Diabetes is characterized surplus glucose levels in blood. Glucose is obtained from the carbohydrates we consume. Our pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin that breaks down the glucose and allows body cells to take in the glucose. When less amount of insulin is produced by pancreas, glucose collects in blood, resulting in type 1 diabetes. Also glucose builds up in blood when body cells become non-responsive to insulin. This is true in the case of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes requires timely diagnosis, or else it may cause serious damage to heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and nervous system. Heredity, obesity, lack of physical activity, stress, nutritional deficiencies, any disease of pancreas, over-intake of carbohydrates are factors contributing to diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes
1. Frequent urination
2. Increased appetite
3. Increased thirst
4. Rapid weight loss
7. Poor concentration
8. Blurry vision
9. Delayed healing of wounds
10. Intense itching around genitals
11. Yellowish urine with an acidic, sweet odor
Diabetes Diet and Nutrition Tips
A proper nutritional and dietetic planning is very necessary for diabetes. One should chalk out a meal chart and follow it religiously. Increasing the intake of starchy vegetables, cereals like black beans, garbanzo beans and breads are advisable. One may take at least six servings of starch-based food per day. More and more consumption of citrus fruits are needed. They help to check obesity. Fruits like apples, apricots and pears should also be taken for they reduce the body’s demand for insulin. Lemon juice without straining, a glass of salty buttermilk can give diabetics a diversion from boring diet.
Saturated fat consumption can prove harmful for diabetics, for they increase cholesterol levels and make the patient more susceptible to heart attacks. Therefore meat and dairy product consumption should be strictly avoided. Food cooked in vegetable oil and olive oil are good for patients, for they are a rich source of mono unsaturated fat. The patient may feast on fresh vegetables like spinach, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumber, turnips, carrots, bitter melon etc. The patient is to avoid sugar consumption, and can use sugar-free synthetic sweeteners to satisfy his or her sweet tooth.
Fiber-rich diet is very essential for diabetics, for such diet slows down intestinal glucose absorption and cleanses the lower gastrointestinal tract. Legumes, kidney beans are rich in soluble fibers. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains would suffice to the patient’s nutritional needs and this is the first thing that should be kept in mind while planning the diet for a diabetic.