Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. 

Studies regarding diabetes suggest that insulin can get deficient inside the body either due to the destruction of cells producing insulin or due to the resistance of receptors of insulin.

Types of Diabetes

There are two categories of diabetes, depending on the situation:

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

It is also called Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM) because, on increasing the level of insulin, all body functions do not return to normal.

In this case, it is an autoimmune disease where antibodies get formed against own body cells and receptors. These antibodies destroy receptors and hence respond slightly to elevated insulin levels. Symptoms develop early, so children are the ones who get diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes the most. However, it can affect adults too.

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

It is also called Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM). One can avoid type 2 diabetes by making healthy choices and lifestyle modifications. However, increased blood sugar levels persist in your bloodstream when there isn’t enough insulin or when cells stop responding to insulin.

Not regulating sugar levels over time can lead to significant health issues like heart disease, eyesight loss, and renal illness. Although there is no cure for diabetes, decreasing weight, eating healthy foods, and exercising can help manage blood sugar and its side effects.

Diabetes is one of the twenty-first century’s most severe health crises worldwide, ranking among the top ten causes of death with cardiovascular disease (CVD), respiratory disease, and cancer. As there is no cure for diabetes, people can only prevent diabetes or reduce its impact by opting for a healthy lifestyle with a specific focus on a diet. 

Type-2 diabetes is a global problem, but this takes its most severe form in India. According to a 2017 survey, India became the diabetic capital of the world as 72.9 million adults in the country had diabetes. It means that one in three Indians is affected by diabetes.

This article discusses some diabetes-friendly lunch ideas.

The HealthifyMe Note

Diabetes is a metabolic condition when blood glucose levels are consistently high. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are the two sub-types of diabetes, depending on the underlying causes. Your meals should include fibre and/or protein-rich foods such as oats, green leafy vegetables, pistachios, almonds, artichokes, berries, barley, flax, quinoa and ragi, beans, lean chicken, whole grain bread, brown rice, eggs, etc.

Best Diabetes-Friendly Lunches That Are High in Fibre

Fibre can reduce the risk of diabetes as it remains undigested in the digestive tract and prevent sugar spikes due to carbohydrate breakdown.

As a result, fibre helps in keeping blood sugar in the normal range. Soluble and insoluble are the two main types of fibre. Both contribute significantly to controlling diabetes.

According to a study published in August 2016 in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, in persons with type 2 diabetes, soluble fibres helped raise insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar, and lower cholesterol.

Fibre can also make you feel full and satisfied, which can help you lose weight. This effect may aid in preventing type 2 diabetes in the first place.

Researchers have found that 30 grams of fibre per day can help prevent diabetes when paired with a low-fat diet. Foods that are rich in fibre reduce the risk of diabetes. Here is a list of some –

Green and Leafy Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables are high in fibre and super low in simple carbs. For this reason, these are one of the ideal food choices for patients who have diabetes.

Green leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce, etc., can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes as they are rich in fibre and have high polyphenols and vitamin C concentrations. One such lunch idea you can prepare is spinach with low-fat paneer or a dal with mixed greens, served with whole grains like millet roti.

Vegetables with a Hummus Dip

These plant-based meals are a good source of fibre. Hummus is a popular and favourite dip, especially among the people of middle eastern countries.

It is made from boiled or soaked chickpeas and blended with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. It is a favourite among all healthy eaters across the world.

You can pair hummus with raw vegetables such as bell peppers, cucumbers, olives and carrots. You can also use it as a spread for multigrain wraps with chicken or paneer along with the raw vegetable salad. 

People consuming hummus have shown a higher healthy eating index. Moreover, research shows hummus dip is one of the best snacks to reduce diabetes risk. 

Avocados

Avocados also serve the same function of improving the health condition of diabetics. According to research, avocados provide soluble and insoluble fibres and benefit the heart as they contain omega-3-fatty acids. 

According to the USDA, a ¼ cup serving of avocado contains more than 2 g of fibre. In addition, this nut also has a low-glycemic index making it one of the best choices to reduce any risk of diabetes.

To use avocados for lunch, add avocado slices to your green salad or use avocado as filling for your sandwich.

