Diet tips to lower blood sugar

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Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disorder that affects no one, be it a child, an adult or an elderly person. It is a condition characterized by an elevation in the concentration of glucose in the blood. This is due to a failure in the formation of insulin or the body does not use insulin.

There are three types of diabetes mellitus:

Prediabetes– Prediabetes is a serious health condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes – Type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic disease. In this condition, the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that the body uses to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy.

Type II diabetes – Type 2 diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes is an alteration in the way the body regulates and uses sugar (glucose) as fuel. This long-term (chronic) condition causes too much sugar circulating in the blood. Over time, high blood sugar can lead to disorders of the circulatory, nervous and immune systems.

A person with diabetes mellitus complains of excessive thirst, frequent hunger, weight loss, and increased frequency and amount of urination, so watch out for these symptoms. Here are some tips that help control blood sugar:

low carb diet: Carbohydrates in food, if not eaten with protein and fat, raise your blood sugar. A recent national study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) based on 18,090 adults showed that a low carbohydrate diet reduces the risk of diabetes. Counting carbohydrates in foods and beverages is an important tool for managing blood sugar. Your diet should contain complex carbohydrates such as oats, brown rice, millet, dalia, quinoa, and whole wheat grains.

Dietary fiber: The fiber in complex carbohydrates and green leafy vegetables promotes weight loss and reduces the risk of diabetes mellitus. It increases satiety, reduces cravings, and keeps you full longer. Eat a variety of healthy fiber-rich foods like spinach, mustard greens, watercress, ferns, pumpkin stalks, and legumes like beans, chickpeas, and lentils.

Fenugreek seeds: Fenugreek seeds contain mucilaginous fibers which improve insulin sensitivity and improve blood sugar. The seed can be taken as is after an overnight soak in water or as a powder, 15 minutes before a meal. Fenugreek seeds can be incorporated into preparations such as chapatti, rice, dal and vegetables.

bitter gourd: Most people dislike bitter gourd, but the compound, polypeptide-P (insulin-P), found in bitter gourd helps regulate insulin levels which in turn regulates glucose levels in the blood. It can be taken as juice, boiled, sautéed, poured or sautéed.

Gurjo/giloy: Gurjo would be useful in the management of type II diabetes mellitus. In Sanskrit, it means “sugar destroyer”. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, anti-allergic, antimalarial and antidiabetic properties. It helps in the production of insulin. Take gurjo stems and leaves, mash them and boil them in water. Drink it first thing in the morning.

Low Glycemic Load Fruits: Fruit is high in nutrients and fiber, but mostly carbs that can spike your blood sugar if you eat more than you need. Choose fruits that have a low glycemic load such as apples, berries, avocados, peaches, pears and plums.

say no to sugar: Sugar in any form, whether brown sugar, white sugar, caster sugar, honey, jaggery, or sugar in beverages, should be avoided. As sugar contains empty calories and contributes more calories than your body needs. Too much sugar leads to weight gain, which increases the risk of type II diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Sugar is naturally present in fruits and vegetables, so it is better to eat whole fruits and vegetables than to have juices, candies or chocolates containing sugar.

Physical activity: Good physical activity or physical exercise helps in the good control of diabetes mellitus. Exercise helps maintain weight and heart function, and control blood lipids and glucose levels. Furthermore, it is also known to reduce stress which improves the quality of life. At least 30-45 minutes of exercise should be done daily. Walking, cycling, swimming, jumping rope, yoga, and strength training should be encouraged.

Gestational diabetes occurs in women during pregnancy, but blood sugar levels return to normal after delivery. Many women develop diabetes mellitus later on due to poor dietary choices and a sedentary lifestyle.

Take diabetes seriously and learn how to manage it. People often make poor food choices, lead sedentary lives, and are not active at all. Controlling your blood sugar is important to prevent or delay serious long-term health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, kidney disease, and many other conditions. Poorly controlled diabetes mellitus can damage the nerves and blood vessels in the feet, leading to poor blood circulation and ultimately diabetic foot. If you experience numbness, tingling sensation, pain in the legs or no pain at all, it is a warning sign for you to consult your respective doctor.

Pheelina Bhujel is a Registered Dietitian at Diet Clinic, Dept. of Medicine, Central Referral Hospital, Sikkim Manipal University.

At the Central Referral Hospital, dietitians help people improve their health by providing expert advice on nutrition and dietetics. A dietitian can help you manage health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, dialysis, and cancer. The Diet Clinic at Central Referral Hospital also offers a personalized meal plan and food charts. Visit: Diet Clinic, Level 3, Central Referral Hospital, Tadong, Gangtok.

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