Diabetes is a life-threatening illness and has now become one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. A recent estimate showed that the total number of diabetic patients has doubled during the last 20 years.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder caused by the high level of glucose in the blood. Insulin is the hormone that is responsible for maintaining the normal level of glucose in the blood and if there is a deficiency of insulin due to any underlying cause or if your body fails to efficiently use insulin hormone, then it may lead to metabolic disorders, particularly diabetes.
Type of Diabetes
There are three main types of diabetes:
Type 1 (Insulin-dependent) diabetes
It is a chronic, autoimmune condition in which your body attacks and kills cells that produce insulin. It is previously known as “Juvenile diabetes” because it commonly occurs in children. Patients with type 1 diabetes have to take insulin every single day.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes happens when your body can’t use insulin properly, either due to insulin resistance or due to less production of insulin. About 90% of diabetic patients have type 2 diabetes and it starts in middle-aged or older people.
Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women and usually disappears when the pregnancy ends. Gestational diabetes is not serious but it can increase the risk of developing type-2 diabetes in the future.
Here are some important risk factors that can increase your chances of developing diabetes at any stage in life:
- Obesity and overweight have now become the major cause of type-2 diabetes.
- Family history of type-1 and type-2 diabetes.
- History of gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
- Inadequate physical activity or not exercising at all.
- Age of 45 years and older.
- Being Native American, African American, Hispanic American, Asian, and Pacific Islanders could also increase your risk of developing diabetes.
- High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, history of heart disease, and stroke.
- Any injury to insulin-producing cells “Beta cells” located in pancreas e.g., tumor, surgery, infection to beta cells.
Recommended Diet & Foods For Diabetics
Diabetes is deadly if not treated early and properly. But the good news is, you can manage this deadly disease by simple lifestyle modifications and eating healthy foods. By following some important diet tips, you can protect yourself from the hazards of diabetes and live a normal healthy life. Let’s have a look at the best diet available for diabetes.
1. Diet rich in Vegetables
Vegetables are the best diet for a number of diseases including diabetes. Being stuffed with vital nutrients including fibers, nitrates, vitamins, and having a low glycemic index (GI) scale, vegetables offer the best and complete diet for optimum health. GI scale indicates the level of blood sugar increased by certain food; lower the GI, better would be the food for your blood glucose levels. Veggies are also low in calories thus they also aid in weight loss and prevent obesity which is also one of the biggest reasons behind diabetes.
Vegetables that are specifically good for diabetic patients are broccoli, spinach, carrots, lettuce, sprouts, avocados, cabbage, and okra.
2. Replace Red, Processed meat with white, lean meat
There is a direct link between processed food and early onset and worsening of diabetes as estimated by a number of clinical trials. Similarly, red meat such as pork, beef, and lamb being high in calories and saturated fats are potentially dangerous for diabetic patients. Besides diabetes, meat containing saturated and trans-fat are extremely bad for your heart too.
On the other hand, white meat including chicken, turkey, fish, and other seafood, is an excellent source of protein and is also low in fats. Therefore, it is recommended to replace red meat with white meat to get better control over your diabetes.
3. Whole-grains food
Whole-grains food such as oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat bread, etc., is rich in fiber, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients and has a low GI value. Besides, whole grains take longer for complete digestion making them favorable for weight loss and the best diet for diabetics.
You should also consider substituting refined food including white bread, cereals, rice, and potatoes, with whole grains as refined products have faster digestion rates and can be easily converted into glucose leading to an immediate rise in blood glucose level.
4. Eat more diabetes-friendly food
Black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans are rich in complex carbohydrates with a lower value of GI and take time for their complete digestion. Thus eating a diet with large portions of beans can help in the normal regulation of blood
Similarly, fatty fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids that is not only diabetic friendly but is also extremely beneficial for heart and brain health. For example, salmon, herring, tuna, and mackerel are certain fishes that are a rich source of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and are good for diabetic patients.
5. Best Fruits for Diabetes
No doubt, fruits serve as the best way to maintain your health as they fulfill your major nutritional demands. But you must be aware of the fact that there are certain fruits that have high GI value and are stuffed with too much natural sugar making them a bad choice for diabetes.
Take the example of watermelons, dates, pineapples, and ripe bananas; these fruits have a GI value between 70 and 100, thus, they are not recommended for diabetic patients or eat these fruits within limits. While cherries, grapefruit, other citrus fruits, peaches, berries, kiwi, and all others with low GI value are considered as a super-food for diabetes.
As you know, prevention is better than cure, so you should try to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes at first by adopting healthy eating habits and exercising regularly. Unfortunately, if you have already become a victim of diabetes, then there is no need to worry at all. Diabetes has now become very common, with every 1 person out of 10 suffering from it.
But the good news is, now diabetics are able to lead a completely normal and healthy life by following a simple lifestyle modification and eating a healthy and balanced diet.
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