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The right foods that help you beat diabetes


fruits and Veggies - Christine und David ScmittA balanced diet helps tackle diabetes. Source: Christine und David Scmitt/Flickr

Diabetes is the body’s inability to process glucose (blood sugar) on account of inadequate insulin production needed to process and digest sugar. Type 1 diabetes is when the body does not produce any insulin at all and is quite rare. Almost all of those afflicted with diabetes complain of inadequate insulin production, which subsequently affects the normal functioning of the body. Here are a few dos and don’ts to bear in mind if you’re suffering from diabetes:

Oats - Richy!, FlickrOats make for a good breakfast option. Source: Richy!/Flickr

Include oats in your breakfast. Oats are high in fibre and low in sugar, which ultimately helps maintain a more constant level of sugar in the body over a prolonged period.

Leaner cuts of meat are ideal, as the fat content is low and will help keep your blood cholesterol level balanced. Processed meats like sausages, ham, bacon and other deli meats are a strict no-no.

Complex carbohydrates,in general, take longer to digest, and release sugars slowly, keeping insulin level in check. Switch to a diet rich in complex carbs. Cut out processed flour and switch it with healthier options like whole wheat, ragi and jowar.

Aim to include approximately 25g fibre per day through fruits, grains and vegetables.

Blood sugar levels may also dip from time to time and can cause hypoglycemia, dizziness or fainting spells. Carry a light, healthy snack at all times, especially when travelling.

basil - Overduebook, FlickrBasil can help curb tissue damage caused by high sugar level in blood. Source: Overduebook/Flickr

Studies suggest that spices found in Mediterranean diets like basil, cumin, oregano, parsley can go a long way in lowering blood sugar and boosting insulin production. Rich in anti-oxidants, these spices help prevent tissue damage that occurs due to high blood sugar. Besides, these can also help cut down on sodium – a prime contributor to high blood pressure, common in most diabetes patients.

Kidney beans are an excellent source of protein and have a low saturated fat content. Rich in magnesium and potassium, they have high fibre content and should be a part of your regular diet.

grilled sardine - umami, FlickrSwitch to omega-3 rich fishes, but make sure to have them grilled. Source: umami/Flickr

Omega-3 rich fish like mackerel, tuna, sardine, should be consumed on a routine basis. The fatty acid helps fight heart diseases while the high protein content helps maintain energy levels. Stick to grilled, baked or broiled preparations.

Soft drinks - La Vina Liverpool, FlickrAll kinds of soft-drinks are a huge no-no for diabetics. Source: La Vina Liverpool/Flickr

Stay away from soft-drinks, as these are loaded with sugar, additives and flavourings. Diet versions of these drinks are no better, as they contain artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes that actually do more harm than good.

It is also not advisable to have fruit juices – whether store-bought or freshly made – because the high sugar concentration can spike blood sugar levels. Choose to have a whole fruit instead. It comes with the added advantage of being more filling than a glass of juice.