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According to a study conducted from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the blood sugars, weight and cholesterol levels of diabetics can be lowered by educating them about the vital nutrients. So, here are the diet, nutrition and lifestyle changes for patients with diabetes mellitus.
Earlier, some studies have claimed that dietary interventions are effective for diabetes management because unlike medications, they have been shown with a marked improvement. Plant-based diets are beneficial to treat type 2 diabetes because it can reduce the fat inside cells.
Plant-based diets also benefit the body weight, lipid control, glycaemic control and blood pressure.
Another research has shown that the effects of dietary fat quality in the development of insulin resistance and in the treatment of diabetes, is based on the interaction between dietary fat and physical activity in relation to insulin sensitivity. It also shows the importance of carbohydrate-rich foods with a low glycaemic index in the diabetic diet.
Let us have a look at the diet, nutrition and lifestyle changes for patients with diabetes mellitus.
1. Healthy Carbohydrates
During digestion, simple carbohydrates (fruits, milk, and milk products, candies, syrups and soft drinks) and complex carbohydrates (peas, beans, whole grains and vegetables) break down into blood glucose. Complex carbohydrates get slowly absorbed into the body, avoiding spikes in the blood sugar levels. Focus on the whole grains, vegetables and fruits that will minimize the risk of diabetes mellitus.
The WHO recommends that carbohydrates in the diet should comprise at least 55 percent of total energy intake in a healthy individual.
2. Fibre-rich Foods
Dietary fibre includes all parts of plant-based foods that your body can digest or absorb. Fibre helps in digesting the food you consumed and aids in controlling the blood sugar levels. Lack of dietary fibre may cause type-2 diabetes and has shown an inverse relationship between fibre intake and blood insulin levels. Studies have shown that, a relatively low intake of dietary fibre significantly increases the risk of type-2 diabetes. Start consuming foods which are high in fibre like fruits, legumes, vegetables and wheat bran.
3. Oily Fish
Oily fish are good for the heart and they can be a good alternative to high-fat meats. Fish like cod fish and tuna have less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than meat. Salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes the heart health by lowering blood fats called triglycerides. Fresh seafood is a delicious addition to a diabetes diet and hence, you can have fish twice a week.
4. Good Fats
Foods which contain monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats can help lower your cholesterol levels. It also helps in decreasing the risk of type-2 diabetes. Good fats include avocados, peanut oil, olive oil, walnuts, olives, cashews, pecans and peanuts. All these can be added as a part of a diabetic diet.
Apart from healthy eating, you should incorporate some lifestyle changes too.
1. Learn About Carbs Counting & Portion Sizes
The key in maintaining diabetes management is learning how to count carbohydrates. Carbohydrates often have an impact on your blood sugar levels and for people with mealtime insulin, it's necessary to know the amount of carbohydrates in your food. This will help in getting you the proper insulin dose.
Get to know what portion size is appropriate for each type of food.
2. Ensure Well-balanced Meals
To maintain the insulin levels, plan for every meal to have a good mix of fruits, vegetables, protein and healthy fats. It's very important to pay attention to the types of carbohydrates you opt for. Some carbohydrates like vegetables, whole grains and fruits are low in carbs and contain fibre that helps keep your blood sugar levels stable. It's best that you talk to your doctor about the best food choices and the appropriate balance of food types.
3. Coordinate Your Meals & Medications
If you consume too little food while you are on your diabetes medication, it can result in dangerously low blood sugar. Also, too much food can cause your blood sugar levels to spike known as hyperglycaemia. It's advisable to talk to your doctor about how to best coordinate meals and medication schedules.
4. Avoid Sugar Sweetened Beverages
Sugar sweetened beverages, including those sweetened with high fructose corn syrup are high in calories. These offer zero nutrition and instead will cause obesity and type-2 diabetes. Sugar sweetened beverages cause the blood sugar to spike quickly, so it's best to avoid these drinks if you have diabetes.
Physical activity is another important factor in your diabetes management plan. When you start exercising, your muscles use the sugar for energy and this helps your body use insulin more efficiently. You can go out for walking, running or skipping exercises. You can also do light activities like indulging in household work or gardening.
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