Diet is the primary cause of type 2 diabetes and it is the cure as well. An unhealthy diet results in weight gain and produces stress on the pancreas to secrete enough insulin, resulting in type 2 diabetes. Thus, follows a cleansing routine of healthy diet and supportive foods.
‘A low calorie, high fiber diet with exercise and medication’ is what a diabetologist prescription would say. A nutritionist would certainly add ‘include superfoods’ to this prescription.
What are superfoods?
Any edible ingredient that is known to support therapy for an ailing condition is known as a superfood. The unique properties of certain food ingredients allow them to be accepted as therapeutic foods. Superfoods are simply accessories in medical prescription. These allow raising the overall well being of the individual and assisting in the treatment of conditions like depression, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and even cancer.
Diabetes and Super Foods
The cause of type 2 diabetes is food. So, is the cure. Foods that help treat type 2 diabetes are well researched and accepted. Nutritionists and wellness experts swear by some of these foods that help reduce the effects of type 2 diabetes.
1. Fenugreek seeds- Soak a tablespoon of fenugreek seeds/Methi seeds overnight in a glass of water. Drink this water next morning before breakfast and chew the seeds. You will see an overall improvement in your post prandial blood glucose levels. Eating fenugreek/Methi seeds before each meal, thrice a day can have a positive impact on your weight.
The Indian Dietetic Association approves of the antidiabetic effects of fenugreek seeds and recommend adding the powder in wheat flour as well as dosa/idli batter along with dal tempering. The seeds of fenugreek when soaked in warm water produce a mucilaginous fiber responsible for lowering blood glucose levels.
2. Jamun- The Indian black plum is a favorite amongst nutritionists as glucose lowering berry. A handful of black jamuns before lunch definitely impacts the post lunch blood glucose levels assuring good levels. Jamun juice is may be adulterated and sweetened with sugar and hence eating fresh jamuns is a better option. Jamun has been used in complementary and alternative systems of medicine since times immemorial. It is said that before the discovery of insulin, jamun was used as a Frontline antidiabetic medication even in Europe.
3. Flax seeds- Alsi key beej is the Indian household name for flax seeds. Nutritionists do recommend sprinkling flax seeds over salads, soups and raitas. Researchers claim that taking flaxseed) thrice a day continuously for 3 months may lower HbA1C levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Taking flax seeds is a healthy option to including more fiber in diet. The benefits of flaxseeds are that they are rich in Omega fatty acids and are heart-friendly super foods as well.
4. Bitter Gourd- Also known as bitter melon or karela in Hindi is not a favorite vegetable of many. But, its anti-diabetic properties are well-acclaimed. Bitter gourd contains three active components with anti-diabetic properties. Scientists claim that charantin, vicine and an insulin-like compound known as a polypeptide-p are responsible for the glucose lowering effect. Moreover, lectin in bitter gourd is thought to be a major factor responsible for lowering blood glucose levels after eating it.
Individuals with type 2 diabetes may eat a little steamed or grilled bitter gourd along with each meal to reduce weight and improve blood glucose profile.
5. Cinnamon- Nutritionists recommend eating cinnamon powder pre-meal as it may be useful for lowering serum HbA1C in type 2 diabetes with HbA1C >7.0 in addition to recommended care. Experts suggest that the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet lowers the postprandial glucose response, as quoted in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007.
Cinnamon has been credited as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA. At dosages of up to 6 g/day, no significant adverse reactions have been reported.
Ways to Use Cinnamon Powder for Diabetes
• Add 1 tsp of cinnamon powder in 1 cup of warm water. Drink this daily.
• You may also sprinkle cinnamon powder on your salads, dips or other dishes.
• Add cinnamon powder to your milk, coffee or tea.
6. ARJUN KI CHAAL (Arjuna)-The bark of tree Arjuna is an Ayurveda medication for treating type 2 diabetes. The consumption of powder before a meal is known to lower glucose absorption rate. There is expected delay in carbohydrate digestion and extended time in digestion.
7. Periwinkle Flowers or Sadabahar Key Phool- There are not many studies done on diabetes and eating periwinkle flowers, but it is a suggested functional food that may have certain anti-diabetic properties. Studies done on rodents have shown positive effects as anti-diabetic agents and naturopathy experts do not see any harm in swallowing a few flowers before each meal.
8. Sweet Basil Seeds or Tulsi key beej- Sweet basil seeds offer benefit in preventing weight gain in people and have blood glucose lowering capacity for individual with type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that consumption of sweet basil seeds may delay the development of insulin resistance and is positively indicative of a way to treat type 2 diabetes in patients. Basil seeds have high fiber content that is likely to slow digestion, preventing spikes in blood sugar and subsequently the hormone insulin, following meals.
It is a good idea to add sweet basil seeds to water or low fat milk/yogurt and have in between meals to suppress hunger and control spikes in blood glucose levels.
9. Chia Seeds- Soaking chia seeds creates a gel that has good water binding capacity and freeze-thaw ability that is comparable to soluble fibers like guar gum and gelatin. The soluble fiber content of chia seeds makes it a remarkable anti-diabetic super food. Use it morning porridges or smoothies and see a difference in your weight as well as blood glucose levels.
10. Coriander Seeds or Dhania key beej- Traditional Indian household practices include drinking water with soaked coriander seeds because it is said to keep blood glucose levels in control. In a study published in The British Journal of Nutrition, it was found that the extracts from coriander seeds contain certain compounds that suggest blood glucose lowering potential. Drinking a glass of water every morning in which a teaspoon of coriander seeds has been soaked is a holistic way to treating diabetes.
It is noteworthy that all super foods are beneficial as antioxidant rich foods that may have antidiabetic effects. But, medications should not discontinue without doctor’s prescription and benefits of these foods are primarily targeted towards obese and type 2 diabetes patients and not type 1.
BeatO(Diabetes Management System) suggests these 10 superfoods as an anti-diabetic favorite foods. Make sure to discuss further on the potential benefits of these super foods with our diabetes educator and include these in your daily meal plan for an appreciable blood glucose profile.
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. Buddha