Diet for Diabetics: Dos & Don’ts

For all those patients who suffer from Type 1 or 2 or other types of diabetes, here is a guide about their diet : What foods they must avoid and what they can eat

Foods Diabetics must avoid

i. Salt
Salt is the greatest threat for diabetics. You get enough salt from vegetables in inorganic form, so reduce the intake of inorganic salt.
ii. Sugar
Sucrose, a table sugar, provides nothing but calories and carbohydrates. Also, you need calcium to digest sucrose. Insufficient sucrose intake might lead to calcium being leached off the bones. Substitute sucrose with natural sugar, like honey, jaggery etc.
iii. Fat
Excessive fat intake is definitely not good for diabetics .
Try and exclude fried items from your diet totally.
However, diabetics must have a small quantity of oil to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, especially vitamin E.
iv. For non-vegetarians
Stop the intake of red meat completely and go for a vegetarian diet.
v. Whole milk and products
Switch on to low fat milk and its products like yogurt (curd). Replace high fat cheese with low fat cottage cheese.
vi. Tea and coffee
Do not have more than two cups of the conventional tea or decaffeinated coffee every day.

vii. White flour and its products
Replace these with whole grains, wholewheat or soya breads and unpolished rice.
viii. Foods with a high glycemic index
Avoid white rice, potatoes, carrots, breads and banana — they increase the blood-sugar levels.

Special food for diabetics

i. Bitter gourd (karela)
This vegetable contains a high dosage of ‘plant insulin’. It lowers the blood-sugar levels effectively.
Have the juice of three to four karelas early morning on an empty stomach.
As a vegetable, too, it can be taken on a regular basis.
Powder the seeds of karela (measuring 1 teaspoon), mix with water and drink it.
ii. Fenugreek (menthi)
It is the most common food used to control diabetes.
Gulp a teaspoonful of these seeds with a glass of water daily.
Soak the seeds overnight. Have the water in which the seeds were soaked.
You can make a chutney with methi seeds. You can also eat them sprouted, dried and powdered, or mix them in wheat flour to make chapattis.
iii. Indian blackberry (jamun)
This fruit is very effective in preventing and controlling diabetes. Powder the stone of the fruit and eat it — it contains glucoside, which prevents the conversion of starch into sugars.
iv. Garlic
This is used to lower blood-sugar levels. Garlic is rich in potassium and replaces the potassium which gets lost in urine. It also contains zinc and sulphur, which are components of insulin.
Take about three to four flakes of freshly crushed garlic daily.
v. Onion
Because of its diuretic and digestive properties, onion works against diabetes. Raw onion is more useful.
vi. Flaxseed
This is the richest source of Omega 3 fatty acids. It helps control diabetes because it maintains the sensitivity of the cell membrane, facilitates insulin, and thereby the uptake of glucose by the cells.
vii. Fibre
Soluble fibre, found in apples, kidney beans, oatmeal, soyabean, etc, help control diabetes.
These aid slow digestion and absorption of nutrients, resulting in a slow and steady release of glucose. They soak up excess bile acids found in the intestinal tract, the same acids that are converted to blood cholesterol.
They also help empty the stomach and trigger satiety that can help Type 2 diabetics to achieve weight loss goals.
viii. Cinnamon solution
Water extracts of cinnamon have been found to promote glucose metabolism and reduce cholesterol.
ix. Antioxidants
Diabetes is often associated with conditions like heart disease, diabetic retinopathy, immune deficiency and kidney disease.
Many are caused by free radical damage. Therefore, make sure to include antioxidants, especially vitamin C (lemons), E, selenium, zinc and chromium (Brewer’s yeast), in your diet, as they have been shown to control blood sugar levels.

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