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 management
Diet 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
Remember to consult your doctor before you start your exercise regimen.
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 diabetes
Most 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 are a recommended diet in all weight loss programmes, for convalescing patients, and strongly recommended for people with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.
As the old saying goes “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It’s true for a lot of fruits and vegetables. Research has shown that there are certain fruits which are high on the glycemic index and hence not recommended in diabetes.
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.
Fruits like bananas, pineapples have high nutrition content but it is best to check with the diabetologist or endocrinologist before consuming them. It is a good option to consult your diabetologist, endocrinologist or nutritionist for individual specifications in case of type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes.
Diabetes is not a life-threatening disease. It is very treatable provided the patient takes good care and is serious with diet and exercise regimen. Monitoring of blood sugar levels is just as important.
Nowadays, it is very easy to test blood sugar levels at home without the hassle of commuting to a diagnostic lab and the endless wait for results of diagnostic tests. Apollo Sugar Clinics have a customised glucometer connected to the smartphone which keeps the diabetic patient connected to the care taking diabetologists, diabetes educators, dieticians and medical professionals.
To know more about the customized Blood Glucose Monitor contact 1800 102 2725.