When you have diabetes, your food habits can have a great impact on your health. It doesn’t mean that you need to starve or eat bland foods; all you need to do is to avoid some, and eat the ones that will keep you in the best of health. Foods that are high in saturated fat, sodium, calories, or carbs, or might contain trans-fats, are the foods that must be avoided, if you have diabetes.
Once you develop a healthy eating habit, you can relax and enjoy a variety of delicious meals and snacks, that too without a worry! Picking the right foods to eat can help keep a check on your blood sugar level. So, let’s find out what should be and what shouldn’t be on the menu when planning your diabetes-diet.
What to Eat?
To start with, you must first understand how foods affect your blood sugar. Carbohydrates are the major chunk of the foods that you consume, and are broken down by your system into glucose; this majorly affects your blood sugar. Carbohydrates are found in high concentrations in grains, bread, milk, sweets, fruits and starchy vegetables. Protein and fats however do not directly affect blood sugar, but should be consumed in moderation in order to weigh down the calories and keep your weight in a healthy range.
Carbohydrates provide energy to your body which makes them an indispensable part of the diet. But when you have diabetes, you need to choose them wisely. Here’s a list of carbohydrates that are healthy for your body, and will help you keep things under control: –
- Whole grains, such as brown rice, barley, oatmeal, quinoa, millet, buckwheat
- Foods made with whole grains with no (or very little) added sugar, such as whole-wheat bread, pasta, etc.
Vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, and also are a good source of fiber. Vegetables that are considered to be super-foods for diabetes include –
- Kidney and black beans are packed with magnesium and potassium and are very high in fiber too.
- Spinach, collards, and kale are dark green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K, iron, calcium and potassium.
- Sweet potato is packed full of vitamin A, fiber, vitamin C and potassium.
- Tomatoes, pureed, raw, or in a dish, can give you vital nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E and potassium.
Fruits are rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Moreover, the best thing about fruits is that they are naturally low in fat and sodium. Binge on fresh fruit and canned fruit without added sugar or sugar-free.
When it comes to proteins, you have lots of choices, the best ones of which are –
- Plant-based proteins, such as beans, tofu, nuts and seeds
- Fish and seafood
- Chicken and other poultry (Choose the lean portions)
- Eggs and low-fat dairy
What to Avoid?
For those who have diabetes, unhealthy treats like soda or sweetened foods may increase your weight, affect your sugar level, and could cause potentially life-threatening consequences. High amounts of sodium and saturated fat can lead to thickening of arterial walls and consequently heart disease, while excess sugars, high amount of carb, and added calories can lead to unwanted weight gain and blood sugar spikes.
- Sugary foods
Soda, sweets, desserts, and other foods containing processed sugar are a complete no for a diabetic as they contain bad carbs. These foods lack in nutritional value, and also cause a sharp spike in your blood sugar and lead to weight problems, leading to affecting your condition further.
- Full-Fat dairy
Full fat dairy is rich in saturated fats and can raise your LDL cholesterol levels, thereby increasing your risk of heart disease. In fact, saturated fats can make your insulin resistance worse. So, make sure to avoid full-fat dairy products, such as cream, full-fat yogurt, ice cream, cream cheese, etc.
- Trans Fats
Trans-fats are the unhealthiest, as they are created by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fatty acids. Trans-fats are present in processed foods, peanut butter, frozen dinners, and other foods to help extend shelf life.
- White Bread, Pasta and Rice
Processed grains, such as white rice or white flour, white bread, French fries etc. are also a must-avoid as they can affect the blood sugar level.
Knowing which foods to eat and which to avoid when you have diabetes, can seem tough, but when you’ve a hold of a healthy diet, living with diabetes becomes easier. Take an oath to eat well to not let your blood sugar inhibit you.