Diabetes is a serious health condition, one of the top most health hazards in today’s modern world. What exactly is diabetes?? It is a disorder of carbohydrates metabolism, characterized by high blood sugars in the blood and the urine. Diabetes is a metabolic disease; a disease that disrupts the normal working of the body, hence it throws the body off shore. Insulin, a hormone is secreted by the beta cells of the pancreas help in the necessary release of energy from glucose, which is a simple sugar obtained from the carbohydrate sources. Any absolute or relative lack of insulin can affect the correct working of the carbohydrate sources and disturbs the body’s balance, thus, causing diabetes. This disease further can create more complications such as weight gain, nausea, migraines, lack of energy, and even to severe problems like a cataract in the eye, kidney failure, heart failure on a fatal note, if drastic measures are not taken to control it.
Type 2 diabetes affects more people today, unlike the form of diabetes that is genetic, known as as type1. It is caused by a person’s poor diet control, unhealthy choices of food, and a lack of physical activity.
As scary as it may appear to be, if the right measures are taken, it can be kept well under control and reasonably managed with proper care, avoiding further complications.
A few ways to keep your diabetes in control:-
- Avoid A Sedentary Lifestyle – Other than the pancreas, muscle tissue also secrets minute amounts of insulin for it’s own use. For this reason, a moderate amount of muscular exercise is always beneficial. Physical inactivity is a leading lifestyle disorder and needs to be corrected in order to avoid various other diseases, and not just diabetes. Sitting down for most of the day not only impairs the blood vessels, constricting them, but also slows down the metabolism of the body by changing the way body processes insulin. A small change in your daily activities can make a big difference. Exercising 4-5 times a week even for 30 minutes will not only help in maintaining steady insulin levels, it also gives you your “me” time, helping you ward off the stress in today’s competitive fast paced world.
- Cut Down On Quick Sugars – Quick sugar or table sugar release glucose in the blood stream at a very fast pace, thereby forcing the pancreas to work harder to process insulin and keep up with this rush of sugars. Over time, this leads to a deficiency of insulin. It is advisable to not eat candies, sweets, chocolates, biscuits, cakes, and aerated drinks as a norm. But many a times, the so-called low sugar or no carb foods mislead us, and cause a sugar spike. To name a few hidden sugars alike are dextrose, malt, HFCS – high fructose corn syrup – ethyl maltol, sucralose, dextrin, sorghum sugar, beet sugar, etc. Give up on aerated drinks and give up on fruit juices, as they will also spike the insulin since their fiber is depleted. Have plain water as much as possible.
- Eat More Vegetables – Chock-full of minerals, vitamins, and fiber, vegetables make you fill fuller for longer periods. They’re low in calories so they prevent excess fat storage, and the fiber in the vegetables aids in providing bulk, which facilitates proper elimination. Fiber delays the gastric emptying, thereby breaking the short chain fatty acids and helping against excess fat storage. Vegetables also contain phytochemicals that balance your body and insulin levels. Try and consume at least 400-500 grams of vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, onions, lady’s finger, and green leafy vegetables. Limit your intake of starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam that are high in the sugar content. Be mindful of cooking these vegetables in moderate amount of oil, and not fried in oil. Try to have them as fresh as possible to obtain the best nutrition.
- Eat At Regular Intervals – To prevent your body from starving and then feeling the need to binge on too much of sugar and fat, one needs to keep the insulin at a reasonable spike. Divide your daily intake of foods into four main meals and 4-5 mini meals. Having small quantities of food will ensure you are not starved and the insulin is produced in adequate amounts. It will also keep you from overeating.
- Do Not Have Refined Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates are the soul source of quick energy for the body. All carbohydrates release glucose, which is the fuel for the body’s various functions. But the latest trend is completely eliminating carbohydrates from a diabetic person’s diet – this is only a call for more problems. Your brain, the C.E.O of the body, which regulates all the other functions of the body, works well only under the influence of adequate glucose that it gets at regular intervals from the liver. Make smart choices, avoid refined carbs i.e. grains that are processed and have their fibers exhausted. Maida, Kolam rice, pancakes, pastries, and breads made out of white flour, crackers, sorghum are all refined carbs. Choose whole grains like whole wheat, millets like jowar, bajra, ragi, quinoa, oatmeal etc.
- Do Not Skip Breakfast – After a fasting period of several hours, when one wakes up is when he realizes that he is hungry and in need of energy that is food. But the body needs energy all throughout. During the night, when one is sleeping, there are a lot of processes which keep happening and the body needs energy to perform them well. Hence, the body derives energy from your muscle, which has minute amounts of glucose stored in the protein. It’s very important to refill these fuels within the first hour of waking up. This ensures steady insulin levels throughout the day. Start your day with a fair combination of carbs and protein. Indian cuisine promises these combinations in a balanced manner. Poha with veggies and a cup of milk, Idli sambhar, a veg paratha with curds, a veg sandwich with a cup of milk, daliya with milk are some healthy breakfast options.
- Include More Protein – Unfortunately our Indian diets are centered around carbohydrates. Proteins take 30% more time to get digested, absorbed and assimilated; hence they create steady insulin levels and give the feeling of fullness for a longer time. Include at least three portions of proteins through dals/pulses, nuts, seeds, egg white, low fat paneer, lean chicken, fish.
- Last and yet not the least important – Avoid Excess Alcohol! Alcohol is nothing but quick sugars with only calories and no nutrition. If you do drink, switch to red wine, which has an advantage of being rich in antioxidants. Limit this to not more than two glasses a week.
It can be easy to lose control at times. To err is human but to err on the side of caution is wise. There will be moments when some foods will be very tempting, but your health won’t be. You need to remember and keep re-enforcing your goal when faced with temptations. Food comes and goes, but your health is up to you and it starts with your very next food choice!!
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