As Indians, we have a strong inclination to have ‘something sweet’ post meals. Which is also why diabetes is a growing concern in our country. Currently, in India, there are 8.7% diabetics in the age group of 20 to 70 years, which is almost 72.9 million people! If you or your loved ones suffer from high blood sugar, then here are healthy foods for diabetics that you should be aware of.
1. Alpha Lipoic Acid – Spinach, Broccoli, Red Meat, Carrots
Remember when your mom told you to have your vegetables? Well, there’s a scientific reason for that and if you’re looking for healthy foods for diabetics, you needn’t look any further. Most leafy greens have a nutrient called Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA). It is one of the most powerful antioxidants and is known to reduce blood sugar levels, manage other symptoms of diabetes, and promote healthy brain function. Plus, it is ideal if you lack vitamin B1 and have a thyroid disorder. Another key benefit of ALA is that it is both water and fat-soluble, so it stays in your body longer to show its magic.
2. Lycopene – Watermelon, Tomatoes, Red Guavas, Papaya
Lycopene is a nutrient found in plants that gives them red or pink colour and this gives such foods a range of health benefits. This is a powerful tool to fight free radicals that create oxidative stress leading to heart diseases and diabetes. Plus, it also helps combat bad cholesterol and increase the good one, further improving heart health. This alone makes it an essential diabetes diet food choice. It is also a key nutrient to arrest macular degeneration, a common complaint of people with high blood sugar. Lycopene also helps decrease systolic blood pressure (SBP), which is the pressure on your arteries when the blood is pumped from the heart. A study suggests that this nutrient especially works for Asians and people who have high baseline SBP. Foods containing lycopene should be at the top of your list of healthy foods for diabetics.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acid – Fish, Nuts, Plant Seeds & Oils
Omega 3 has no direct effect on diabetes but has a host of other benefits for curbing the adverse effects of high blood sugar. It helps maintain a healthy heart rate and keeps the belly fat at bay. Its main contribution as a diabetes diet food is that it fights fatty liver and as a result, insulin resistance. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps heal wounds and infections faster.
4. Glutathione – Legume, Milk Thistle, Flaxseed, Whey, Eggs
This magic nutrient is naturally produced in our body but reduces due to environmental factors and age. It is used by top celebrities for skin lightening and brightening. However, its benefits go beyond that. In people with high blood sugar, glutathione plays a role in reducing and regulating insulin. The cysteine and glycine amino acids in this antioxidant help balance the sugar spikes (sudden highs and lows), ideal for working professionals who cannot follow a strict diet, but are trying to eat diabetes diet foods.
5. CoQ10 – Meats That Include Heart, Liver, And Kidney, Fatty Fish, Walnuts, Citrus Vegetables
It is a compound that gives energy to your body. It works for increasing the fertility rate in highly diabetic patients, reducing acidity related headaches, managing low blood pressure caused due to low sugar, improving physical fitness, and reducing fatigue. It’s also a reminder that healthy eating for diabetics doesn’t have to be boring because this nutrient is primarily found in fatty fish, organ meats, and walnuts.
6. Curcumin (Found In Turmeric)
A classic spice found in the Indian kitchens, turmeric is an age-old solution to inflammation and liver issues, but it also belongs on any list of healthy foods for diabetics. The key compound that does all this hard work in this spice is ‘curcumin’. A study suggests that it directly reduces the level of glucose in the body if consumed regularly for a long time. Just like Omega 3, it is also a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps heal external wounds as well as autoimmune flare-ups in the body.
If you currently suffer from diabetes or have a genetic predisposition to it, you must include these nutrients in your diet as a curative and preventive measure. However, cooking and digestion processes kill most of the nutrients from food. Hence, taking them in a concentrated form as nutritional supplements ensures you are getting the right and effective amount. Consult your doctor before starting these supplements and manage your diabetes the natural way.