Glucose in the body helps in maintaining optimum energy levels and is also the brain’s main source of fuel, but it all comes down to how the glucose in the body is utilized. Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases affecting how the blood sugar (glucose) is used by the body. Based on a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100 million people in our country are suffering from diabetes or prediabetes. Irrespective of the cause of diabetes, it can cause excess sugar in the blood, leading to several other complications. Apart from medical treatment, dietary changes also play a crucial role in controlling blood sugar levels. Here are some foods that can help in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels in the body:
- Leafy greens
Green vegetables like kale, collard greens, spinach, cabbage, beet greens, and watercress are high in nutrients and low in calories. Leafy greens are low in digestible carbohydrates, which helps in maintaining low blood sugar levels. Other antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin in greens also help in maintaining a healthy immune system. These antioxidants also protect the eyes from cataract and macular degeneration, which may be complications of diabetes.
Known as a delicious spice, cinnamon is also known for its potent antioxidant properties, which can help improve insulin sensitivity. It has also been found recently that cinnamon can lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, but several dietitians also suggest limiting the intake of cassia cinnamon (most commonly available) to less than 1 teaspoon a day to avoid other health issues.
- Fatty fish
It is one of the healthiest foods to fight diabetes. Mackerel, sardines, herring, and salmon are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which help maintain blood glucose levels. The fatty acids also protect the cells lining the blood vessels, reduce inflammation, and improve how arteries work after eating food. Being a great source of high-quality protein, fatty fish also helps in maintaining a high metabolic rate.
- Chia seeds
These are extremely high in fiber, yet low on digestive carbohydrates. They contain viscous fiber that lowers blood sugar, slowing down the rate at which food gets absorbed in the gut. It also helps in maintaining a healthy weight as it reduces hunger. Additionally, chia seeds are also known to decrease the number of calories absorbed from other foods.
It is a powerful spice with a lot of benefits. Turmeric has an active ingredient called curcumin, which can lower inflammation and blood sugar levels in the body. It can also reduce the risk of heart disease. However, since curcumin cannot be absorbed on its own, it can be consumed with black pepper.
Apart from following the treatment plan to manage diabetes, it is important to be mindful of dietary changes. It is also important to follow a healthy lifestyle inclusive of daily exercise, adequate sleep, and controlled stress levels through meditation for optimum energy and healthy blood sugar levels. Consult a nutritionist, dietitian, and an endocrinologist before including any of the above-mentioned foods in the daily diet to avoid any possible side effects.