The World Health Organisation has declared its slogan for 2016 as ‘Beating Diabetes’ and rightly so. Reports show that the incidence of diabetes is increasing by the day with developing countries like India leading the way. About 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, a number likely to more than double in the next 20 years. Also, type 2 accounts for around 90 per cent of all diabetes worldwide. What is more shocking is that even children are getting it. As against the general belief, the basic reason for this rise is not the ‘bad gene’, but unhealthy lifestyle and diet.
Here are simple steps for beating diabetes and maintaining healthy weight.
1. Eat the right foods
- Eat more healthy carbs, which include whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables. Healthy carbs are digested slowly, helping you feel full for longer and keeping blood sugar and insulin levels stable.
- Avoid unhealthy carbs such as white flour, refined sugar and white rice that have been stripped of all bran, fibre and nutrients. They digest quickly and spike sugar levels.
- It is better to eat a mixture of millets. They all are rich in fiber and have high content of minerals. Moreover, these millets release sugar slowly in the blood and also diminish the glucose absorption.
- Add high-quality protein to your diet
- Adults should aim for 1 gram of lean protein for each kilogram of weight.
- Replace red meat with fish, chicken.
- Vegetarians can opt for low fat dairy products, whole pulses, beans, soya and mixed whole grains.
- Egg whites are a good source of lean proteins.
Eat healthy fats
- Coconut oil, nuts and seeds, extra-virgin olive oil, mustard oil and butter are good sources of healthy fat. Eating healthy fats helps burn fat by speeding up your metabolism.
Go for vegetables
- Most fruits and vegetables are high in fibre and nutrient dense, but low in calories making them ideal for diabetics who often need to watch their calorie intake. The general rule for diabetics is that root vegetables should be eaten in moderation, while green and red vegetables are great choices. Green leafy vegetables such as lettuce and spinach and broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower are good too.
- Red vegetables are good for diabetics. A high intake of magnesium has been linked to a lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes as well as increased insulin sensitivity. Magnesium rich vegetables, including black beans, spinach, okra, broccoli and peas should be eaten regularly.
Lot of fruits
- Cherries, grapefruit, prunes, apricots, apple, peach, guava and oranges do not cause a spike in blood sugar level.
2. How much to eat
- This depends upon your body weight, age and physical activity. Make sure that your body mass index (BMI) lies within the range of 18.5 – 22.9. BMI is equal to weight in kg / height in meters square. It is best to take advice from a qualified dietician as to how many calories you require per day.
3. Add these herbs and spices to your diet
- Cinnamon: Helps keep insulin stable so blood sugar stays controlled. Add half to 1tsp cinnamon to your morning tea.
- Apple cider vinegar: It may lower blood sugar levels; use it as salad dressing.
- Amla (Indian gooseberry): It is low-sugar and fibre -rich fruit. It stimulates a group of cells that secrete the hormone insulin, thereby reducing the blood sugar level in diabetic patients.
- Fenugreek seeds: These increase production of bile acids and subsequently reduce cholesterol and triglycerides. They also help in lowering blood sugar levels.
- Chia seeds: These are tiny dark, nutty-flavoured seeds that are rich in nutrients like healthy fats, fibre and antioxidants.
- Tragacanth Gum (gond katira): This soluble fibre prevents and delays absorption of simple sugars from the gut. It gives one a feeling of fullness.
4. Time your meals
- Make sure you eat regularly: Have breakfast, lunch and dinner and have two snacks in between. Make sure you eat at regular rhythms and regular times to keep your hormonal clock in balance. Eat dinner at least three hours before sleeping.
5. Say no to artificial sweeteners
- Avoid use of artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, saccharin, aspartame and acesulfame potassium instead of sugar as most of them have been linked to cancer in animals. As artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar, they tend to make you crave sugar more. Instead, if you use one teaspoon sugar, it will only add 20 calories and you will be able avoid all the harmful side effects.
6. Exercise regularly
- Get started with a regular routine of exercise and moving your body. It makes your cells and muscles more sensitive to insulin so you don’t need as much.
- Exercise for 30 minutes daily.
- Walk at least 10 to 15 minutes after meals
- Sleep well, drain out stress
Get at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep every day .Your digestive organs are replenished and restored and your hormones are balanced while you are sleeping.
Stress makes you fat and you tend to overeat and relaxation makes you thin. When you’re stressed, your cortisol level goes up. You feel hungry and your blood sugar and insulin levels rise.Find something that helps you taper down stress — yoga, meditation, deep breathing….