Diabetes is a fairly common lifestyle disease, but while it can’t be cured, it can be controlled. Diabetesarises due to abnormally high blood sugar levels. The insulin produced by the pancreas are responsible for maintaining glucose levels in the blood. Absence or insufficient production of insulin or an inability to properly utilise insulin causes diabetes.
“Diabetes was once considered as an incurable disease. However, thanks to recent developments, we have seen that type 2 diabetes can be managed and, in most cases, reversed with modification in one’s lifestyle habits,” says Dr Manoj Kutteri, wellness director, Atmantan.
Broadly, diabetes can be divided into two types. Type 1 diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is a condition, mostly seen in children, where the body does not produce insulin. Type 2 or non–insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is a condition where insufficient insulin is produced by the pancreas or the body gets resistant to the insulin.
According to Dr Kutteri, some of the factors that can contribute to increased blood sugar are not following a disciplined dietary pattern, being sedentary which lowers the metabolism, having an illness or infection that lowers immunity or damages insulin secreting cells of pancreas, poor gut health, uncontrolled weight gain, using medications such as steroids, being injured or having surgery, experiencing emotional stress, and eating a diet high in glucose.
Here are 10 ways to control the disease:
* Remove refined carbohydrates from the diet: “Refined sugar can spike blood sugar levels. Soda, white bread, biscuits, sugar, and honey enter the bloodstream directly and can elevate blood sugar to a great extent,” says Carlyne Remedios, group manager–clinical practices, nutrition and product development, Digestive Health Institute by Dr Muffi.
* Eat low glycaemic foods: Instead, diabetics should eat low glycaemic foods such as non-starchy vegetables, stone fruits (peaches, plum, cherries and berries), nuts, seeds, avocados, eggs, and raw pastured dairy. “Apart from controlling blood sugar, low GI food also help in losing weight,” she says. Lean protein foods are also good options, be it egg whites, chicken breast, or turkey breast, which provide satiety and prevent you from snacking later on.
* Don’t drink: Alcohol may contain added sugars which increase blood glucose levels and dehydrate the body. “Drink occasionally and in moderation. Have no more than one drink at a time,” says Remedios.
* Avoid smoking: Remedios adds that diabetics must also quit smoking as nicotine promotes insulin resistance. “Along with creating blood sugar related problems, it also increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and kidney problems,” she says.
* Avoid stress: Stress can impact your blood sugar levels. So, a good way to control diabetes is to keep stress levels in check. You can go for long walks, do yoga, or meditate to beat stress, says Remedios.
* Consume probiotics: Probiotics can help to reduce blood sugar levels, insulin levels and glucose resistance. “Probiotics promote healthy gut health which helps in glucose metabolism. This helps in improving blood sugar levels, prevents inflammation, and improves glycaemic control, normal lipid profile and blood pressure control in type 2 diabetes,” says Remedios.
* Get adequate sleep: A good night’s sleep can improve glucose metabolism. “A single night of inadequate sleep can make the body react in a manner similar to insulin resistance, and may lead to increased blood levels,” says Remedios.
* Substitute sugar with natural sweeteners: Opt for natural sweeteners such as raw honey, stevia, coconut sugar, balsamic vinegar and dates. “They are loaded with minerals and are low in glycaemic load. Such naturally available and easily digestible substances help in managing diabetes effectively,” says Dr Kutteri.
* Exercise regularly: Dr Kutteri suggests diabetics do cardio exercises which improve peripheral circulation, and the utilisation of circulating glucose by the muscles. “It has also been found that improved peripheral circulation and muscular activity helps to reduce the insulin resistance by reprogramming the insulin-receptor binding ability,” he says. Other forms of exercise that are good for diabetes are cycling, core conditioning and swimming.
* Increase the fibre intake: A high-fibre diet can slow down sugar absorption. “Along with giving satiety and aiding in digestion, it also helps lower blood glucose levels. You can get your daily dose of fibre from fruits and vegetables eaten with the skin, beans, legumes, and whole grains like barley, quinoa and oats,” says Remedios.
Fibre also boosts the metabolism, thereby helping to get rid of extra pounds without increasing the calorie load. “Fibre ensures progressive absorption of glucose from the intestine and prevents a spike in blood glucose levels,” says Dr Kutteri.
Courtesy: Soma Das, The Hindustan Times