Maintaining a healthy diet is an important part of keeping diabetes under control, and while this may sound difficult or complicated, it really isn’t.
BMS Organics’ Nutritionist Cammie Tang’s diabetic diet guide below outlines some of the things you should and shouldn’t consume if you’re diabetic. While there are other things you should consider if you’re diabetic, the list below will get you off to a good start.
1. Add Colour
Increase your intake of a variety of fruits and vegetables in different colours to help to maintain your health and provide you with essential daily nutrients. A good example of this is BMS Organics Vegetarian Café’s 5 Colours Energy Lei Cha:
Black – Enriches the blood (organic black sesame) / protein-rich (organic black fungus)
White - Rich in vitamin C, E and carotene (organic cabbage) / helps with digestion and increases appetite (organic white radish)
Red – Strengthens the heart, liver and eyesight (organic carrots)
Green - Rich in vitamins and minerals (organic lettuce) / heat diuretic (organic cucumber) / strengthens the immune system and is cathartic (organic long beans)
Yellow – Good for the stomach, bowel, blood and qi (organic millet) / reduces blood sugar , prevents cardiovascular disease (brown rice) / improves function of the brain and blood, kidney, spleen (cashews)
2. Drink Organic Tea
Tea contains polyphenols. Studies suggest that it helps to increase insulin activity. A 2009 Dutch study showed that drinking three cups of tea a day can reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes by 40%. Another study that compared tea drinking with drinking caffeinated beverages or water showed that participants in the two hours after drinking tea had their plasma glucose concentrations significantly reduced and insulin levels also increased significantly.
3. Say No to the 3 Whites
Refined white sugar - Refined white sugar in general has almost no nutrients and long-term consumption camn be harmful to one’s health. Use organic non-refined sugar as an alternative (to be taken in moderation) - it contains minerals and trace minerals from natural sugar cane and does not contain any artificial chemicals.
Refined white salt - Refined white salt is salt that has gone through complicated processes tthat removes minerals and also contain additives to prevent it from caking. Consuming too much of this can cause high blood pressure, dehydration, constipation and other health problems. Switch to organic sea salt or rock salt which may be pricier but they are the healthier alternative as they contain no chemical additives, and still contain mineral and trace elements.
Refined white flour and white rice - Refined white flour and white rice can easily lead to fluctuations in blood sugar. It is best to substitute these with no-bleach flour and wholegrain rice as they still contain all the goodness that are eliminated in the processing of refined white flour and white rice and contain fatty acids, minerals and vitamins, help prevent constipation, colon cancer and maintain colon health. Compared to refined carbohydrates , wholegrain rice lowers blood sugar fluctuations thus helping to keep diabetes at bay.
4. Consume millet , buckwheat and brown rice
Millet - Millet is more suitable for patients with diabetes because it contains high fiber which can help to stabilise the release of sugar into the blood and to avoid a sudden increase in blood sugar levels. A study published in the February 2009 issue of "Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry" journal also shown that millet helps manage insulin resistance, type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Buckwheat carbohydrates – It contains amylose and amylopectin. It has a slower digestion rate than other types of carbohydrates, thus helping to control blood sugar.
Brown rice - Brown rice is wholegrain hulled and unmilled rice that is untreated and contains the two nutrients - fiber and magnesium which have been shown to regulate blood sugar. Studies have shown that brown rice instead of refined white rice can help reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes .
5. Use pure grape seed oil as cooking oil
Grape seed oil does not contain trans fatty acids, genetically modified ingredients or artificial preservatives. It helps to improve cholesterol levels and prevent the accumulation of arterial plaque. Therefore, it reduces the risk of heart disease and strokes.