By Dr. Salma Siddiqui, General Physician
Diabetes is a disease resulting in increased glucose content in the blood stream. It is a metabolic disorder that leads to various symptoms such as frequent urination, thirst and increased hunger. It is either caused by reduced sensitivity of the body to insulin or reduced production of insulin by the pancreas making it difficult for the liver and the muscles to absorb glucose efficiently, thereby increasing the sugar content in the blood. Diabetes is often genetic; some suggestions for living healthy with diabetes include:
- Diet: The food you consume plays a key role in the regulation of blood sugar level. One can carefully monitor his/her diet to decrease the sugar levels in blood. The various foods that you should be eating if you have been diagnosed with diabetes are:
- Fish: Fish are essential sources of protein which promote satiety and make you feel fuller. The protein helps in reducing glucose in the blood. They are relatively high in Omega 3 fatty acids which are necessarily healthy and reduce inflammation, thereby reducing heart problems and other cardiovascular diseases.
- Berries: Berries are rich in fibre that helps you in managing your blood sugar levels. They also contain ‘anthocyanins’ that assist in regulating your blood sugar levels.
- Olive oil: Being rich in antioxidants, olive oil is instrumental in reducing chances of diabetes and heart disease.
- Cooked, raw or roasted vegetables: Low carbohydrate vegetables like onions, Brussel sprouts, mushrooms, tomatoes etc. along with dips such as hummus, salsa or different seasonings such as garlic, rosemary pepper.
- Low Calorie drinks
- The various foods you should avoid are:
- White rice: The properties in white rice tend to increase blood sugar levels. It is healthier to opt for brown rice.
- Bananas: Bananas are rich in complex carbohydrates. An increased intake of carbohydrates increases the chances of diabetes. Bananas increase blood sugar levels by increasing the glucose content. While bananas are recommended for people suffering from hypoglycemia (low levels of blood sugar), diabetic people should most definitely avoid it.
- Food rich in sugar: This category contains chocolates, cookies, pastries, cake, etc. These are rich in complex carbohydrates which increase chances of diabetes.
- Dried fruit: Dried fruits are made through the process of dehydration that increases the sugar content in them. Therefore, they must be replaced by fresh fruits which classify as a healthier option.
- Exercise: Exercise helps reduce glucose levels of the blood. Insulin is needed for the absorption of glucose and the inability to produce insulin results in type-2 diabetes. Muscles are capable of glucose absorption without insulin during exercise, thereby resulting in a reduction in glucose levels.
- Medicine: Certain medications are administered by doctors. Examples include sulfonylureas, metformin, thiazolidinedione, etc.