Pre-Diabetic? Steps to take immediately
Pre-Diabetic is a condition marked by abnormally high blood sugar levels, most often due to insulin resistance. The body does not use the insulin efficiently and can give rise to full blown diabetes. This can definitely be managed by interventions with diet and lifestyle changes.
Diet intervention involves including foods that can help understand how to reduce blood sugar levels. Include foods like:
Complex carbohydrates:Consumption of these low-glycaemic carbohydrates results in sustained blood sugar levels and prevents insulin spike ensuring the foods eaten are not stored as excess calories in the body. It also helps in sustained energy levels. Low glycaemic foods include –
• Whole grains and cereals like jowar, bajra, dalia, naachni , rajgira
• Dals such as toor dal, moong dal, urad dal, chana dal, masoor dal
• Pulses such as kabuli chana and kala chana
Exercising portion control: It is equally important to monitor the quantity of the carbohydrate consumption to avoid the carbohydrate load leading to increased blood sugar levels. Hence it is imperative to be mindful and limit the amount of carbohydrates eaten at one time – which helps us realise how to reduce blood sugar levels. Half of your plate must include fibre coming from veggies and salads, ¼ plate with protein and ¼ plate with complex carbohydrates.
High quality proteins: Make sure you include lean chicken, fish, eggs, raw nuts, raw seeds, beans, legumes, milk and milk products like paneer and curd. Ensure 3 servings of protein a day, it helps to reduce blood sugar levels and prevents cravings.
Fibre-rich foods: These add bulk to the diet, helps with a feeling of fullness, helps in detox process of the body and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. These include whole grains, legumes, non starchy vegetables especially green leafy vegetables such as turai (ridged gourd), dudhi(pumpkin), parwal (pointed gourd), methi (fenugreek), paalak (spinach), bhindi (okra), baingan (brinjal) and fruits such as apple, pear, orange, sweetlime, guava and papaya and snacks like moong sprouts and kala chana salad.
Magnesium-rich foods: This may help in and help us understand how to reduce blood sugar levels. Magnesium-rich foods include almonds, cashews, black beans, dark green leafy vegetables, especially spinach, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Omega 3-rich foods: These can help with insulin sensitivity and help balance blood sugar levels. These include alsi (flax seeds), walnuts and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel.
Tips to help balance blood sugar levels
While you make changes to your diet, it is important to also make changes to your lifestyle to avoid transitioning to diabetic stage. Here are some pointers that can help you:
• Meal gaps should not be more than 2-2.5 hours
• Meals should be frequent and small
• Consume a serving of protein and fibre 15 minutes before consuming carbohydrates
• Have your first meal of the day within half an hour of waking
• Methi (fenugreek) seeds soaked overnight act as insulin sensitisers.
• Exclude processed foods such as breads, biscuits, margarine and processed meats
• Good water intake regularly distributed throughout the day is a must to maintain good blood circulation, reduce damage to blood vessel and also prevent catabolism
• Avoid or limit alcohol, these can spike the blood sugar levels and are dehydrating as well
• Cut down on sugary drinks as well as diet sodas. They lead to high sugar spike and increase cravings.
• Consume cinnamon water, cinnamon helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.
• Add fermented vegetables like carrots, cucumber, cabbage and cauliflower. They loaded with beneficial bacteria that help to balance blood sugar levels.
• Exercise regularly, this helps the insulin to function efficiently and balance blood sugar levels.
• Ideally avoid refined and high sugar foods.
• Ensure good sleep, poor or lack of sleep can cause imbalance in blood sugar levels and increase cravings.
High blood sugar levels and or high insulin levels can be managed with diet and lifestyle measures. The transition to full-blown diabetes can be avoided by making these changes as soon as you hear of your diagnosis.
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