Whole Grain Wheat Bread

Whole grain wheat bread is a better and healthier alternative than white bread as they are rich in fibre. Hence, they reduce the chances of increasing diabetes.

Recent studies confirmed that men and women who ate whole-grain wheat bread had a reduced risk of type diabetes. These researchers found that men with a high whole-grain intake had a 34% decreased risk of diabetes while men with a high whole-grain intake had a 22% reduced risk.

One can include a whole grain bread sandwich with a protein such as chicken, egg, and paneer, and fibre-rich veggies such as lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes.

Black Bean Salad

Black bean salad is a great lunch idea for a diabetic that adds flavour and health benefits. Combine boiled black beans with veggies and add lemon, salt and pepper to taste.

Half a cup of black beans contains approx 6 g of fibres, giving satiety and maintaining sugar levels post lunch. Furthermore, black beans are also a good source of protein, thus making them an excellent addition to a diabetic and non-diabetic meal.

Lentils

Fibre makes up about half of the carbs in lentils, which can help keep blood sugar levels constant. According to the USDA, cooked lentils include 7.9 grams of fibre and 116 calories per 1 cup serving, making them an excellent source.

They provide soluble fibre in particular and help reduce blood sugar levels, making lentils one of the most potent sources to help reduce any risk of diabetes.

A diabetic lunch can include lentils in the form of soups or dal, or curries paired with whole grains and salads.

Artichokes

Artichokes are soft, tasty, and fibrous. According to the USDA, a 12-cup serving of artichoke hearts has around 4.8 grams of fibre, making them a decent source.

They are also rich in potassium and magnesium, which reduce blood pressure, along with being a good source of vitamin C and folate. A serving of the same size has only 8 carbs and 35 calories.

A study also noted that eating boiled artichoke decreases blood sugar and insulin levels after 30 minutes of its consumption. Thus, artichokes are perfect for reducing the risk of diabetes. 

You can have a boiled artichoke for lunch, which will help regulate your post-meal sugar levels.

Berries

Berries are high in antioxidants and fibre. Of course, any kind of berries will benefit, but raspberries and blackberries are the best options for insoluble fibre choices. According to the USDA, 1 cup of either blackberry or raspberry contains about 3g fibre and 15g carbohydrates. 

Studies have also confirmed that these berries may be suitable for blood sugar level management by enhancing insulin sensitivity and improving glucose clearance from the blood.

For lunch, you can have a berry fruit salad or can try dishes like blackberry basil pizza.

Peas, Oats, and Barley

Including peas, oats, and barley in your lunch, dinner, and other meal plan makes an excellent choice for people with diabetes as they are rich in fibre. In addition, these items, especially green peas, have a glycemic index rank of 22, which is low, thus helping reduce blood glucose levels. 

The HealthifyMe Note

Consuming fibre-rich foods for lunch can be one of your best options if you have diabetes. Some of the fibre-rich food ideas are: A salad with dark greens, brussels sprouts, baked sweet potatoes, millet khichdi, and cooked lentils are all good fibre-rich meals you can have to avoid or reduce the risk of diabetes.

Diabetes is a condition in which one should avoid overprocessed and junk foods. As a result, it controls the spikes in blood glucose levels. Therefore, a combination of whole grains, fibres, and protein is ideal for diabetes-friendly lunch ideas.

Conclusion

Diabetes is a chronic disease characterised by prolonged elevated sugar levels inside the body due to malfunctions of normal body metabolism.

One can avoid type 2 diabetes by making healthy lifestyle changes such as decreasing weight, consuming nutritious foods, and exercising. Type-1 DM is relatively rare and occurs in only 5% of the diabetic population; the rest are people suffering from Type-2 DM. DM-1 and DM-2 can be improved by adopting a healthy lifestyle and adhering to a well-balanced diet plan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Q. Are bananas good for people with diabetes?

A. Bananas are healthy and nutritious fruit abundant in carbs and sugar, which cause blood sugar levels to rise. As a result, people with diabetes should consume bananas in moderation as part of a well-balanced diet.

If you have diabetes, eating too many bananas will be counterproductive and dangerous to your health. Food that triggers blood sugar increases must be avoided or minimised despite being nutritious. As a result, a person with diabetes should avoid eating bananas regularly.

Q. What’s a good breakfast for a person with diabetes?

A. Foods that are low in carbohydrates and do not spike blood sugar levels are great for diabetics to include in their diet. Eggs are one of the meals close to perfect for people with diabetes to take for breakfast. They are a delightful, adaptable, and healthy breakfast option. Greek yoghurt is also a good option. Chia seeds, oatmeal, multigrain cereal, and wheat bran cereal are a few other alternatives. Almonds, vegetables with hummus, avocado, and sliced apples with peanut butter are good breakfast items for people with diabetes.

Q. Are eggs good for a person with diabetes?

A. Eggs are a better alternative for people with diabetes as they are low in sugar and do not affect the normal carb metabolism. Also, it is rich in proteins, amino acids, and other essential nutrients. Hence eggs form a primary component of the diet of a diabetic person and are considered suitable for them. However, many studies contraindicate this fact. For example, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, eating one or more eggs per day can increase the risk of diabetes by 60%. 

Q. What is normal blood sugar by age?

A. Normal blood sugar level depends on many factors. Age is one of them, and hence it varies with age. The normal blood glucose level for adults without diabetes is 90 to 110 mg/dL.

  • For zero to five years, it ranges from 100-180mg/dL.
  • For six to nine years, it ranges from 80-140mg/dL.
  • From ten years onwards, it ranges from 70-110mg/dL.

Q. Is honey good for people with diabetes?

A. Switching from refined sugar to honey may help lower blood glucose levels by increasing insulin levels and thus improving blood sugar control. In addition, the researchers credit honey’s reduced glycemic index (GI) score and potential to reduce inflammatory indicators and improve cholesterol levels. Honey is also high in antioxidants.

Q. What fruits to avoid if you have diabetes?

A. Fruits contain a large amount of sugar and thus are rich in carbs. So, a person with diabetes should always keep this fact in mind and eat fruits in moderation. Especially sweet fruits should be avoided and not consumed in excess as they may cause the onset of uncontrolled diabetes. Sugar content is higher in dried fruit, fruit juice, and certain tropical fruits like mangoes. Therefore, limiting amounts of these or eating these items less frequently may be beneficial. In addition, sugar is present in some canned fruits, and some contain syrup. Hence it is best to avoid such canned juices. 

Q. What time should people with diabetes stop eating?

A. Mealtimes for most diabetics should be spread throughout the day as follows: Diabetes patients must consume breakfast within an hour and a half of waking up. After that, eat every 4 to 5 hours. If you are hungry in between meals, have a snack. According to some experts, not eating for two hours before bedtime helps prevent high blood sugar (glucose) levels, thus reducing the risks of health issues like diabetes and heart disease.

A high-protein, low-fat snack before bedtime, on the other hand, may assist persons with diabetes control their blood sugar levels overnight. Throughout the night, everyone’s blood sugar levels fluctuate. In the morning, these changes can produce high blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia in persons with type 1 or 2 diabetes.

Q. Is coffee good for diabetes?

A. Some research suggests that drinking caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee may lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, if you already have diabetes, caffeine’s effect on insulin action may be associated with higher or lower blood sugar levels. According to some studies, caffeine in coffee may impair insulin sensitivity, which is undesirable for people with diabetes.

Q. Which bread is best for people with diabetes?

A.Whole grain or 100% whole-wheat bread is best for people with diabetes. White bread contains sugar and highly processed white flour. Many types of bread also contribute to the list due to their low sugar content. Sourdough, for example, even when prepared with white flour, contains less sugar. The GI of both light and dark rye bread is low.

Q. Is cheese OK for people with diabetes?

A. Regarding diabetes and health in general, cheese that is high in fat and salt is a complex topic. While many people love cheese as part of their diet, the American Diabetes Association recommends reduced-fat variations over full-fat varieties. For example, low-fat cheeses like cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella are high-protein options that help control blood sugar. In addition, cheese has a low glycemic index (GI), which slowly releases glucose and does not cause blood glucose rises.

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