In a diabetic person, either sufficient insulin does not get produced in the body, or the body cannot use insulin properly. This affects glucose metabolism, resulting in its accumulation and high blood glucose levels. Diabetes can result in various symptoms and affect your heart, eyes, kidneys, and blood vessels.
Along with your anti-diabetic medicines or Insulin shots, a healthy diet plays a crucial role in maintaining your blood sugar levels. In general, foods that get absorbed slowly by the body are suitable for diabetes, as they do not result in sudden spikes or dips in blood sugar levels. How quickly our body digests and absorbs food, increasing the blood glucose levels, is measured by the glycemic index (GI). Processed carbohydrates and sugar have a high GI and should be avoided. The following foods are not only tasty but also help control blood sugar levels.
1) Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt gets strained to remove extra liquid, which makes it creamier and thicker. Straining also makes this yogurt twice as rich in protein, and it contains fewer carbohydrates than normal yogurt, which helps control hunger and blood sugar levels. This makes Greek yogurt one of the best choices for diabetic people. You can enjoy it as a smoothie with some berries and seeds or just as a substitute for regular yogurt.
2) Whole Wheat Bread
Bread made with refined flour or white bread are high in carbohydrates and rapidly raise blood glucose levels. Instead, eat bread made entirely of whole wheat or rye, as they have low GI scores. Refined flour loses a lot of fiber during the refining process, but whole wheat and rye do not get processed that much. This high fiber content slows digestion and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
3) Nuts and Seeds
With a GI score of 55 or less, nuts and seeds are excellent snacks for people with diabetes. They are rich in dietary fiber and contain protein, unsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, flavonoids, magnesium, and potassium. It is best to eat whole and unprocessed nuts as much as possible. Nuts with a low GI include peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds.
Some studies have shown garlic to reduce blood sugar levels and its complications. Garlic is rich in vitamin B6 (helps in the metabolism of carbohydrates) and vitamin C (helps maintain blood sugar levels). Garlic also improves insulin sensitivity and secretion. A 2013 study showed that people who took garlic and Metformin showed more reduction in sugar levels than those who only took Metformin.
5) Berries and Citrus Fruits
Berries and citrus fruits are the best way to satisfy sweet cravings. Instead of eating something high on refined sugar and elevating your sugar levels, make a nice bowl of mixed berries. Berries and citrus fruits are low on the glycemic index and rich in other vitamins and minerals. Citrus fruits also have anti-diabetic effects. You can also add avocados to your diet, as they contain healthy fats and fiber, which retard the rate of carbohydrate absorption, thus preventing blood sugar spikes.
6) Sweet Potato and Leafy Vegetables
Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes have a low GI score and are extremely nutritious. Sweet potatoes (with the skin) are high in fiber, making them ideal for diabetic patients. Instead of mashed or fried potatoes, use sweet potatoes or yams. Also include green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, cabbage, bok choy, kale, and broccoli, as they are rich in essential minerals, vitamins, and nutrients.
Fish, especially fatty fish, are excellent for people with diabetes. They are a great source of lean proteins and are omega-3 fatty acids. This combination prevents heart diseases and strokes in diabetic patients, which are fatal complications. Eat tuna, salmon, mackerel, and herring at least twice a week.