Love eating your favorite sandwich or that tasty strawberry you just bought yesterday? But have you ever wondered how all these food items affect your blood glucose levels? Also termed as blood sugar level, it is the amount of glucose present in your bloodstream at a certain time which is eventually used up by the body in the form of energy. Whenever you eat something, the food is digested by your body during which the sugar content present in the food is circulated throughout the body via your blood.
Now, not all of this sugar/glucose is needed by the body to function. This is why your body tends to store it inside the cells to be used later. However, an amount of sugar that is too high can be seriously harmful to you. This eventually leads to chronic issues such as Type 2 diabetes which is characterized by sugar levels that are higher than normal limits. Unmanaged form of diabetes like diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus leads to a problem in the eyes, kidneys, heart, as well as blood vessels.
Importance of Food
Eating Healthy and exercises are important parts when you are diabetic. Food provides you everything from nutrients that boost your defense mechanism all the way to getting that energy level up and running. Food is what keeps you going and catering the right amount of energy to do different tasks. It is the 3rd basic thing after water and air that helps you survive. In most, food is comprised of proteins, sugars, fats, as well as other nutrients.
Now, how does food actually help us?
Aids with Vitality:
Food is an important requirement for a body that caters vitality. Food acts as the fuel that produces vitality for your cell’s mitochondria. The glucose present in your food pairs with oxygen as you relax. Further, it prompts the procedure termed oxidation phosphorylation that creates vitality in the form of ATP. This system leads to water and carbon dioxide item being shaped.
Better body structure and shape:
For individuals who look for a better body shape with weight training, a protein found in food can be significant. Protein-packed food items such as milk, meat, egg, etc can get you enough nutrition for proper muscle construct.
Several food items such as carrots, milk, yogurt, nuts, green tea, etc help bring down the stress level in your body. So food items can be very essential when it comes to balancing the crucial requirements of the body for survival.
Essentially, your body breaks down all you eat and absorbs the nutrients present in the food. These important nutrients include:
- Other nutrients
The carbohydrates consumed by you turn into absorbable blood sugar. The more you consume carbohydrates, the higher your levels of blood sugar. Carbohydrates that are in the liquid form tend to be consumed easily as compared to the solids. This is why drinking soda leads to a faster rise in the blood sugar level as opposed to chomping down a pizza slice. So, if you have been experiencing type 2 diabetes symptoms, it is advised that you stick to natural solid food items as opposed to processed drinks and food items.
How Food Affects Blood Sugar Levels?
If you ever tested your blood sugar levels right after having your breakfast or lunch, you will notice that it’s probably high.
Now, before we understand how your meals affect the blood sugar levels, here are the normal sugar levels for healthy individuals:
Normal Blood sugar level before eating (or fasting blood sugar level before breakfast): anything below 100mg/dL with an average of 70 or 80 mg/dL.
Blood sugar level 2 hours post meal: below 140 mg/dL.
Now, anything above this number can suggest that you are diabetic or at least pre-diabetic which means you need to watch your diet.
The random blood sugar level in an average adult is somewhere between 79-160mg/dL any time of the day. Anything between the numbers 160-200mg/dL is termed pre-diabetic and a number above 200mg/dL is termed as diabetic.
This doesn’t mean that low sugar levels are fine. A number below 70 mg/dL might suggest that you are low in blood sugar level which can lead to sudden blackouts, energy depletion, flushing out, etc.
This is why having your blood sugar levels at the normal level aids for better health and ample energy throughout the day.
Food desirable for diabetes (Fruits and Vegetables)
With food items, the goal is to adhere to the natural levels of blood sugar as you eat. It is very important that you opt for the most desirable food items as listed below:
The high-fiber Vegetables like Carrots, Cauliflower, snake gourd, plantain, sweet potato, spinach, green beans, corn, broccoli, Fenugreek, mustard greens, carrots are most beneficial to include in a diabetic diet.
When preparing a well-balanced diet, leafy green vegetables can be extremely nutritious with low-calorie content. Additionally, leafy greens are also low in digestible carbohydrates that can raise the blood sugar levels. You can add items such as Kale, Spinach, lettuce, chard, etc to your diet to manage your diabetes status.
Broccoli is the right vegetable for someone suffering from lower levels of insulin. Additionally, it also protects your cells from the harmful variants of free radicals that surface up during the metabolism process.
