We are all aware of diabetes as it is one of the major lifestyle diseases that seem to have grown exponentially over the years. Diabetes is caused by an increase in blood sugar levels. Therefore, it is important to work towards maintaining the ideal sugar level.
When you are diagnosed with diabetes the first thing you do is figure out what you can include in your diet. We understand how tricky the process can be with the numerous foods in the market claiming to be “diabetes-friendly”.
To make things simpler for you we have compiled a list of foods that are healthy, nutritious and aid in controlling blood sugar.
Spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients. You would have heard this statement all through your life. Spinach is a must-have for everyone regardless of being diabetic or not. If your sugar levels are uncontrollable, remember all green leafy vegetables are for you because they are packed with antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Spinach is packed with beta carotene, folate and vitamin K, making it a nutritious treat. It also contains significant amounts of vitamin C, which reduces inflammation and prevents cell damage. You can toss them in your salads, omelettes or simply blanch them to make spinach a regular addition in your diet.
This nutritious veggie sure does wonders in controlling sugar levels. Being a cruciferous veggie, broccoli contains sulforaphane that helps to prevent inflammation, improves insulin sensitivity and acts a protective shield of your heart, preventing from cardiovascular damage. Broccoli also has Vitamins A, C, k and iron in abundance. It is also a rich source of fibre, which makes it an ideal food to deal with diabetes. Therefore, make use of the versatility of this veggie to your advantage to cook some healthy treats for yourself.
The medicinal properties of cinnamon are certainly beneficial in maintaining ideal sugar level. Cinnamon is known to improve insulin sensitivity and prevents sugar from entering your blood stream. Studies have also revealed that people who consumed cinnamon regularly witnessed improvement in their sugar levels as opposed to people who did not. Sprinkle cinnamon to your beverages, fruits and veggies to enjoy complete benefit and improved flavour of your dishes.
Eggs are a boon for you. Luckily, being diabetes-friendly, eggs are a tasty cure for your hunger pangs during any time of the day. Protein rich foods are the best for diabetic. Eggs are undoubtedly loaded with proteins that improve insulin sensitivity, improve the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and eliminate bad cholesterol (LDL). Eggs are enriched with antioxidants that prevent oxidation and inflammation, thereby, preventing any probable damage caused by diabetes. Include whole eggs everyday to witness improvement in your overall health.
It is no doubt that Quinoa is the most talked about ingredients these days. It is the perfect combination of proteins, all 9 essential amino acids and nutrients. Half a cup of quinoa contains 14 grams of protein which is just perfect for battling diabetes. It is also lower in the glycemic index and rich in fibre that blasts the bad cholesterol. Quinoa also keeps you full longer, thereby preventing unnecessary food cravings. There are numerous ways to cook this nutrient packed grain that is sure to help you achieve the ideal sugar level.
These crunchy nuts are loaded with protein, fibre, omega-3 and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The goodness of phytochemicals with a combination of essential nutrients imparts goodness in abundance. Antioxidants in walnuts inhibit any inflammatory action. Walnuts also improve immunity, eliminate bad cholesterol and balance blood sugar levels. Several studies have also proven that consumption of about 30 grams of walnuts promotes weight loss and improved insulin sensitivity. Munch on walnuts whenever hunger strikes, they not only keep you full but also improve your health in the long run.
Flaxseeds are rich in fibre that cleanse your gut, flush the toxins and improve insulin sensitivity. Flaxseeds contain unique antioxidants called lignans that protect you from the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Another significant attribute of flax seed is the presence of alpha-linolenic acid. The unique feature of this acid is its capability to get converted to omega-3 fatty acids. Make it a habit to have a daily dosage of flax seeds. Grind them and toss them to salads or take a spoonful of them like a medicine.
- Chia Seeds
A diet rich in fibre is ideal for stabilising blood sugar which makes chia seeds the perfect food to combat diabetes. These seeds are a rich source of fibre and contain significant amount of protein. They also contain iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc. Chia seeds also improve satiety and have proven to aid in weight loss. Adding Chia seeds to your food instantly elevates the quality of the meal, as fibre present in chia seeds controls the digestion process by preventing the absorption of unwanted calories.
