  3. INTERNATIONAL DIABETES FEDERATION. ACCESSED OCT 29, 2015.