Squash is among the healthiest veggies you can add to your diet when trying to manage diabetes. This vegetable houses beneficial antioxidants, zeaxanthin, lutein, etc and protects you from macular degeneration and cataracts. This vegetable is helpful for both type 1 diabetes and types 2 diabetes patients.
Beans are the best source of protein and nutrients that help regulate your blood glucose levels. The plant-based protein in the food satisfies your appetite while helping bring down the carbohydrate intake.
Bitter gourd houses a range of minerals, vitamins, as well as antioxidants. It lowers the blood sugar levels and hence aids in the diabetes treatment.
Fruits are the best nutrients, Low-GI fruits are better for helping control blood sugar levels: Guava, Apple, Plantain, Orange, Banana, Mango, Pomegranate, Berries, Papaya, Melon, Pineapple to include in a diabetic diet.
[Bonus Video: Top 5 Diabetic Friendly Fruits To Help You Manage Diabetes]
Strawberries have been known to carry the highest level of anthocyanins which are responsible for catering to the classic red color. The anthocyanins can easily reduce the cholesterol levels while helping with proper management of insulin levels. Further, strawberries also improve the blood sugar levels with decreased risk of heart issues prevalent among patients suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Research shows that a good amount of citrus fruits in your diet introduces an anti-diabetic effect. Eating citrus fruits such as oranges gets you the essential minerals and vitamins with minimal carbohydrates thus keeping you fixated at a normal sugar level. The bioflavonoid antioxidants termed naringin and hesperidin help cater to an anti-diabetic effect. Further, citrus fruits serve as the best source of folate, Vitamin C, and potassium.
Berries, as tasty as they are, house a good amount of antioxidants that aid in the prevention of oxidative stress. Now, oxidative stress has been linked with several health issues such as heart diseases as well as cancer. Studies over the years have noted that oxidative stress can lead to aggravated conditions for people suffering from diabetes. Berries like blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc can be great for diabetics.
This particular fatty fruit helps you maintain a constant healthy blood sugar level. Best of all, avocados cater to a good amount of healthy blood glucose levels. The dietary fiber with healthy fat helps slow down the carbohydrate absorption and digestion and thus preventing blood sugar spikes.
[Bonus Video: Best Foods with Low Carbs for Diabetes]
Food to avoid if diabetic:
As we are aware of the “what food to eat during diabetes”. At the same time, it’s very important to understand, that the wrong foods we intake knowingly or unknowingly can affect Insulin levels and raise your blood sugar levels. Foods high in Trans fat, saturated fats, high in salts are most dangerous for a diabetic. Below are the foods to avoid during diabetes.
- Fatty foods – Cheese, curd, cream, ice cream
- Trans fats- Ghee, butter, vanaspathi, margarine, mayonnaise, peanut butter.
- High Carbs – Maida (refined wheat flour), white rava.
- All fried items – High in fat and calories.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Proprietary drinks, sweetened drinks, and foods.
- Pickles, strong spices.
- Fast foods, Preserved foods, and Canned foods.
- Red meat (mutton, pork, beef), Dried Fish, organ meats (liver, kidney, etc), egg yolk, etc.
How Blood Glucose Levels Can Be Controlled?
Apart from investing in a great diet, you can practice other things to keep the blood glucose level in check such as:
- Regular Exercise aids you with weight loss and hence increased insulin sensitivity
- Make sure you reduce your overall carb intake and plan the meals by cutting down the portion
- Increase your fiber intake to reduce carbohydrate & sugar absorption
- Consume plenty of water to stay hydrated and pass the carbohydrates and fats easily.
- Always pick food items with the lowest glycemic index(listed above) resulting in low glycemic load
- Try and practice yoga & meditation to control your stress levels which when uncontrolled acts as a factor motivating chronic diabetes
- You should constantly monitor your blood sugar in order to ensure that any measures you have opted for diabetes control are working
- Add food items that house a good amount of magnesium and chromium that serve as your body’s cellular anti-oxidative defense for diabetics
Uncontrolled diabetes can actually increase the risk of suffering from several issues some of which can actually be fatal. However, the consumption of food items that help manage your insulin levels can reduce the risks from diabetes or related inflammation. So, binge in the healthiest and tastiest natural food items and keep your health in check.