Diabetes, the metabolic disorder, isn’t something you can ignore as uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to disastrous consequences for your heart, kidney, blood vessels, eyes and worsen your quality of life. Apart from medication, diabetes requires a complete lifestyle shift from diet modification to regular physical activity. When it comes to food, people with diabetes try to cut out carbohydrates sources from their diet perceiving them to be the main culprit for their increased glucose levels. However, in order to effectively monitor diabetes, you must include healthy carbs in your diet. (Also read: Diabetes: Warning signs of high blood sugar that appear on skin)
An article published in the journal BMJ noted that a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and dairy – all sources of carbs – are important for diabetes management. People with diabetes should make sure to include whole, unprocessed carbohydrates in their diet while avoiding refined ones and simple sugars to prevent those much-feared sugar spikes.
Here are 5 healthy carbs you must include in your diet as suggested by G. Sushma, Clinical Dietician and Nutritionist, CARE Hospitals, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad.
1. Whole grains and cereals
Wheat, jowar, millets, oats, ragi, and quinoa among others are complex carbohydrates which are also high in fibre. These foods take time to get digested and will stabilise the release of glucose in to the blood which is good for diabetic patients. On the other hand, refined grains like rice, maida and sugars and refined foods release glucose in the blood immediately which makes blood sugar levels increase rapidly. So, these simple carbohydrates should be avoided.
2. Proteins and pulses
All kinds of pulses like rajma, chickpeas, cowpeas, and lentils are advisable which will provide necessary nutrients to the body. In terms of animal proteins, lean meat like chicken, fish, and eggs can be consumed in a curry or boiled forms, not fried. Red meat and organ meats should be avoided as those are high in cholesterol. Fried foods must also be avoided at any cost.
High-calorie fruits like mango, custard apples, bananas, grapes and sapota must be avoided. Instead, high-fibre fruits like apples, guava, orange, pomegranate, papaya and watermelon can be consumed in small amounts (50-100g) per day. Natural sugar or fructose is a form of carbs present in fruits. You can have them in between meals as a snack and not with the meals or soon after your meals. They should not be consumed in the form of juice which will dilute the fibre and nutrients from the fruit.
Green leafy vegetables should be added to everyday meals as it is a good source of fibre. Starchy root vegetables like beetroot, yam and potatoes should be avoided. Rather, non-starchy vegetables are advised like sweet potatoes as these are good source of fibre and Vitamin A and hence, can be consumed occasionally.
5. Dry fruits and nuts
Raisins, dried currants, and dates should be avoided as they are high in calories. Whereas, you can have walnuts and almonds in small amounts (around 3-4) every day.