Several studies show that if you keep your blood sugar close to normal reading — fasting blood sugar between 80-100 mg/dl and post meal blood sugar below 140 mg/dl — you can reduce your risk of diabetic complications. If you haven’t controlled your blood sugar in the past, it is never too late to begin. Begin with these tips:
Eat lower glycemic index meals. These meals release carbohydrates slowly and prevent a raise in blood sugar after the meal. For instance, if you are eating sticky rice, switch to long grained rice (basmati) or brown rice as these raise blood sugar slowly. If you aren’t eating rice and still have a problem, switch to barley, oats or jowar rotis.
Other low glycemic index foods are kabuli chana, chana dal, skimmed milk, curd, all green vegetables.
Try to eat 3/4 th of your capacity.
Take a 20-minute (moderate paced) walk after your meal. But make sure you check with your physician first (as some cardiac patients are advised not to walk soon after the meal).
Make sure you take your ‘before meal’ diabetic medicine as prescribed.
Make note of the days when your post meal blood sugar is high. If it happens when:- a) you haven’t walked or exercised or been less active, b) when you have eaten white bread, naan, rumali roti, pizza, c) or when you have had a stressful day.
Include 1 tbsp of alsi seed powder in your lunch and dinner. It will lower the glycemic index of the meal and provide you with the much needed essential fat.
Take 1 tsp of methi seed powder and ½ tsp of cinnamon powder before the meal.
Eat small, frequent meals instead of 2-3 large meals.
Weight Reduction: Reducing 3-4 kg helps reduce sugar levels.
Exercise regime: It is important to include daily exercise in your routine. A simple 30-minute walk can go a long way.
Avoid Alcohol: Alcohol provides (7 kcal/ gm) almost as much calories as fat (9 kcal /gm) in the body.
Quit smoking: About 25 per cent of newly diagnosed diabetics are smokers. Smoking increases the risk of heart attacks, increases cholesterol levels, causes nerve damage and kidney diseases.
These tips will help you reduce diabetic complications, and if you monitor your blood sugar regularly in addition to taking your medicines on time, eating right and exercising well, you will be able to stop the progressive degeneration of your condition.
Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.