Your dietary habits can go a long way in managing your blood sugar levels and controlling diabetes. The metabolic disorder that once affected middle-aged and elderly is now impacting all age groups including young and children. Somewhere, our lifestyle choices have to be blamed that are making us more sedentary and unhealthy. (Also read: Diet for diabetes: 6 healthy foods to control your blood sugar levels)
Continuing to make wrong food choices even after your diabetes diagnosis can play a havoc with your health and put you at risk of several complications arising out of the disease. Including the right kinds of food on the other hand can help reduce dependence on medication and manage blood glucose levels naturally.
“Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disorder caused due to unhealthy eating habits, wrong food choices, nutritional deficiencies or lack of exercise. Genetics is a contributing factor to the predisposition of diabetes but with an active lifestyle and optimum nutrition it can be managed well without any dependency on medications,” says Avantii Deshpaande, PCOS and Gut Health Nutritionist.
Avantii shares how it’s not just about counting calories to manage diabetes, but also going for the right food combo.
“A calorie deficit with a low to moderate intensity workout is a right choice to reduce weight. But thinking about a calorie deficit might not be a good idea. It is about choosing the right combination of carbohydrate, protein and fat is important as well. Insulin resistance in obesity can lead to diabetes. The carbohydrates in the diet lead to insulin resistance more than the fats in the diet so there is paradigm shift in keep the diet high in protein, fibre, good fats and moderate to low carbs in the diet,” says the nutritionist.
Eating by the healthy plate
The nutritionist says portion control and following the diet by the healthy plate method is the right way to go with diabetes management along with counting the carbs in the diet.
“Follow eating by the healthy plate for the main meals including lunch and dinner. 50% should be salad portion, 25% protein portion and remaining 25% should be carbohydrates,” says Avantii.
Power of probiotics
The nutritionist who regularly educates people on diabetes diet and has written books like Learn The Art To Eat Smart and Breakfast Recipes, says diabetes is often caused due to low grade inflammation due to the unhealthy eating habits and sendetary lifestyle. Adding probiotics to the diet can help improve gut health and symptoms of diabetes.
“The gut health (i.e. the number and the type of microorganisms) is depedent on the diet consumed. To increase the good bacteria it is important to consume probiotics in the diet. The probitocs are naturally present in curds and buttermilk, so make it a point to consume atleast 100g of curds or 300 ml of buttermilk in the day,” says Avantii.
She alternatively suggests fermented vegetables like kimchi and sauerkraut, kefir milk, kombucha or beetroot kanji with every meals.
Foods that reduce inflammation
Cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, turmeric which is high in curcumin and acts an anti-inflammatory agent, should be part of anti-diabetes diet.
“Juices of leafy greens are high in Phyto nutrients and berries are high in poly phenols. Both will help you to reduce the inflammation,” adds the nutritionist.
Chromium rich foods
Chromium is known play a vital role in glucose control, enhancing weight loss and muscle mass. Avantii says eating foods rich in chromium can be extremely beneficial for diabetes patients. These include whole grain products, poultry, broccoli, potatoes, green beans and milk products.
“Along with the diet changes make sure you have 20 mins of active exercise everyday. Weight bearing workouts along with cardio workouts are best suited to manage diabetes,” says the nutritionist.
She adds that it is important to focus on good sleep and management of stress to reduce inflammation and manage diabetes better.