What are Super foods?
Super foods are nutrient power houses that pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals.
Eating super foods may reduce the risk of chronic disease, and prolong life, and people who eat more of them are healthier and thinner than those who don’t.
Let us learn the impact of these super foods on diabetes.
Even before we get in, let’s look at the statistics
Diabetes mellitus is a major public health problem everywhere in the world. According to statistics in India over 30 million people are diagnosed with this lifestyle disorder. The prevalence rate is 9% and 3% in urban and rural areas respectively. This number is expected to increase gradually if the necessary precautions are not taken care.
Even though we live in a drug-oriented culture, most of them have realized that food is really a best medicine. In most of the lifestyle disorders, poor diet is either a direct cause or a significant factor. Choosing the right foods really does make a difference, especially if you are one among those 30 million Indians who have diabetes.
Most of you may know that cutting down sugars, sweets and desserts is a good choice if you have diabetes because they have more of simple carbohydrates. Having good amounts of raw vegetables and salads is another good choice because they are high in fiber and can help reduce blood sugar levels. But cutting down sugars and including raw foods are not the only solution for a healthy diabetes diet. Research shows that eating a nutritious diet along with exercise and maintaining normal body weight, can help prevent diabetes.
Now, let’s look at those 5 super foods which are known to have a profound impact on diabetes.
Have you ever thought of cinnamon as a medicine? Did you know that cinnamon was used in traditional medicines since ancient times. It helps lower blood glucose levels in people with diabetes and increases the amount of insulin produced in the body as little as 1 gm/day.
Millets, being whole grains release lesser percentage of glucose over a longer period of time. Thus lowers the risk of diabetes. A recent study found the low glycemic index millet-based breakfast was effective in significantly reducing post –prandial glucose levels as compared to rice-based breakfast. They even provide other nutrients like magnesium, chromium, omega-3 fatty acids and Folate.
The Magnesium present in these millets is a co-factor in various enzymes involved in the secretion of insulin and metabolism of glucose in the body.
Fenugreek, commonly known as ‘methi’. These seeds contain an alkaloid trigonelline and another compound known as choline. These seeds have been reported to be diuretic, and hypoglycemic in nature.
4-hydroxyleucine, an amino acid from these seeds also glucose stimulated insulin release by isolated islet cells. Theses seeds are used as an adjuvant in the control of type 2 diabetes.
These little diabetes-busters are bursting with healthy fats, vitamins and lots of minerals. They can reduce the rise in blood glucose after the meal, as they have a GI lowering effect- they reduce the overall GI of a meal. A low GI diet has been shown to reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes and help in its management. Nuts also help to manage other health issues that often affect people with diabetes like, weight management, heart disease and high blood pressure.
It is commonly called as karela. It contains three active substances with anti-diabetic properties, including charantin, which has blood glucose-lowering effect, vicine and an insulin-like compound know as polypeptide-p. These substances either work individually or together to help reduce blood glucose. Bitter gourd also contains lectin that reduces blood glucose concentrations by acting on peripheral tissues and suppressing appetite-similar to the effects of insulin in the brain. Thus lectin is the major factor behind the hypoglycemic effect that develops after consuming (any form) it.