- Amaranth is rich in protein, fibre and calcium
- It can be included in weight loss diet as well
- It is also a rich source of amino acids
Diabetes diet should essentially contain fewer carbs and low glycemic index (GI) foods. Amaranth is a nutritious grain with an array of benefits for diabetics. Amaranth is rich in protein, fibre and other vital micronutrients. Apart from amaranth, other grains that are good for diabetics include millets, brown rice, quinoa and kamut. Consumption of these grains in the right pattern and quantity in diabetes diet can help in controlling blood sugar levels and diabetes management. In this article, we are going to exclusively focus on amaranth and how the grain helps in normalising blood sugar levels in diabetics.
Amaranth for diabetics: Benefits and how it helps in regulating blood sugar levels
Amaranth is a non-gluten grain which is also a rich source of protein. One cup of amaranth contains somewhere around 116 mg of calcium. The grain is also a rich source of amino acids and contains more lysine than any other grain. Other nutrients in amaranth include fibre, potassium, iron and loads of beneficial antioxidants.
Fibre is an important nutrient in diabetes diet as it helps in maintaining blood sugar levels. "Amaranth provides 2 grams of fibre in every 100 grams of serving," informs nutritionist Nmami Agarwal in her blog post.
What's more is that Amaranth can also be included in weight loss diet. Given the rich content of protein and fibre in it, the eating amaranth-foods can help in build-up of muscles and also help you feel full for longer, thus reducing appetite and overall calorie intake. "Amaranth has been found to decrease hunger-stimulating hormone called ghrelin," adds Nmami.
It has to be noted that amaranth has high glycemic index - approximately of 107 and an insulin curve that suggests an insulinogenic effect. This is the reason why Nmami suggests that the grain should be consumed in combination with low GI foods like wheat. Mixing wheat with amaranth can reduce its GI to 25, she says.
Here are other ways to include amaranth in diabetes diet
1. Prepare a peach and papaya salad with amaranth granola. You can add cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds and salad dressings of your choice.
2. Amaranth cutlets. Diabetics should add some wheat flour to the tikkis in order to balance its GI.
3. Amaranth cookies. You can prepare this by adding amaranth flour, wheat flour, grated carrots, raisins, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, butter, maple syrup and walnuts. Bake and let us know how the dishes turned out for you.
Diabetes diet: Best grains for diabetics
As mentioned above, amaranth is not the only grain that can help in management of diabetes. Diabetes diet should include more of simple carbs like the ones in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Following are the grains that can be included in diabetes diet:
- Brown rice
Following are other options of low GI foods that are good for diabetics for blood sugar control
1. Boiled eggs
5. Fresh vegetables
6. Sweet potato
9. Kidney beans
Diabetics should avoid processed, packaged, junk and deep fried foods. These foods are high in refined carbs that result in rapid rise in blood sugar levels. Sugary foods and aerated drinks are also off the table in diabetes diet.
(Nmami Agarwal is nutritionist at Nmami Life)
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.