Diabetes Diet – What to eat and what to avoid, to manage diabetes well.
Updated: Apr 13, 2022
Diabetes Mellitus is a condition that is more commonly known as simply diabetes. It’s when your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to control the amount of glucose, or sugar, in your blood.
Also, Diabetes Mellitus is a condition that hinders your body’s ability to respond to insulin, which eventually leads to abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, leading to spiked blood sugar levels.
Ayurveda mentions that Vata dosha is responsible for all the micro and macro movements in the body, whereas Pitta dosha is responsible for digestion and metabolism and lastly, Kapha dosha is responsible for strength and growth. Diabetes is caused due to the imbalance of Kapha and Vata doshas.
Dietary and lifestyle mistakes that cause Diabetes as per Ayurveda are Excessive consumption of Kapha aggravating foods like curd and its preparation, milk, and its preparation, jaggery, sugarcane, carbohydrate-rich foods, repeated food intake, sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activities and exercises, excess sleeping, genetic factor, stress, fear, and long-standing illness.
Eating certain foods and limiting others can help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. For people with diabetes, the key to a beneficial diet should include fruits and vegetables, lean protein, avoiding food with added sugar, avoiding trans fats, and limiting processed and ultra-processed food as much as possible.
Include fruits and vegetables – Green leafy vegetables like Spinach and Kale are key plant-based sources of potassium, Vitamin A, and Calcium. Other vegetables that can be included in your diet are cabbage, broccoli, bitter gourd, carrot, beans, pulses, beetroots & Fenugreek (both seeds and leafy vegetables)
Starchy vegetables should be consumed in moderate portions since vegetables like corn, potatoes, and yams are high in carbohydrates and can directly affect blood sugar levels.
Fruits that you can safely include in your diet are apples, avocados, blackberries, cherries, grapefruit, peaches, pears, plums, strawberries, and gooseberry or amla. Avoid high sugar fruits like watermelon, pineapples, very ripe bananas, and dried dates.
Include lean protein – Fish, Chicken, and Tofu are some of the widely known sources of lean proteins. Other sources of lean protein include low-fat yogurt, dry bean, peas, lentils, cottage cheese, egg whites, and low-fat milk.
Include spices – Spices like Turmeric, Cinnamon, Mustard, and Coriander in daily diet may help in managing diabetes more effectively. Curry leaves are known to boost insulin activity, and ginger is best to accelerate digestion and reduce the Kapha dosha.
Avoid saturated and trans fats – Fried and processed foods like fries, chips, and baked goods contain saturated and trans fats which should be avoided by diabetics.
Avoid refined sugar and sugary drinks – It’s needless to say, refined sugar and sugary drinks should be avoided by diabetics since they may disrupt a person’s insulin levels.
An ideal rule of thumb to follow for people with diabetes and no other health complications to follow is having – ¼ plate lean protein, ¼ plate starchy vegetables or whole grains, and ½ plate non-starchy vegetables.