- If the sugars are controlled, diabetics can enjoy vegetables
- One to two eggs every day with the yolk is not a problem
- One of the best dairy food choices for diabetics is Greek yogurt
Being diabetic is no piece of cake. Who likes thinking twice or thrice before eating anything! No carbs, no sugar and no food which can increase blood sugar levels; trust us, it is not easy. In such a scenario, figuring out the best and worst foods for oneself is one huge task. For diabetics, the primary goal is to keep blood sugar levels under control and diabetes complications like heart disease at bay. So, when it comes to controlling diabetes, it is all about maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. Nutritionist Dr Ritika Samaddar says, "If the sugars are controlled, diabetics can enjoy vegetables. The plant-based forms of protein like whole grains are very healthy for diabetics. Lean protein sources like fish and chicken in limited quantities are also safe."
"Fruits like mangoes and bananas are also allowed for diabetics if their blood sugar is under control. When we talk about diabetes, we do not talk about foods with high or low sugar content. We talk about the quantity of food consumed. So if you eat a kilo of watermelon in a go, it will increase your blood sugar levels. However, if you take only a piece of mango, your sugar levels will be low. So it is all about maintaining a perfectly balanced diet and controlling calorie intake; it is not about focusing on the food per se."
Also read: 8 Ways To Avoid Developing Diabetes
With this, let's take a closer look at the 7 healthiest foods for diabetics:
Recent studies suggest that eating up to 12 eggs in a week is safe for type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes patients because it does not spike up heart disease risk and keep body weight in control. Though this is quite contradictory to popular belief, Dr Samaddar clears some of our doubts here. She says, "Ideally at the end of the day, eggs are a high-protein food which is very healthy for everyone. However, it gives you a certain amount of calories and fats. So it has to be taken in moderation. But if you are taking too many eggs, you must cut down on other foods. At the end of the day, it should be a balanced diet. If you are safely managing a healthy and balanced diet despite eating eggs every day, it should not be a problem. One to two eggs every day with the yolk is not a problem."
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Also read: These 7 Superfoods Can Reverse Your Diabetes
2. Fatty fish
Salmon, sardines, mackerel and herrings are some of the healthiest fish in the world. They are a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids which is essential for heart health. These fats are important for people who are at risk of heart disease and strokes. It is a good source of lean protein which keeps your calorie intake in check, makes you feel full for longer and boosts your metabolism as well.
3. Green leafy vegetables
Leafy greens are another great source of nutrition with low calorie content. These veggies are low in digestive carbs which can spike your blood sugar levels. Some of the essential nutrients in these veggies include zinc, calcium, magnesium and vitamin C. According to a study, eating foods rich in vitamin C reduces blood sugar levels of people with type 2 diabetes. They are also beneficial for eye health and protect your eyes from diabetes complications.
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Also read: How Does Diabetes Affect Your Kidneys?
4. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are very beneficial for diabetics. These seeds are high in fiber and low in digestible carbs. In a 28 gram serving of chia seeds, 12 grams is fiber. Fiber in these seeds lowers the blood sugar absorption in your body by slowing down the gut. Due to the high fiber content, they keep you full for longer, thereby reducing your calorie intake and helping you maintain a healthy BMI.
5. Greek yogurt
One of the best dairy food choices for diabetics is Greek yogurt. It enables blood sugar control and keeps your heart in a good state of health due to the probiotic content. Studies show that yogurt induces weight loss and promotes a healthier body composition in people with type 2 diabetes. Add some fruits to your Greek yogurt to enhance the taste but only in limited quantities.
Photo Credit: iStock
Also read: 5 Fruits To Treat Diabetes
Strawberries are one of the healthiest fruits for diabetics. They are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. Anthocyanins in strawberries keep your blood sugar under control and reduce cholesterol levels. They also lower heart disease risk in people with type 2 diabetes.
Flaxseeds, too, are incredibly healthy. Insoluble fiber in these seeds consists of lingans which is known to lower heart disease risk and keep blood sugar levels under control. Vicious fiber in these seeds makes you feel full for longer, improves gut health and insulin sensitivity. These can be consumed either in the whole or ground form to get maximum benefits.
(Dr Ritika Samaddar is chief nutritionist at Max Hospital Saket in Delhi)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
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