8 must-have foods that should be part of a diet for diabetics
Dr. Pankaj Sharma
March 02, 2021
Diabetes can be a tricky disease to manage, especially when adjusting to the diet for diabetics. Meal plan restrictions alone can be difficult to wrap your head around and then come the medications that need to be taken like clockwork. However, a prescribed and carefully crafted diet for diabetics is among the most important aspects of its treatment and management. Without this, your symptoms and the disease could worsen or spiral out of control.
While there are some diet all-rounders, it is important to have a diet specially tailored to your specific needs as any general diet for type 2 diabetes or type 1 diabetes will not do you any good. To know more about the foods that fit perfectly into a diet plan for diabetics, take a look at these pointers.
When picking foods to craft a diet for diabetics, the general way to go about it is to choose foods with a low glycaemic index (GI). Oats are among those foods as they have a GI of 55, helping keep blood sugar levels low and minimising spikes. In addition to that, oats have B-glucans, which help glycaemic control and improves the body’s insulin sensitivity.
Like oats, legumes also have a low GI score, making them a good option to incorporate into a diet plan for diabetics. Moreover, legumes serve as a great source of the essential nutrients such as protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates. These are required for a healthy, balanced diet without the added sugars. However, avoid legume products if you’re looking to keep blood sugar in check. These have a higher GI score as they usually contain simple starches and added sugars.
Yoghurt is a great addition to the diet for type 2 diabetes patients, especially if it contains probiotics. Studies have found that this type of yoghurt lowers the risk of heart disease in patients with type 2 diabetes as it lowers the level of cholesterol in the body. Further, probiotic foods help increase insulin sensitivity and keeps inflammation in check.
When adding potatoes to a diet for diabetics patients, remember that it must be sweet potatoes or yams and not regular potatoes. The regular variant has a high GI score whereas yams are nutritious and have a low score. Eating it whole, with the skin, has been proven effective as it contains healthy amounts of fibre. Some animal studies have also found sweet potatoes to reduce diabetes markers too.
These are a great source of plant-based protein and an overall nutritious option for a healthy diet. Beans have a low GI score and helps with optimal blood sugar regulation too. There are several options which include navy, pinto, kidney, or black beans, all of which work just as well.
However, if you’re using canned beans, be sure to rinse these properly to get rid of any added salts.
Berries and citrus fruits
Studies have found high levels of oxidative stress in those with diabetes and a solution to that is to consume foods rich in antioxidants. Berries are one such option that work perfectly in a diet plan for diabetics as they full of these antioxidants and other essential minerals. In fact, in fruits like oranges, the two bioflavonoid antioxidants, hesperidin and naringin, are known primarily for their antidiabetic effects.
Another food that is high in antioxidants as well as healthy omega-3 content are chia seeds. This superfood is a great addition to a diet for diabetics to lose weight because it is a good source of fibre as well as protein. In addition to that, it was found to be more effective for weight loss in diabetics in comparison to oat bran.
With less than 1g of sugar, avocados are a great addition to any diet for diabetics, be it a keto diet for type 2 diabetes or a keto diet for type 1 diabetics. This is mainly because obesity is linked to diabetes and consuming avocado is associated with lower body mass index as well as body weight. What’s more, studies found that the avocatin B (AvoB) fat molecule that is only found in avocados helps reduce insulin resistance. This is ideal for those managing diabetes and looking for a healthy way to keep their sugar in control.
Arming yourself with information about the foods that belong in the diet of a diabetics patient is a step in the right direction. However, this isn’t enough as you need to pair it with healthy lifestyle choices. You need to keep your weight in check and many assume that a diet for diabetics to lose weight will do the trick. While this does help, you should do all you can to stay physically and mentally healthy too, while keeping your blood sugar in check.
To that end, here are a few practices you can rely on.
- Take medications on time
- Stay hydrated
- Drink clear liquids often
- Exercise regularly and within limits
- Eat smaller portions of food rather than large meals
- Do not skip meals
- Reduce your stress levels
- Maintain a healthy body weight
Following a healthy, doctor-prescribed diet for diabetics alongside healthy lifestyle choices is your safest bet. These will ensure all-round nourishment and help you deal with any symptoms
or complications without much trouble. However, when dealing with diabetes, it is quite common to want to try new-age remedies. Things like a specialised keto diet for type 2 diabetes or similarly, a keto diet for type 1 diabetics that you may find on the internet are rarely the right option without proper guidance. But, if you’re curious, speak to your dietician or specialist about such measures. To find one that can offer tailored care, be sure to use the Bajaj Finserv Health App.
This unique digital tool has numerous perks and features to help you get quality healthcare right through your smartphone. Thanks to the smart doctor search functionality, finding the top dieticians in your city or your locale is now just a few clicks away. What’s more, you can book appointments online and also consult doctors virtually. This makes remote care something you can avail in a reliable setting. Further, the app features a health library where you can learn all about the ideal diet for type 2 diabetes as well as type 1 diabetes and overall healthy living. For quick and easy access to these benefits, download the app for free on Google Play or the Apple App Store today.