World Diabetes Day is observed every year on November 14. As of 2015, an estimated 7 million diabetic patients were registered in the country with the figure likely to rise this year. International Diabetic Foundation (IDF) has revealed that approximately 3.4 million people in Pakistan are unaware if they are diabetic or not.
These rising numbers can be controlled by adopting a healthy lifestyle and diabetes-friendly diet. In order to keep your sugar level in check and control your weight, you should make healthy diet choices in appropriate portion sizes. So on this World Diabetes Day, here are 10 super foods that will help you keep your blood sugar level in the safe range.
1. Leafy Greens
Fresh, green, leafy vegetables are nutritional powerhouses packed with vitamins and minerals. Green veggies such as Spinach, Kale, Romaine lettuce, Turnip green, Swiss chard, dandelion greens are filled with magnesium which adds a nutritional punch to your blood sugar once they enter your body. Now that you know their amazing benefits, respect the green dishes on your dinner table and do not make faces.
A common question that pops up when you are diagnosed with Diabetes is if you should avoid fruits. Just like vegetables, fruits too should be a part of a diabetic diet as they contain vitamins, minerals and fiber. You can have apples, kiwis, apricots, bananas, berries, pomegranates, oranges, papayas, watermelons, peaches, plums and pears in appropriate portion size. Try to eat fruits rather than drinking juices.
Filled with soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, lentils can help control your blood sugar. A diet rich in legumes – including lentils – regulates blood sugar while providing steady, slow-burning energy. A study conducted to measure the impact on blood sugar and blood pressure of diabetic patients revealed that the group that consumed lentils each day saw greater drop in blood sugar and blood pressure. It indicated that a high-legume diet may also protect diabetes patients from heart diseases.
Whole grains such as oats, wheat germ, amaranth, teff, quinoa, brown and wild rice may help stabilize your blood sugar. Oatmeal not only controls the blood sugar, it also reduces the risk of diabetes and heart diseases. Oats have garnered quite a reputation as a healthy breakfast ingredient so it’s wise to have it for breakfast. If you love white rice and white-flour pasta, try to replace them with whole grains like barley and brown rice.
Diabetes experts recommend eating two servings of fish each week to protect people with diabetes and their cardiovascular health. The fatty acids in fish reduce insulin resistance and diabetes.
Do you experience midnight hunger pangs? If yes, try the healthy way of snacking – eat some nuts! All kinds of nuts including almonds, walnuts and pecans can help you balance your blood sugar. ‘Good things come in small packages’ holds true for these tiny delicacies. Despite being little, nuts carry protein, unsaturated (healthy) fat, and fiber which are great for diabetes patients.
If you are diabetic, seeds particularly the chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, and sesame can have important benefits for your body and brain. They are loaded with nutty flavor, nutrients and minerals like magnesium, protein and iron to control your blood sugar. Try to add a spoon full of seeds to your daily diet.
8. Olive oil
Olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, is a win-win ingredient. Extra version olive oil not only helps in shedding pounds, it also delays the onset of diabetes. The oil extracted from olives protects and repairs the cardiovascular system. It can be used in cooking and making salads.
If you think only veggies, nuts, grains and fruits can help you in diabetes management, you are wrong. Cinnamon, a spice obtained from the bark also holds numerous benefits for diabetic patients. Cinnamon not only cuts cholesterol but also decreases blood sugar level to a significant level. Sprinkle a little cinnamon onto any of your favorite blood-sugar friendly recipes and reap its benefits.
Prepared with mashed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic, Hummus is a tasty yet healthy delight for people with diabetes. The appetizing Middle Eastern dip is a useful addition to your diabetes-friendly menu. It packs fiber and protein from chickpeas, healthy fats from tahini and natural benefits of olive oil to prevent fluctuating blood sugar levels. Enjoy it with vegetables and whole-grain crackers.
Remember, health is wealth! Watch out your menu, do some exercise and enjoy a healthy life with diabetes.