As we gear up for the winter season and unpack our woollens it is also the time to start planning for a nutritious diet for the colder season. People with diabetes especially need to eat healthy to build immunity against infections and also manage them blood sugar levels during the season which may go awry due to change in our daily habits. Due to cold mornings and evenings, many people may become less active and skip their walks due to which blood sugar levels can spike. Also, to beat the cold, people may find comfort in high-calorie foods which can be problematic for diabetes management.
Being mindful about what you are eating and including the right ingredients can help you manage your glucose levels in the winter. There is no dearth of seasonal fruits and vegetables that could help control diabetes wonderfully.
“Diabetes is one of the most prevalent medical conditions in India. As per the reports, about 98 million people in our country would have diabetes by 2030. But the good news is that diabetes can be prevented as well as managed. You can manage your blood sugar levels by simply tweaking your diet along with making some minor lifestyle changes,” says Dr. Siddhant Bhargava.
Here are some foods suggested by Luke Coutinho, Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle – Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine, Founder of You Care – All about YOU and Dr. Siddhant Bhargava, Fitness and Nutritional Scientist, Co-Founder- Food Darzee that people with diabetes can eat during winter:
Known as Indian gooseberry, amla is powerful for Type 2 diabetics. It is rich in chromium, stabilizing blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity. Also, it is packed with Vitamin C that has antioxidant and immunity-boosting properties, both of which benefit people with diabetes. One can have amla in the form of murabba, pickles, candies, chutneys, or juice, or eat it as is with a sprinkle of black pepper powder.
Consuming beetroot is beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes. Rich in fiber and essential minerals such as potassium, iron, manganese, and phytochemicals, beetroot helps in lowering blood sugar and regulating insulin levels in the body. You can include beetroot in your diet by mixing it with coconut and making soup, or you can simply go for beetroot hummus.
Winter is the best time to enjoy a hearty meal made out of bajra. This rustic grain is rich in fiber and ranks low on the glycemic index compared to other grains and cereals. Plus, it is one of the most satiating grains, which helps control portions. Add lentils or any legume, turning the meal into a complete protein. One can make rotis (flatbreads), laddoos, crackers, or even khichdi from bajra. That said, it’s recommended to make a decision based on how your body responds to bajra.
Purple, orange, red – whichever variety of carrots you get your hands on, add this root veggie to your plate. Carrots contain a unique indigestible fiber that helps slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream and promotes a feeling of fullness. This means if we strategically eat one fully-grown raw carrot before lunch and dinner, it can prevent chances of overeating the main course. No overeating means better control over post-meal blood sugar surge. You can include carrots in your diet either by consuming them raw as a salad or making carrot ginger soup and gajar ka murabba.
● Fresh turmeric root
Fresh turmeric root is usually available in abundance during winter. Curcumin, the active compound found in turmeric, has a positive impact on controlling blood sugar levels and is highly anti-inflammatory. Diabetes is an inflammatory disease, and anything that can quell inflammation in the body is of great significance in any diabetes management protocol. In addition, studies suggest that curcumin can improve insulin resistance, hyperglycaemia, and hyperlipidaemia (high cholesterol and triglycerides.). The easiest way to consume turmeric root is to grate it, sprinkle lemon, salt, and black pepper and consume a spoonful of it with your meal. One could also add a few drops of ghee or coconut oil to make the nutrients more bioavailable.
Orange is considered a superfood for diabetic people. Owing to their low glycemic index, you can incorporate oranges across dishes such as salads and homemade juices.
Cinnamon not only has excellent healing properties but also manages blood sugar levels. Packed with antioxidants, it helps in reducing the oxidative stress in the body that aggravates the risk of diabetes. Cinnamon also normalizes levels of both glucose and triglycerides, reducing the risk of diabetes and several heart diseases. Have cinnamon thyme tea or prepare yourself for cinnamon oatmeal pancakes.
“Does this mean that eating the above foods will reverse your diabetes? No. Diabetes needs a multifactorial approach. No one magic food or mineral can stabilize your blood sugar levels, but a combination of lifestyle changes revolving around nutrition, movement, activity, emotional health, sleep, and recovery that puts you on a path of better control over blood sugar levels, inflammation, and insulin resistance,” concludes Luke Coutinho.