A predicament that many diabetics and their immediate family face is what to eat and what to stay away from. Diabetes, caused by the rise in blood sugar levels, at times becomes a life-threatening condition. While diabetics are told to stay away from sweets or confectioneries that are high on sugar, there is not much of a consensus when it comes to everyday foods like grains. Some experts advice on cutting back rice, while others even mention skipping rotis which are wheat-based. So if you are confused about which grains to have, Satkam Divya, CEO, KlinicApp suggests a comprehensive guide on what grains people with diabetes can have and what they can cut back on, depending on their lifestyle.
“Choosing healthier eating options can be a lot of fun. Having diabetes does not mean that you have to give up dishes that you have always loved. It simply means that you have to be smart about it. Whole grains are great for reducing cholesterol. They also help to reduce the risk of heart diseases and are packed with fibre. If you are diabetic, it is a good idea to include whole grains in your diet as they do not spike your blood sugar which helps have better control over it,” he says.
Brown rice lowers blood sugar level
Research shows that brown rice reduces the chances of developing diabetes by 16 per cent. But, if you already are diabetic, it can help you. Consuming around two servings of brown rice each week leads to a lower blood sugar level. All you need to do is replace one-third of your daily serving of white rice with brown rice.
Oats contain low glycemic index
Oats is popular among health-conscious people. But it is also great for those who suffer from diabetes. They are easy-to-make and make for a great breakfast option. It helps to regulate your blood sugar levels due to its low glycemic index and high fibre content. There are many quick and easy recipes that you could try with oats.
Use buckwheat or kuttu ka atta instead of regular flour
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Buckwheat is actually a seed, but is also considered to be a grain. You can use buckwheat flour instead of your regular one. It can help boost your fibre intake, which has the ability to regulate blood glucose levels. It also helps to slow down the rate at which glucose is absorbed in the intestines.
Quinoa contains high protein and calcium
Some people are familiar with quinoa, the gluten-free grain which has the highest protein value among grains. It also contains more calcium than milk, which makes it a great option to include in your diet. Though its a nutritious seed that is rich in fibre and protein, it is increasingly being considered as a grain.
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Millet or bajra contains zero fat
Millet is probably the least common in this category, as it is the main ingredient in birdseed. However, it makes for an excellent meal for humans when cooked. With its high quantity of fibre and little to no fat, it is a great option to include in your meals. Millet also provides about 26 per cent of the daily value of magnesium.
Factors to consider with whole grain diet
Here are some important factors to consider for diabetics and people with blood sugar issues:
1. Avoid over-consumption of grains
When you are trying out new foods, it is easy to go overboard. But, if you are a diabetic, over-consumption could cause your blood sugar to shoot. This is something you do not want to happen. So start with two-thirds of cooked whole grains or two slices of whole-grain bread and see how your sugar reacts to it.
2. Pair whole grains with something else
To help your body deal with sugar, pair the grains with unsaturated fat and protein. Some good sources of protein that you could start with are nuts, seeds, beans, etc. If you want to eat whole grain bread, pair it with vegan cheese or nut butter.
3. Choose least-processed whole grains
Brown rice, whole barley, kernel bread, wheat berries, and millet are a great choice. These are much better than processed ones. Least-processed grains have all the nutritional values intact.
4. Read labels carefully before buying
You will come across many products while shopping that will appear as if they are wholegrain, but are not. To avoid getting tricked, you have to read the labels carefully. Terms like ‘enriched’ can easily throw you off track. That is simply a term used when only parts of the grain are used and not the whole product.
When you come across labels that read ‘made from whole grain’ or ‘contains whole grain,’ they may still not be 100 per cent. Look at the ingredients listed, if whole grain is the first ingredient that is listed then you are good to go.
There are other factors that you should keep in mind as well. For example, did you know that brown bread is brown in colour due to added colors? You just have to be smart about the things you eat and include physical activity to control your blood sugar and to improve your overall health.
There are over 72 million adult diabetic patients in India alone. It is quite easy to manage your blood sugar once you know how to. Managing diabetes does take a little learning and getting used to but, the knowledge will help you lead a healthy and happy life.
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