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6 essential nutrients for diabetes

Good nutrition not only controls glucose levels but also keeps you energetic. Here are the essential nutrients for diabetes that should be a part of your daily diet.

Your food habits have a significant impact on your overall health, especially when it comes to managing your blood sugar levels. For example, following a high-potassium diet can increase heart risks in people with diabetes. However, consuming a fibre-rich diet can help control blood sugar and aid weight management, which may be a common challenge for diabetics. This is the reason why it is important that people with diabetes get the right nutrients in the right amount. This will not only manage blood sugar levels but can also help improve your overall health.

6 essential nutrients for diabetes

Now you know why you need to keep a check on your diabetes diet. Check out these 6 essential nutrients that should be added to your daily diet:

1. Fibre

Fibre can help regulate blood glucose levels and slow down sugar absorption, according to a study published by the Public Library of Science Medicine. There are two types of fibres, soluble and insoluble. “Soluble fibre is found in fruits, beans, and oats and helps manage blood sugar levels by slowing the rate at which sugar enters the bloodstream,” explains Nutritionist Dr Rohini Patil. Insoluble fibre, found in whole grains and nuts, aids in digestion and promotes a feeling of fullness, which can help with weight management.

A woman eating salad
Eating high-fibre fruits and vegetables helps with managing diabetes. Image courtesy: Freepik

2. Magnesium

Magnesium plays a vital role in insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. Research published by the World Journal of Diabetes indicates that people with diabetes often have low magnesium levels. And magnesium deficiency can increase the risk of poor glycemic control. Leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are packed with magnesium and can help maintain better blood sugar control.

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3. Vitamin D

In addition to being crucial for the immune system and bone health, vitamin D may also play a role in glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. According to a study published by Curēus, low levels of vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, to manage diabetes, you should maintain a sufficient intake of vitamin D through sun exposure and consuming fortified food, fatty fish, and eggs.

4. Chromium

It is a trace mineral that enhances the action of insulin and is essential for maintaining normal glucose metabolism. “Chromium supplementation has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and lower fasting blood glucose levels,” says Dr Patil. Green beans, broccoli, barley, oats, and almonds are good sources of chromium.

Also read: Pistachios for diabetes: 7 benefits to keep blood sugar levels in check

5. Zinc

Although a study published by the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, reveals that zinc is a crucial vitamin for controlling blood sugar, it also suggests that more evidence is required to support this fact. However, when consumed in the right amount, zinc plays a role in the production and secretion of insulin, controlling blood sugar levels. Foods rich in zinc include meat, shellfish, legumes, seeds, and nuts.

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Manage diabetes with zinc-rich foods. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

6. Potassium

Potassium helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals. It also plays a role in controlling blood pressure, which is crucial for people with diabetes who are at a higher risk of hypertension. A study published by the Expert Review of Endocrinology and Metabolism reveals that lower levels of potassium is associated with a higher risk of diabetes. You must eat foods high in potassium, which include bananas, oranges, potatoes, tomatoes, and spinach.

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Antioxidants are also important!

Apart from all these nutrients mentioned above, antioxidants also help combat oxidative stress, which is higher in people with diabetes and can lead to various complications, according to a study published by the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. Vitamins C and E, along with beta-carotene, are potent antioxidants. They can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, such as berries (such as strawberries, and blackberries), citrus fruits, carrots, and spinach. Incorporating these foods into the diet can help protect cells from damage and improve overall health.

9 tips to manage blood sugar levels

While it is important to eat a healthy diet to manage diabetes, here are some other ways to help you keep blood sugar levels in check:

  • Keep a check on your blood glucose levels to understand how food, exercise, and medications affect your blood sugar levels.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help maintain blood sugar control and prevent dehydration.
  • Focus on a balanced diet rich in whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • To manage blood sugar levels, avoid processed foods and sugary drinks.
  • Take your medications as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
  • Proper foot care is crucial to prevent infections. So, check them daily for any cuts, blisters, or swelling.
  • If you have a habit of daily smoking, quit it today to manage insulin resistance.
    Engage in physical activity such as walking, cycling, or swimming, to help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Stress can affect blood sugar levels, so practice meditation, yoga, or deep-breathing exercises to manage it.

Make sure you are following these tips and consuming foods rich in the above-mentioned nutrients to manage diabetes.

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