food for diabetes

Food for Diabetes Patients: What to Eat to Stay Fit

A diet that includes food for diabetes patients is different from regular diets that others can try. Diabetes is a serious health disorder and a person affected by it needs to have healthy food habits. Diabetes patients have high blood sugar levels, and they need to avoid food that aggravates blood sugar imbalance. The right kind of food can avoid complications and make the life-long condition easy to bear with.

You get diabetes when the glucose or sugar level in your bloodstream steeps high. The level of blood glucose determines the amount of energy that your body needs to perform work. Glucose is the real source behind your energy bars, which comes from the variety of foods you eat all day. Therefore, it is important to go for a proper glucose cutting diet with the right sort of food for diabetes.

A diet specially made for diabetic patients is simply a combination of healthy foods, with controlled amounts of glucose. You need to remember one very important thinking before sorting the food for diabetes. Never cut down glucose-containing foods from your diet completely. All you have to do is control the level of glucose intake, rather than scrapping it out fully from your regular diet.

Why you need glucose?

Glucose is your main energy source. If you completely erase out glucose from your diet, your body will suffer from serious energy deficits.  Even if you are diabetic, you need to consume glucose in limited amounts to keep your body cells functioning optimally. Choose apt food for diabetes with lower glucose content, yet enough for keeping you full of energy.

Apart from taking the correct food for diabetes, you need to be careful about your meal timings as well. Proper intervals of meal ensure a biological control over glucose level in your blood. If your daily meal timings do not follow a fixed cycle, the chances of glucose fluctuations in the blood increase. The game of diabetes entirely depends on your glucose metabolism. In other words, diabetes regulation is all about how much your body utilizes glucose and the amount that it stores.

How is pancreas functioning related to diabetes?

Understanding diabetes in a detailed manner can significantly increase your knowledge of the logical ways to control it effectively. What kind of food for diabetes is best suited? How to control diabetes? Why does it occur in the first place? Get all your answers by reading the article, and enlighten yourself more on the disorder and its control.

The pancreas is an endocrine as well as an exocrine gland present right below your abdomen, lining your liver. Why is the pancreas both an exocrine and an endocrine gland? As an exocrine gland, the pancreas aids in the effective absorption and digestion of foods that you consume. Being an endocrine gland, the pancreas helps in the regulation of glucose levels in blood. You are to focus on the endocrine functionality of the pancreas in this article, to relate better with the cause of diabetes.

The pancreas has a set of cells called the Islets of Langerhans- alpha cells, beta cells, and delta cells. All the cells have specific functions to carry out, mostly secreting three different hormones- glucagon, insulin, and somatostatin.

  • Alpha cells trigger the secretion of glucagon, which escalates the glucose levels in the bloodstream. Glucagon stimulates the liver for the conversion of stored glycogen to glucose and release in your blood.
  • Beta cells trigger the secretion of insulin, which brings down your blood glucose level by performing the opposite function of glucagon. Insulin aids in converting glucose present in the blood into glycogen and stores back in muscles, liver, and fat (adipose) tissues.
  • Delta cells stimulate the release of somatostatin hormone, which inhibits the secretions of insulin and glucagon. Somatostatin also has active functionality in regulating cell proliferation and neurotransmission.
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food for diabetes

How does diabetes happen?

Diabetes is the result of disrupted insulin functioning in your body. Under normal conditions, insulin helps in storing excess glucose coming from your foods within cells for effective energy utilization.

During any biological malfunction, your body fails to produce adequate amounts of insulin or any insulin at all. There can even be conditions where your body cells cannot utilize insulin properly for regular functioning or energy storage. When insulin functionality faces such interference, the blood glucose level automatically takes an abnormal hike.

All the above factors eventually lead to insulin disrupted health disorder called diabetes. Having a high level of glucose in the blood can give rise to numerous life-threatening complications, mostly renal and cardiovascular disorders.

There is no specific cure for diabetes, but there are definite ways to control it and ensure well-being. You might often come across terms like ‘borderline diabetes’ or ‘a sugar touch’. When a doctor calls for these terms, it means you do not have diabetes but you are very close to it.

Borderline diabetes does not call for any strict food for diabetes or special treatments. You simply need to manage your daily diet a little to keep away from a more serious form of diabetes.

How many kinds of diabetes are there?

There are mostly three distinct categories of diabetes- Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, and Gestational diabetes.

1.  Juvenile or Type 1 diabetes:

It is a chronic condition where the pancreas fails to secrete enough quantities of insulin, or even no insulin altogether. Juvenile diabetes is another term for type 1 diabetes because of its proneness in individuals, who have just reached adolescence.

The major reason for type 1 diabetes is immunological dysfunction. When your normal immune system destroys beta cells of the pancreas from producing insulin, you get type 1 diabetes. If you have juvenile diabetes, you should regularly take insulin shots to stay alive.

2.  Type 2 diabetes or Diabetes mellitus:

You will mostly see individuals in the adult stage with type 2 diabetes, although it can happen at any age. Diabetes mellitus is also a chronic disorder where your body fails to process sugar in the blood in the right way. Although both type 1 and type 2 diabetes result in elevated blood glucose levels, there is a major difference between the two.

Juvenile diabetes is a condition where the beta cells are non-functional because of immunological damage, producing almost no insulin. In diabetes mellitus, your beta cells are functional and can produce insulin. However, the amount of insulin is either insufficient or fails to work effectively within your body. There is an unusual resistance from your body cells towards insulin in case of type 2 diabetes, causing glucose hike.

