Diabetes is an irreversible medical condition that elevates the glucose levels in the blood. This happens when a person’s pancreas doesn’t produce enough amounts of insulin or the insulin produced doesn’t function properly.
Unfortunately, diabetes is one of the key problems for many people around the world- and almost 95 percent have Type 2 Diabetes. Every year November 14 is observed as World Diabetes Day. In the year 1991, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) initiated this global awareness campaign due to the rise in the threat posed by diabetes. This day is marked to spread awareness on how one can prevent or control the disease with a better lifestyle and diet.
With many people shifting towards urbanization, they are living a life that runs on clocks and deadlines. The fast-paced lifestyle has caused eating habits to tilt towards processed and junk food, minimum or no physical activity, and environmental pollution. Also, late working hours have resulted in stress, anxiety, and depression which acts as a base for diabetes.
It is important to manage diabetes because it directly relates to heart diseases. Here are a few reasons –
- Diabetes increases the risk of heart diseases by 2-4 times
- Diabetic patients are at risk of developing heart disease at an early age as compared to non-diabetics
- Age, gender, family history of heart disease, unhealthy eating habits, no physical activity, alcohol, tobacco, hypertension, mental stress, etc. are crucial health factors that predict the occurrence of heart disease
Healthy eating is the keystone of healthy living – be it with or without diabetes. It is not just about the type of foods you eat but also how much you eat and the food combinations you choose. Backed by science, several studies, nutritionists, and health experts, diabetes can be controlled naturally with certain tweaks in one’s diet and lifestyle habits.
Here are a few diabetic-friendly foods that may help in managing the blood sugar levels-
- Spinach- Spinach is a starchy vegetable rich in fibre, calcium, folate, and iron. It has a low Glycemic index making it super useful to control type-1 and type-2 diabetes
- Beetroot- Beetroot is highly beneficial for people with type-2 diabetes as it is a rich source of fibre and minerals like iron, manganese, and potassium. You can include it in the salads, juices, hummus, soups, etc.
- Sweet Potato- Sweet potato has a low glycemic index and a decent amount of fibre that helps in regulating the blood sugar levels as compared to regular potatoes
- Tomato- Tomato has low calories and carbohydrates and is also rich in lycopene; which is good for the heart, keeps blood sugar levels in check and reduces the risk of heart complications. All these qualities make it a superfood for diabetics. Consumption of tomatoes in the form of soup, inclusion in salads, chutney, as a gravy, etc is highly beneficial
- Orange- All the citrus fruits including oranges are considered superfoods because they are packed with a good dose of potassium, fibre and vitamin C. You can include oranges across dishes like fresh juices, salads, etc.
- Rajma– A powerhouse of nutrients, Rajma is filled with vitamins, fibre and minerals. It is super healthy, wholesome and is a great addition to the diet for a delicious meal. Plus, they are great in keeping the sugar in check
- Ragi- Often recommended by nutritionists and health experts as a substitute to rice and wheat for managing blood sugar levels. Ragi is a great source of iron, vitamin B, essential amino acids, calcium, etc.
- Yogurt- If you can’t live without buttermilk/ chaas or lassi, you have got another reason to have more of them! Consumption of a good amount of yogurt reduces the risk of type-1 and type-2 diabetes
With the right kind of diet changes, it is necessary to also take care of other related aspects that contribute to managing diabetes. Below mentioned are a few exercise tips for better diabetes management
Plan your meal as much as possible and include a good mix of veggies, fruits, proteins, fats, and starches. Ensure to use measuring cups or a scale for an accurate carbohydrate count. This shall help you in enjoying your meals and keeping your taste buds happy and at the same time managing your diabetes
Physical activity is crucial for your diabetes management plan as your muscles need sugar for energy. Walking for an hour, cycling, aerobics, muscle strengthening exercises, yoga, etc. can improve your blood sugar
Jot down all the important information like blood sugar levels, food proportion counts, and medication. Align your goals so that you can be on track
It is indeed difficult to cut down on sugar in the initial phase hence making small swaps will be an ideal start to it. Avoid adding sugar in juices, teas, etc. and instead opt for natural sweeteners like honey.
Listening to music, dancing, playing a musical instrument, taking a walk by yourself, playing with your pets, reading, socializing, volunteering, and sharing a laugh with friends. Identify the things that bring you happiness and do more of it!
Dharana’s food philosophy is designed in a way that suits today’s lifestyle and health-conscious mindset. Dharana’s cuisine is an amalgamation of all the elements achieved by modern food research. It is deeply rooted in age-old Ayurvedic traditions that are curated to highlight organic ingredients & healthy eating.
Dharana combines the use of an integrative, modern approach for a holistic and healthy lifestyle.