It is always good to nip an impending disease in the bud. When it comes to diabetes, early signals require urgent action. Getting diagnosed with diabetes is really scary. Given that it requires more precautions treating a diabetic suffering from other ailments or performing a surgery, the fear is not unjustified. However, if you are diagnosed with prediabetes, the risk of it turning into a full-blown problem could be reversed. The good news is that pre-diabetes could be handled with a set of certain foods coupled with regular exercise. Other approaches, such as reducing stress and improving sleep, may also help.
Gurleen Kaur, Dietitian and Nutritionist, Lifestyle modification coach and National brand Ambassador of NNHSA (Nutrition and Natural Health Sciences Association) explains what prediabetes is and the kinds of food that may help reverse it.
What Is Prediabetes
Prediabetes is a condition where your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 Diabetes. A person is diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes when the body is not able to use insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, the way it should.
“Insulin is released in response to an increase in blood sugar. When you are healthy, the system works well. If this continues, though, the system will eventually break down. At some point, your pancreas will be unable to produce enough insulin to keep up with demand. At this point, when insulin is no longer sufficient, is the point when your blood sugar levels begin to rise,” says Kaur.
Diet has a big impact on blood glucose levels and eating the wrong foods can raise your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes but it can be successfully reversed by modifying the diet.
Foods To Reverse Prediabetes
Consuming GI Index Foods is one of the ways that can help reverse prediabetes. GI or the glycemic index is a useful tool for measuring types of carbohydrates and for choosing healthy options of food. It is based on how quickly sugar from food will enter the person’s bloodstream. Foods with a GI score of 55 or under raise blood sugar levels slowly.
Here are the kinds of foods that are recommended for people diagnosed with prediabetes.
1. Vegetables With Low GI
As mentioned above, foods with GI score above 55 are not recommended for those diagnosed with prediabetes. Not all vegetables fall under this category but there is a lot to choose from like Green Peas, Onions, Lettuce, Cabbage, Leafy greens such as spinach, collards, kale and beet, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Artichokes, Brussels sprout, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Celery, Egg plant, Peppers including bell peppers and jalapeno, Zucchini , Mushrooms…the list is long.
Vegetables with High GI like Potato, Carrots, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin etc must be avoided by those who are trying to keep their sugar levels in check.
They are perfect to satiate those sweet cravings that are natural for our body. Considering fruits have natural sugar most fruits can be taken in moderation by people who are at risk of prediabetes. Apples, Pears, Plum, Avocado, Olives, Dried Apricots, Unripe Banana, Peaches, Strawberries, Oranges, Cherries, Coconut, Grapefruit, Cranberries, Blueberries are some of the fruits that are safe considering they have low GI.
Mangoes with the GI of 51 are considered safe for prediabetics and they also come with added benefit of lowering cholesterol and treating metabolic disorders.
At the same time, prediabetics can conveniently skip watermelons, pineapples , and ripe bananas.
3. Whole Grains
Apart from being rich in fibre content, foods with whole grains are also packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, antioxidants among other nutrients. Barley, Whole Wheat, Oat bran and rice bran cereals, Whole-grain pasta, Wheat tortilla are some of the foods that people with prediabetes must have as healthy food choices. The problem with refined grains is that the micronutrients and fibre content are reduced in them and thus they can raise the level of sugar in the body.
4. Dairy Products
They not only serve as a healthy substitute for junk food, the calcium and fatty acids in dairy products according to various studies are known to lower the risk of Diabetes. Skim, low-fat, and whole milk, Plain yogurt, Cheese (cheddar, swiss, mozzarella, brie, feta, blue, goat, etc.), Cottage cheese, Ricotta cheese, Soy milk and yogurt are some of the foods that people with prediabetes can consume.
With high protein and fibre content, legumes are recommended for people with prediabetes as they are a healthy replacement for meat which has high saturated fat. Chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, navy beans, Lima beans, Split peas, black-eyed peas, Lentils, Edamame and roasted soybeans, Hummus, Bean dip, are some of the excellent food options.
6. Nuts and Seeds
This is something which can be very good snacking options for people who are aiming to control their blood sugar level to keep diabetes at bay. Any hunger cravings must be responded by taking a handful of Peanuts, walnuts, macadamias, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, Peanut butter, Nut butter, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds etc.
7. Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices are not only excellent flavouring agents and make your meals interesting, with their antioxidants properties and capability to control blood glucose levels are beneficial for people with prediabetes. Garlic, Basil, Dill, salt and pepper, cinnamon, fenugreek are some of the examples.
Along with regular exercises and consuming food with low glycemic index, your body will hopefully be ready to process sugars effectively, which can make it easy to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. It will prevent one from Type 2 diabetes and delay the onset of further complications, like heart disease, stroke, and damage to the nerves and kidneys.
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