3.  Gestational diabetes:

It is a special case of diabetes, attacking your body cells during pregnancy. You will experience an abnormal rise in your blood sugar level if you have diabetes during pregnancy. Now you can understand why the term ‘gestational’ goes with this form of diabetes. Gestation refers to the period of your pregnant phase.

Usually, gestational diabetes do not continue after you have given birth. However, if you have come across gestational diabetes once, the probability of getting diabetes mellitus also increases.

Other rare forms of diabetes also exist, such as diabetes-related to cystic fibrosis and monogenic diabetes.

What are the possible health threats?

When your glucose level in your blood goes up abnormally, it can lead to serious health complications like-

  • Cardiovascular disorders such as strokes, cardiac arrests, elevated blood pressure and other severe heart diseases
  • Kidney related problems
  • Serious damage to nerves
  • Eye disorders
  • Dental problems
  • Foot diseases

Why is healthy eating important?

To follow a healthy diet for diabetic individuals is a must goal to keep away from complicated health risks. If your doctor finds you to be pre-diabetic or diabetic, you are most likely to see a dietician. You need to restrict your food for diabetes, by going for items that offer a lower percentage of glucose.

A healthy diet plan is extremely crucial to keep your blood sugar level under check. When you consume excess carbohydrates and calories, your body faces an undesirable hike in the blood glucose content.

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If you fail to monitor and manage blood sugar levels, it can result in problems like hyperglycemia. Other long-term risks may include heart and renal dysfunction. Hyperglycemia is a state of your body where the percentage of glucose in your bloodstream takes an odd steep.

What kind of diet can manage diabetes? Which food for diabetes can keep your blood glucose level under a controlled meter? A healthy diet for diabetes should include a three-course meal, with regular intervals. By properly regulating your meal cycle with fixed periodic intervals, you can manage insulin utilization in a better way.

An authorized dietician can appropriately plan food for diabetes, depending on your fitness goals, eating habits, and overall lifestyle. You can talk with your dietician on ways to improve food habits, such as your meal size and regular activity.

Recommended food for diabetes mostly includes a high portion of healthy vegetables offering low calories and carbs. Choose foods with more fiber content and a higher percentage of unsaturated fatty acids.

Diabetic food chart

Here are things you should add to your diet regularly to maintain diabetes:

Leafy vegetables

What can serve as a better option to manage diabetes than healthy green leafy veggies? Green vegetables offer enormous amounts of nutrients, digestible fiber, minerals, proteins, and many vitamins. All the ingredients in leafy vegetables help in minimizing your sugar level and keep you healthy.

Eating leafy greens can keep your diabetes under control because of their high antioxidant properties. Some of the leafy veggies include cabbage, spinach, kale, bok choy, broccoli, and collard greens.

Whole grains

To get high content of fiber and nutrients, whole grains are an excellent choice of food for diabetes. Whole grains offer lesser GI or glycemic index than rice and white bread. An adequate amount of fiber in whole grains paces down your digestion, thereby lowering the food absorption rate. Such a mechanism can easily keep your insulin levels stable.

Options of whole-grain foods include millet, bulgur, quinoa, wheat bread, rye, brown rice, buckwheat, and whole-grain pasta.

Fatty fish

Seafood like fishes with high fatty acids content is excellent options to control diabetes. Omega-3 fatty acids present in fishes can effectively contribute to improved cardiovascular functioning and reduced LDL levels. Fatty acid-containing fishes include-

  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Trout
  • Salmon
  • Sardines

food for diabetes

How can nuts and yogurt control diabetes?

Do you love eating nuts? If so, then it is a boon for you in controlling diabetic conditions. Nuts are full of nutrients and extremely delicious in taste. Moreover, the amount of dietary fibers in nuts is very high, with an exceptionally low percentage of digestible carbohydrates. For every 28 gm or 1 oz of nuts in a serving, you will get the following quantity of carbs:

  • Pecans- digestible carbs of 1.2 grams
  • Brazil nuts- digestible carbs of 1.4 grams
  • Macadamia nuts- digestible carbs of 1.5 grams
  • Walnuts and hazelnuts- digestible carbs of 2 grams
  • Almonds- digestible carbs of 2.6 grams
  • Pistachios- digestible carbs of 5 grams
  • Cashews- digestible carbs of 7.7 grams

You can reduce risks of inflammation and a high level of blood sugar by regularly consuming nuts. Other benefits of nuts include keeping your cholesterol and HbA1c levels under check. Nuts promote high HDL or good cholesterol levels, thereby decreasing LDL or bad cholesterol levels.

If you have type 2 diabetes mellitus, you are most likely to develop additional problems like obesity. Further, there are studies that reveal consuming 30 gm of walnuts daily can contribute to significant weight loss and diabetes control.

Greek yogurt offers very low digestible carb, but immense proteins and probiotics. Choosing Greek yogurt as food for diabetes is a wonderful decision because of its control over the blood sugar level. Greek yogurt can effectively manage diabetes, thereby reducing possible threats of heart attacks and other cardiac disorders.

Greek yogurt is a rich source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and calcium. The amount of carbs that Greek yogurt offers in one serving is around 8 grams, much lesser than normal yogurt. Thus, you can easily keep your body weight and diabetes under control with Greek yogurt, offering fewer calories and more nutrition.