Nutrition and diabetes
Proper nutrition is an important element of prevention of various diseases. At the same time it is extremely important for people who already suffer from such diseases as diabetes. An appropriately balanced diet delays or even prevents unpleasant consequences of this disease. Thus, people suffering from diabetes should consciously compose their meals and, if necessary, correct bad nutritional habits.
Diversity and regularity of meals
A diet does not mean strict discipline and giving up favourite delicacies. Yet, it certainly should be diverse and based on healthy products. Giving up alcohol and cutting down on coffee is no 1 requirement. More fruit and vegetables should be introduced. Animal fats (butter, lard) ought to be replaced with vegetable fats with addition of increased consumption of fish containing polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega acids).
Proteins in diabetic diet should come from animal products (lean meat, ham, fish) and vegetables (e.g. pulses). Simple sugars (glucose, fructose) should be replaced with compound sugars (disaccharides, polysaccharides), which release energy slowly. It is better to choose nuts or almonds instead of a chocolate bar or a sweet. Fruit and vegetables also make a perfect snack, since they contain valuable fibre and flavonoids which stimulate insulin production. It is also very important to eat meals regularly so that the daily menu consists of 6-7 portions.
Dietary supplements which do not contain lactose, but oligofructose (e.g. Colon Control), which fulfils probiotic function in the digestive system, positively influence intestines. Advantageous qualities of an artichoke should not be ignored, since this vegetable’s glycaemic index is only 18. Thus artichokes are used in the slimming processes due to their low energy value and fat content as well as high amount of fibre and substances boosting digestion. Extract of their leaves is also recommended to diabetics, since inulin contained in artichokes helps to keep appropriate level of sugar in blood, and chlorogenic acid increases glucose tolerance and reduces sugar absorption in the digestive system.
Preparations based on white mulberry leaves (e.g. Zuccero) also bring positive effects, since they regulate sugar absorption. White mulberry leaves contain substances which reduce functions of the enzymes, which decompose compound sugars to simple sugars, thanks to which part of carbohydrates remain unabsorbed in the digestive system. It results in reduction of a glucose level in blood after meals. What is more, substances contained in white mulberry contribute to reduction of cholesterol and triglycerides, due to which these substances are used in prevention of atherosclerotic processes. They also enhance treatment of the disease thanks to anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities.
In diabetes prevention and treatment one should not forget about unique qualities of Swedish herbs composition, which contain, among others, angelica, ginger, calamus, cardamom or common mullein. These are mainly gentian and aromatic-bitter ingredients as well as essential oils influencing digestion processes. Their ability to stimulate digestive juice production boosts absorption of nutritious elements from food.
Alternative for gourmands
Those who cannot do without sweet drinks should replace sugar with honey or sweeteners (mainly those containing sodium saccharin and sodium cyclamate). Stevia, which has been popular in South America for a long time, is also gaining popularity in Europe. It is an extract of the Stevia rebaudiana plant – totally natural sweetening substance. Stevia is available as powder, pills or liquid. Its definite advantage is no energy value, thanks to which it does not increase the content of glucose in blood. At the same time its sweetening power is ca. 300 higher than sucrose. However, it should be remembered that sugar substitutes should be used in moderate amounts even if they are healthier.