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Foundations of Diet for Diabetics for Better Immunity

Low Glycemic Index foods a

Whichever type of Diabetes you have, unless you have other serious medical complications, a healthy diet is always recommended first to monitor it. It will help you control your blood sugar (glucose), maintain a healthy weight, and even prevent heart complications and hypertension.
Eating healthy also has the benefit of improving your immunity as a diabetic’s chronic inflammation, which leads to hyperglycemia, can cause dysfunction in the immune system. Here we explore the basic foundations a diabetic can follow to improve their immunity.1

  1. Low Glycemic Index foods are key
    For a diabetic, not all carbohydrates affect their blood glucose the same. One way to test it is by trying equal portions of carbs of one kind to another and measure your blood glucose after. The ones that do not raise it much are Low GI foods and are the carbs you should be eating. Easiest example would be replacing Myanmar favorite white rice with a medium GI brown rice or low GI Basmati or Black Rice portion. The alternative is to look at comprehensive lists of foods and their GI and when shopping to read labels.1

    If you feel like your overcareful food choices are too limiting, you can use nutritional supplements to top off. For example, nutritional supplements such as Glucerna per serving is packed with protein, fiber, essential vitamins and minerals to fill in where you are missing. Glucerna is also low on the GI spectrum so you do not have to worry about each serving raising your blood glucose levels. 2
  2. Fresh Food options are always better
    The less processed the food is (packaged, added sugar, added sodium), the more essential nutrients it retains. Though canned beans may have had some nutrients added back in, it also comes with other additives that should not be consumed in large amounts. Fresh beans retain their satiating fiber and powerhouse zinc. It will support your white blood cells to better fight off infections.3, 4
  3. Prioritize Protein
    As for meat options, a couple of slices of cured meat or other types of ham may look like meat options, but they contain unhealthy fats and excessive sodium. Opt for omega-3 fatty acid rich salmon or fresh fish. Protein can also be gained from nuts (Brazil Nuts, Walnuts, Almonds, Sunflower Seeds) which also provide selenium that supports thyroid
    function with additional Vitamin E for antioxidant properties.3, 4
  4. Always look for Healthy Alternatives
    Instead of reaching for popular junk foods, reach for vitamin C, B6, and E rich fruits and vegetables (lemon, oranges, tangerines, strawberries, capcicum, kale, etc.). Fresher foods deliver the essential nutrients that help the body fight off infection without the extra calories. You can also get your fiber content to keep bowel movement healthy and hunger satiation. For example, fresh carrots are rich in Vitamin A, which aids various cellular processes in the body for the immune system.3, 4
  5. When in doubt, follow the Healthy Plate Principle
    If weighing, precise measuring, or having to count individual pieces of food seems difficult to get used to, you can follow the healthy plate principle. To visualize better, get a plate with portion indents, commonly seen in cafeterias. Rotating the variety in each group, ¼ must be grains, ¼ must have a protein, and the main ½ must be fruits and vegetables. The grains portion is where you should get the majority of your carbohydrates. This helps in not overloading on proteins or fats. Keep in mind the basic food groups as it will help you get your daily recommendation of nutrients and make feeling satiated simpler.1

References:

  1. https://abbottfamily.com.sg/articles/diabetes/back-to-diet-basics#
  2. https://glucerna.ca/en/products
  3. https://blogs.webmd.com/diabetes/20210112/immune-boosting-foods-for-diabetes
  4. https://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes/immune-boosting-foods-for-peoplewith-diabetes/

    Supplemental Readings:
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-diet/art20044295
  6. https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/type-2-diabetes/meat-on-diabetes-diet