India has around 75 million people with diabetes. When caused by lifestyle factors, it is termed as type 2 diabetes. When diabetes is caused due to autoimmune disorder and occurs at a very young age, it is termed as type 1 diabetes. Treatments and medications are almost the same. A shift in lifestyle to include a regimen of exercise and diet is strongly advised.
Exercise and diet for diabetes managementDiet and exercise complement one another. One is not effective without the other. Exercise can be ineffective if accompanied by bringing on high-calorie foods. Similarly, a good diet may work very slowly if there is no exercise to burn the calories
What are good exercises for people with diabetes?
- Strength training
- Water aerobics
- Tai Chi
- Stationary cycling
What is a good diet for people with diabetes?A good diabetes diet is low in fats and calories and high in nutrients. These include foods like fruits, green vegetables, salads, dairy products, fish, eggs, and seeds and nuts. A diabetes diet includes foods with low glycemic index so that your blood sugar levels do not spike after consuming food.
What is glycemic index?Glycemic Index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrate content in foods and how they affect your blood sugar levels. Low GI value (55 or less) foods are digested, absorbed, and processed slowly. They do not release more glucose into the bloodstream in a 2-hour period after consuming food. This causes a lower and slower release of calories in blood glucose and, therefore requires less insulin to process the sugars.
Benefits of fruits for people with diabetesMost fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories and are a good source of many essential nutrients like:
- Dietary fiber
- Vitamin C
- Folate (folic acid)
Fruits recommended for people with type 2 diabetes
- Apples: These are high in nutrients and antioxidants, help reduce cholesterol levels, boost immunity, and cleanse the digestive system.
- Orange: Citrus fruits like oranges are seasonal. They are rich in vitamin C and good to consume every day.
- Guava: Guavas contain a large amount of dietary fiber and are high in vitamin A and vitamin C. Guavas are recommended in diabetes because of their low GI. Good for constipation and digestion.
- Pears: Are rich in vitamins and fiber. Good as a snack between meals.
- Peaches: Are low on the Glycemic Index and good for people with diabetes.
- Berries: Are a rich source of antioxidants and nutrients. All berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, cherries, and blackberries are good for people with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.
- Kala Jamun: The summer time favourite Kala jamun or Jambhul is good for diabetics as it helps lower blood sugar levels.
- Papaya: Is rich in fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants and helps lower cholesterol. Helps in weight loss. Boosts immunity, improves digestion, and good for diabetics because it keeps high blood sugar levels under control. It is a complete health fruit.
- Nuts: Almonds, macadamia, walnuts are highly nutritious
- Pineapple has a GI of 56 and watermelon a GI of 72. Both are considered high-GI foods whereas blackberries with GI of 4 and grapefruit with GI of 25 are considered low GI foods.
Fruits to avoid in diabetes
- Kiwi: Although not native to India, Kiwis are good for diabetics but have a high potassium content which is why they are not recommended in for people with diabetic neuropathy.
- Star fruit: (kamrakh in Hindi) are good for diabetics as they help lower sugar levels but should be avoided by diabetics with kidney problems.
- Dried fruits with added sugar.
- Canned fruits in sugar syrup.
- Jams, jelly, and preserves with added sugar.
- Sugared beverages like fruit drinks and fruit juices.