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Diabetes: Dietary tips to reduce blood glucose level

Pheelina Bhujel Dietitian Diet Clinic, Dept. of Medicine Central Referral Hospital, 5th Mile Tadong,

Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic metabolic disorder that doesn’t spare anyone, be it child, adult or old people. It is a condition characterised by raised blood glucose concentration. This is due to failure in formation of insulin or body doesn’t use the insulin.
There are three types of diabetes mellitus:
1. Prediabetes- Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
2. Type 1 Diabetes - Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition. In this condition, the pancreas makes little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone the body uses to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy.
3. Type II Diabetes - Type 2 diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes is an impairment in the way the body regulates and uses sugar (glucose) as a fuel. This long-term (chronic) condition results in too much sugar circulating in the bloodstream. Eventually, high blood sugar levels can lead to disorders of the circulatory, nervous and immune systems.
A person with diabetes mellitus complains of excessive thirst, frequent hunger, weight loss and increased frequency and amount of urine, so look out for these symptoms. Here are some tips which help to control blood glucose level:
1. Low carb diet- Carbs in food, if not eaten along with protein and fats, make your blood glucose level go higher. A recent national study conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) based on 18,090 adults has shown that low carb diet reduces the risk of diabetes. Counting carbs in foods and drinks is an important tool to manage blood glucose level. Your diet should contain complex carbs such as oats, brown rice, millets, dalia, quinoa and whole wheat grains.
2. Dietary fiber- Fiber in complex carbs and green leafy vegetables promotes weight loss and lower the risk of diabetes mellitus. It increases satiety, reduces cravings and keeps you fuller for longer time. Eat a variety of healthy fiber rich foods such as spinach, mustard leaves, watercress, ferns, pumpkin stems, and legumes like beans, chickpeas and lentils.
3. Fenugreek seeds- Fenugreek seeds contain mucilaginous fiber which improves insulin sensitivity and improves blood sugar level. The seed can be taken as such after overnight soaking in water or in powder form, 15 minutes before meal. The fenugreek seeds can be incorporated in preparations such as chapatti, rice, dal and vegetables.
4. Bitter gourd- Most of the people doesn’t like bitter gourd but the compound, polypeptide-P (insulin-P), present in bitter gourd aids in regulation of insulin levels which in turn manages blood glucose level. It can be taken as juice, boiled, sautéed, streamed or stir fried.
5. Gurjo/giloy- Gurjo is said to be useful in managing type II diabetes mellitus. In Sanskrit, it literally means ‘destroyer of sugar’. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, anti-allergic, anti-malarial and anti-diabetic properties. It helps in the production of insulin. Take the stems and leaves of gurjo, crush it and boil in water. Drink it first thing in the morning.
6. Fruits with low glycemic load- Fruits have a whole lot of nutrients and fiber but mainly carbohydrates that can spike your blood glucose level if you eat in more than what is required. Pick fruits that have low glycemic load such as apples, berries, avocado, peaches, pears and plums.
7. Saying no to sugar-Sugar in any form, be it brown sugar, white sugar, caster sugar, honey, jaggery or sugar in beverages, should be avoided. As sugar contains empty calories and contribute to more calories than your body needs. Too much sugar leads to weight gain which increases the risk of getting type II diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Sugar is naturally found in fruit and vegetables so it is better to eat whole fruits and vegetables rather than having juices, sweets or chocolates containing sugar.
8. Physical activity- A good physical activity or exercise helps in good control of diabetes mellitus. Exercise helps to maintain weight, heart function, control of blood lipids and glucose level. In addition, it is also known to reduce stress which enhances the quality of life. Atleast 30-45 minutes exercise should be done in a day. Walking, bicycling, swimming, jumping rope, yoga and strength exercises should be encouraged.
In case of Gestational Diabetes, it occurs in women during pregnancy but the blood glucose level returns to normal after delivery; but many women develop diabetes mellitus in later years due to poor food choices and sedentary lifestyle.
Take diabetes seriously and learn how to manage it. People often make bad choices in food options, lead sedentary lifestyle and is not active at all. It is important to keep your blood glucose level in control in order to prevent or delay long-term serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, kidney disease and many other conditions. Poorly controlled diabetes mellitus can cause damage in nerves and blood vessels in the feet leading to poor blood circulation and ultimately diabetic foot. If you feel numbness, tingling sensation, pain in legs or no pain at all, it’s a warning sign for you to visit your respective doctor.
You should control your diabetes otherwise it will control you
At Central Referral Hospital, dietitians support people to improve their health by providing expert nutrition and dietary advice. A dietitian can help you manage health conditions, such as:
• Diabetes
• Hypertension
• Heart disease
• Renal disease
• Dialysis
• Cancer
Diet Clinic at Central Referral Hospital also offers customised meal plan and food chart.
Visit: Diet Clinic, Level 3, Central Referral Hospital, Tadong, Gangtok.


Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi