Nutrients that help control diabetes

Posted on July 31, 2009. Filed under: Diabetes/diabetic recipe | Tags: , |

Fibre binds glucose, thus slowing its absorption and preventing a quick rise in blood glucose levels. It also helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels and avoid diabetes related complications like heart disease.
Sources: Whole cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables, sprouts.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects our body against damage from free radicals, thus reducing the risk of developing degenerative diseases and diabetes-related complications. It also improves the action of insulin and helps to lower blood glucose levels. A sign of severe vitamin C deficiency, common to diabetics, is delay in wound healing.
Sources: Citrus fruits like orange, sweet lime, and pineapple, and vegetables like cabbage, lettuce, capsicum, etc.
Potassium improves insulin sensitivity and fosters optimum glucose utilisation. A potassium-rich diet also reduces the risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis.
Sources: Leafy vegetables like spinach, fenugreek. Fruits like figs, citrus fruits and cereals like wheat, bajra, ragi etc.
Magnesium plays a pivotal role in the secretion and function of insulin.  Magnesium deficiency is common among diabetics and can lead to complications like heart disease, eye damage, high blood pressure, and obesity.  Adequate magnesium intake improves the action of insulin, betters glucose tolerance and reduces the stickiness of red blood cell membranes.
Sources: Milk, cereals, soya bean, green vegetables, and dry fruits.
B-complex vitamins- Deficiency of B vitamins can lead to nerve damage in the hands and feet leading to numbness and tingling. Vitamin B6 deficiency has been linked to glucose intolerance, which is an abnormally high rise in blood glucose levels after eating.  People with Type I diabetes develop antibodies that attack and destroy the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas; Niacin (vitamin B3) seems to help protect such cells from attack.
Sources: Cereals, vegetables, milk, pulses, yeast, egg, sprouts, etc.
Folic acid is required to produce red blood cells and helps convert homocysteine (a harmful amino acid that causes heart diseases) into methionine, which protect the heart and reduces the risk of developing heart disorders, a long-term complication of diabetes.
Sources: Green leafy vegetables like spinach, pulses, tomatoes, carrots, etc.
Zinc- Diabetics usually have low zinc levels since it is lost in urine and hence it is advisable to eat zinc rich foods necessary for maintaining the insulin producing cells.
Sources: Cereals, pulses and legumes, dry fruits, etc.
Iron does not have a direct relation with the disease, but plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and maintaining normal blood flow. This avoids accumulation of glucose in one part of the body, which would otherwise lead to complications like cataract, and kidney disorders. Maintaining normal blood circulation also ensures availability of nutrients and oxygen to each part of the body, especially the heart.
Sources : Cereals like wheat, ragi/nachni, pulses, soya bean, leafy vegetables like spinach, methi, and colcocasia.

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