- Olive oil
It is time to discard the oils from your kitchen if they are not extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is particularly beneficial for the heart, which is prone to damage when there is an uncontrollable rise in blood sugar level. Olive oil is a rich source of oleic acid, which is a form of monounsaturated fats that help in eliminating bad cholesterol. It also contains polyphenols that prevents inflammation in the arteries and eliminates the accumulation of bad cholesterol around the heart.
- Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is known to improve insulin sensitivity and prevent sugar from entering the blood stream directly. It keeps you full longer by emptying your stomach at a slower pace, thus preventing unwanted hunger and cravings. Try consuming apple cider vinegar before or after your meal to manage the right insulin levels.
Fishes are definitely the tastiest and healthiest addition to your diet. They are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that are crucial for maintaining a healthy heart. Fishes are free from unhealthy fats and therefore, play a crucial role in improving good cholesterol and protecting your blood vessel from inflammation. Make it a point to have fishes twice a week and opt for fatty ones like salmons, sardines, mackerel, anchovies and herring.
This underrated food reserved for being a comfort meal is definitely good for you. The rich composition of magnesium in oats ensures proper secretion of insulin. They are a rich source of fibre, packed with nutrients and antioxidants that aids in proper assimilation of sugar by the body. Steel-cut oats would be a better option as they have a low glycemic index and are less processed, which is an added advantage.
Yogurt is extremely healthy and is great for dealing with diabetes. It is a rich source of calcium and contains reasonable amount of protein and vitamins. Probiotics in yogurt is great for your gut, balances blood sugar level and prevents cardiovascular diseases. However, it is very important to choose the ones that aren’t loaded with sugar and unhealthy fat.
- Green tea
Your cup of green tea is a great source of antioxidants and flavanoids called catechins that improves your cholesterol levels and controls blood sugar. They also relieve you from stress, improve your body shape and prevent cancer. If you are tea lover, it’s time to switch to green tea (of course, minus the dangerous spoons of sugar).
The bright red colour of tomato itself is beneficial for the health in several ways. Lycopene, the red pigment in tomatoes is a great antioxidant that protects the heart and prevents cancer. Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin C, riboflavin and potassium. So, toss tomatoes into your salads, juices or simply munch them to enjoy all the benefits without worrying about your waistline.
When you are in the mood to enjoy fruits, blindly opt for berries as they contain the least amount of sugar. These colourful, tasty and juicy fruits are also rich in vitamin C and a significant source of anthocyanins. Anthocyanin contributes in improving insulin sensitivity and reducing the risk of heart diseases. Having a combination of berries – raspberry, strawberry and blueberry, tossing them along with nuts or sipping on a juice of your favourite berry would be some of the tasty ways to include them in your diet.
Turmeric is one ingredient that helps in dealing with all the probable negative outcomes of diabetes like inflammation, heart disease and kidney disease. Circumin in turmeric is an active compound that attributes to all the benefits this spice has to offer. Turmeric prevents inflammation, manages blood sugar and pressure levels. It also improves the cardiovascular function and protects the heart from damage.
Soy is a great option to replace meat. Soy products are a powerful source of protein that is free from unhealthy fats and cholesterol. They are also a rich source of folate, niacin, iron, potassium and calcium. Soy is great for the heart, promotes satiety, maintains healthy cholesterol levels and helps you meet your nutrient requirements.
- Dark chocolate
This one’s a sweet ending to our list of diabetic friendly foods. Dark chocolates contain flavanols that is beneficial in improving insulin resistance, maintaining sugar levels and controlling blood pressure. Dark chocolates are the best cure to fix your sweet tooth and are known to prevent the cravings of unhealthy foods. However, it is necessary to pick your chocolates that contain a higher proportion of cocoa and lesser proportion of sugar.