It is due to this reason that people with diabetes, or those who have been diagnosed as prediabetics, are often told to make dietary changes. This, often, also leads to confusion about what diabetics and prediabetics should and should not consume. But the one thing experts suggest as a good choice is fibre.
Nutritionist Lovneet Batra recently took to Instagram to share some fibre-rich food items that diabetics can enjoy. “If you have diabetes or prediabetes, fibre is your friend since soluble fibre reduces blood glucose spikes and can help slow down the absorption of sugar,” she captioned the post.
Dr Rachna Agarwal, a nutritionist, further told Indianexpress.com that “fibre is a type of carbohydrate which the body cannot digest. It passes out from the body without being broken down into small sugar molecules. It is food for healthy bacteria present in our gut, and thus improves gut health and digestion and eventually controlling blood sugar levels.”
She added that there are two types of fibre — soluble (pectin in fruits or starches in rice or potato) and insoluble (present in vegetables, fruits, and grains), and said “both help us to regulate and control blood sugar and cholesterol levels.”
Explaining the process, the said: “When our diet is rich in fibre, it mixes with other food and prolongs the process of digestion. This further prevents the instant release of sugars in the bloodstream and regulates blood sugar and insulin release.”
She also said that “leafy vegetables, tubers like arbi, sweet potato, mausambi, pineapple, apples, dried nuts and seeds especially chia and flaxseed, whole grains and pulses, figs and prunes,” are good sources of fibre. ” One can include 35 to 40 grams of fibre in their daily diet to regulate their blood sugar levels,” the expert suggested.
Lovneet Batra also listed some “healthy foods that are high in soluble fibre”
Steel cut oats: Oats contain both insoluble and soluble fibre, but the soluble one is particularly beneficial. Since our bodies can’t break down soluble fiber, it takes up space in the belly without getting absorbed by blood, in turn, leaving us feeling fuller without causing a spike in sugar levels. It also acts as a helpful prebiotic for gut bacteria.
Barley: Barley’s six grams of fibre is “mostly soluble fiber that has been linked to lowered cholesterol, decreased blood sugars, and increased satiety.” It also offers benefits like decreasing inflammation and stabilising blood sugar levels.
Chickpeas: Chickpeas are high in dietary fibre, especially a soluble fibre called raffinose, which is associated with reduced blood sugar levels.
Apple: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” may be an old proverb, but apples are surely a good source of the soluble fibre pectin, which slows down the absorption of sugar, preventing blood sugar spikes
Sabja seeds: The high-fiber content helps slow down the metabolism and controls the conversion of carbs into glucose. It is touted as a superfood that helps people suffering from type 2 diabetes.