How to tackle diabetes through nutrition
We are looking ahead at festive months laced with holidays. That could also mean that you tend to binge without thinking of your medical restrictions, especially when you are diabetic. We are way too occupied with the parties, shopping and entertaining guests. But remember, it is very important that diabetics maintain the right food selection and a healthy lifestyle. One has to prepare a 'to do list' and make sure to follow it.
You don't have to know everything about every food, but grasp the vital concepts, since people with diabetes need to have a good balance of nutrition and taste. Here are some estimates for over the course of a day:
. About 20 per cent of calorie intake can come from protein.
. Roughly 15 to 20 per cent of calorie intake should be from fat. Try to include omega 3 fatty acids in your diet by including foods like flax seeds, olive oil and walnuts.
. About 60 to 70 per cent of the calorie intake should be from carbohydrates. Include more complex carbohydrates than simple ones as they break down more slowly to release glucose. Avoid refined foods like maida, arrowroot, sago and fruit juices.
. Eat foods with low glycemic index (GI). Make wise choices to prevent too much fluctuation in your blood sugar levels. Avoid foods that are high in gylcemic index. It is best to choose whole wheat bread, over white bread as the latter is high in GI. Choose foods like lean meat, eggs, fish, salad vegetables, oats and semolina for your protein and carbohydrates to prevent long-term complications.
. Increase fibre in your meals. Including 40gms of dietary fibre daily is beneficial. Switch to whole-grain breads, cereals and crackers. Have whole cereals like buckwheat, barley, ragi and oats, leafy vegetables and whole pulses. Instead of fruit juices, try and grab the whole fruit as it's packed with fibre.
. Sugar-packed aerated drinks should be restricted. Even if such drinks are consumed, it should be only occasionally and in moderation. One can of aerated drink has 39gms of sugar, and so this is a strict no-no for diabetics.
. Reduce sugar. Try to avoid table sugar as much as possible. Avoid adding sugar to beverages like tea, coffee and cereals. Avoid jam, jelly, candy, sweet rolls, cake with icing, and sweet pie. Instead, treat yourself to an oat bar or a mixed fruit bowl with low-fat hung curds or a bowl of fruit custard with very little honey.
. The cooking method can also affect blood sugar levels. Foods cooked by dry and short-time methods like roasting have lesser glycemic effect as compared to foods cooked by boiling and long cooking processes which reduce the size of the dish. Chapattis, sprouted dals and whole fruits are better than boiled rice, khichadi, washed dals and fruit juices. Try to include more of such foods in your diet.
. Maintain your ideal body weight. Overweight people are more prone to hyperglycemia. Basal metabolic rate decreases as age increases and so do not set very high goals for yourself. Try to have a balanced diet. Do not go on starvation or crash diets to lose weight as its effect may reverse and lead to hypoglycemia.
. Exercise every day. This will not only help you maintain your weight but also control blood sugar levels. Swimming is one of the best aerobic activities to keep your fat and sugar levels in control. A regular 30-minute walk will also help keep your diabetes in control.