Festive season is on and it’s time for celebrating India’s biggest festival, Diwali. This year Diwali happens to fall on 14th November which is also celebrated as World Diabetes Day. So, let us all come together and share not just gifts and goodies but also some awareness on diabetes.
In the long-term, diabetes can increase the risk of heart diseases, stroke, high blood pressure, lead to nerve damage, kidney damage, skin problems and many disabling complications.
The increased prevalence of diabetes can be attributed to a combination of genetic factors along with environmental and lifestyle changes. According to the Global Burden of Disease report, unhealthy eating is the number one cause of deaths globally.
However, there is always light at the other side of the tunnel. According to the WHO, 80% of cases of diabetes can be prevented by developing healthy eating habits, staying physically active and avoiding tobacco.
Uniformly distribute your intake of carbohydrates across various meals to avoid steep fluctuations in blood sugar. Also have regular meals with fixed meal timings. Don’t skip any meal.
Have foods with low glycemic index (GI). Glycemic index indicates the blood sugar raising effect of a food . For example, if a person consumes a food with GI of 70, the blood sugar would increase over a two hour period by 70% as compared to sugar level rise after consuming the same amount of pure glucose.
A food with a low GI (55 and below) provides a minimal increase in blood glucose whereas, foods with a high GI (above 70) leads to a rapid rise in blood sugar and hence should be avoided.
Cereals like wheat and rice, banana and root vegetables, colas and noodles have a high GI (65-75%) and fruits have an intermediate GI (45-55%). Milk and milk products, soyabean, legumes, pulses and dals have a low GI (30-40%) and are hence beneficial to diabetics.
Mixing foods that have low and high GI values lowers the overall GI of a meal. For example, you can add veggies to upma, poha, rice, and parathas. Or you can add different dals to rice-based recipes like khichadi, pongal, bisibele rice, pulao, dhokla, and dosa.
While you are at it, minimize the use of processed foods and avoid refined flours. Prefer whole grains and millets. Add flaxseeds and fenugreek seeds powder to your chapatis. Go for unpolished rice and brown rice.
Make high fibre meals with whole grains, pulses and legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables, flaxseeds, fenugreek seeds, oatmeal, and guar gum everyday. These help in slow stomach emptying and delay the transit of food in the intestines, which reduces the rate of absorption of glucose and lowers blood sugar rise.
A high fibre diet gives satiety and consequently leads to decrease in food intake which inturn helps to lose weight.
Add cinnamon, cardamom, saffron, nutmeg and fruit concentrates to perk up the sweetness of your desserts. You can replace refined sugars with honey, dates, and figs.
Bake goodies at home rather than purchasing from bakeries. This will help cut down not only on sugars but hydrogenated oil, dalda, and vanaspati oil and reduce your risk of getting cardiovascular diseases.
Here are some desserts you can try making it home this Diwali: orange oats rabdi, apple pancakes, lauki halwa, apple kheer, dates and nuts roll, anjeer roll, besan and ragi laddus this festival.
Someone rightly said, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Start this Diwali, make it special by cooking healthy balanced meals, control your portions to get the required poshan (nutrition) and keep yourself and your loved ones away from diabetes.