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Healthy Diet – An Antidote for Diabetes
Diabetes is a very common lifestyle disorder that has almost assumed epidemic proportions now. India now has the dubious distinction of being called the Diabetes Capital of the world and the frightening diabetes population according to the WHO could grow by 200% in the next 15 years.
In this short article, we will discuss:
a. What’s that? What are the common symptoms?
b. What are the causes
c. what are some related conditions.
d. How a proper diet can address the root cause
e. Diet myths associated with diabetes and real facts
f. Some special foods for diabetics
g. Summary of key points
1. So, What is Diabetes? And what are the common symptoms?
Diabetes refers to excessive levels of sugar in the bloodstream. You must have heard the name insulin is almost synonymous with diabetes. So, what is the connection between the two?
An organ called ‘Pancreas’ secretes the hormone ‘Insulin’ which helps in breaking down the glucose or sugar in our food and brings it to the cells where it is used as fuel for our body’s energy needs and processes.
In diabetics, insufficient insulin is secreted or the cells do not respond normally to insulin (also called insulin resistance). So? The level of glucose in the blood increases because it cannot be transported normally to the cells, liver and muscles. So, what can be done?
1. Your eyesight may be affected in the long term especially at night. There is an increased risk of Glaucoma and even blindness.
2. Your feet are prone to infections and sores. It may even require amputation in extreme cases.
3. Diabetes is called the ‘Silent Killer’ because it affects the ability to control cholesterol and blood pressure leading to heart attacks.
4. Damaged nerves cause pain and tingling or loss of sensation.
5. Kidney damage and even failure is common if blood glucose levels remain high.
Afraid? Calm down! it sounds scary but can be easily managed through a few small diet and lifestyle changes. What’s worse is that there is no permanent cure. It can only be managed through diet changes, exercise and insulin injections.
Among the common symptoms of diabetes are-
· Excessive thirst and urination
· Blurred vision
2. What are the symptoms of this disease?
There are 3 known types of diabetes.
First there is Type I diabetes. Although it can occur at any age, most teenagers, children and young adults are diagnosed with it. In this case, the body produces very little insulin and the entire life of this individual depends on insulin injections. The exact cause is unknown but some researchers have called it hereditary or the result of gestational diabetes in the mother.
The second and most common type is Type 2 diabetes which usually occurs in adulthood but now teenagers are also diagnosed with it due to the high rate of obesity. Obesity, stress, lack of rest and a sedentary lifestyle without exercise have been blamed as the main causes.
Third, there is gestational diabetes that occurs during pregnancy even though the woman had no signs of diabetes before.
3. What are the Relevant conditions?
As we mentioned earlier due to the reduced ability to control cholesterol and blood pressure, Hypertension (High BP) is one of the most common and disabling conditions.
Diabetic feet and glaucoma have also become a cause of concern especially among the elderly.
4. How can a proper diet help?
Most people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Hence weight loss and 30 minutes of moderate exercise definitely helps in controlling the disease. In fact, losing just about 5kg can dramatically reduce the severity of the disorder. Since the body of a diabetic already lacks insulin, the problem becomes worse with excess weight. Also, in the case of overweight people, fat will be stored around the pancreatic cells that are responsible for producing insulin in the body. According to some researchers, this fat damages pancreatic cells, thereby reducing insulin production.
Diabetes nutrition is based on three principles –
a. Consume fewer calories and be healthier
b. Consume an even amount of carbohydrates (And replace simple carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates)
c. Reduces overall fat content while increasing healthy mono-saturated fats.
This keeps blood glucose levels under control and improves insulin sensitivity. Meal planning with a certified nutritionist and physician is essential to formulating a diet that keeps your blood sugar levels close to normal. Regular testing of blood sugar levels will tell you how different foods affect blood glucose levels.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all diabetes diet, nor can a pre-planned diet be sacred to you for life. Nutrition should always be monitored according to the body’s response.
· Follow the golden rule of eating small meals often and plenty of water.
· Carbohydrates in the form of whole grains like oats, dalia, atta bread, wheat flour should be taken, as they are a good source of fiber. The role of fiber in the diet of diabetic patients is to stabilize sugar, control appetite and lower cholesterol.
Oils such as olive oil, linseed oil (alsi), so etc should be used in cooking. This oil is a rich source of omega-3 fats that help in increasing good cholesterol.
· Sugar should be replaced with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, stevia etc
· Lean meat such as fish and chicken can be taken. Egg yolks should be excluded. Avoid red meat completely.
· Milk and skim milk products should be used as they reduce calories and unwanted fat.
· Foods that should be avoided are mainly refined grains such as suji, maida, rice and related products.
· Fruits such as banana, cheeku, lychee, mango, grape and custard apple should be avoided completely.
· Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams and lotus stems should also be avoided.
· Pickles, murabba, fruit juices (both packaged and fresh), packed soups and thick soups with corn starch should be excluded from the diabetic diet.
· Diabetics have a higher risk of developing heart problems. Therefore saturated fats such as ghee, butter, cream etc. should be limited.
In ayurvedic meethi, jamun, amla and karela seeds are used to cure diabetes as they help lower sugar levels.
5. Some common myths associated with diabetes are –
a. Sugar is poison for diabetics especially children.
FACT: Although excess sugar is indeed dangerous, diabetics do not need to give up sugar completely but are advised to control their intake.
For children with diabetes for example completely prohibiting the consumption of cakes, sweets and sweets is to rob their children of simple pleasures. But then to control this disorder should be done in moderation and while partying, other food items (for example rice, pasta, noodles etc) should be controlled (eaten in reduced quantities) to balance glucose and calorie levels.
b. Say goodbye to tasty fatty or fried foods if you have diabetes.
FACTS As said before complete deprivation is not necessary. Occasional relaxation is fine as long as it is balanced and only once in a while. Even a healthy individual who eats daily on fried and fattening foods will soon develop some or the other disease.
c. Drinking bitter gourd juice means you can have a meal at another time
Fact: Due to its hypoglycemic properties, karela juice is good (but not very tasty) for diabetics but don’t overcompensate by having breakfast puris or ghee ‘parantha’ afterwards.
6. Special food for diabetics:
While fat-free ice cream, sugar-free pastries and sweets have become popular primarily to meet the needs of a growing and affluent diabetic population, don’t be fooled by all the tall claims. Fat-free ice cream is still rich in simple carbohydrates. Mithai without sugar is still loaded with ghee and saturated fat. So, please don’t consume them under the illusion that they probably can’t harm you.
Ayurveda recommends black currant, amla, karela, methi seeds and also to control diabetes.
Diabetes develops slowly and will not kill you in a day. A little discipline and lifestyle changes will help you to live a healthy and happy life without stress.
We have discussed in this presentation the different types of diabetes and their causes, the conditions and symptoms of diabetes, how a healthy diet helps control the disorder of several doses and can not be diabetic and hopefully also dispel some myths associated with this disorder while emphasizing that diabetes is not a bell death to all that is delicious and good in life and not everything that is sold to diabetics is really good for them. Diet Solutions wishes you a happy and healthy life.
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