Aarti Mehta is my daughter-in-law and Arpan’s wife who is a Doctor and is practicing in Dubai.
She wants to send a note of advice on Mindful Eating and what that means to us as Diamond people who spend a maximum of our time behind our desks. Please read her article with great care as she has specially written about how health is to be taken care of in the best possible manner!
Tips to improve blood sugar control
-Dr. Aarti Mehta
1.Start checking your sugars.
Glucose monitoring on a meter is a vital part of managing Diabetes. Measuring and monitoring sugars allows you to become aware of how different foods affect your insulin and blood sugar levels. As a whole, I’ve seen that patients usually steer away from certain foods that have been tarnished as increasing blood sugar levels “mangoes, bananas, chikoos, and most importantly rice”. However, I have found that with the majority of my patients, these foods do not increase blood sugar levels as much as expected within specified quantities. Some grains or fruits may increase sugars more than others, and each individual will react differently, so monitoring is the key to discern which foods keep sugars under control. If you find one type of food is increasing your sugar, reduce that quantity by 50% rather than stopping it.
What are the target blood sugar levels?
Fasting < 120mg/dl
2 Hours Post Meal <180mg/dl, but ideally aim for <140mg/dl
Starting off your morning with a breakfast like granola, croissants, poha, upma, idli, dosa, bread, biscuits, toasts, rusks and khakra all will increase your blood sugars, your insulin levels and will put you at risk of feeling hungrier and less satisfied all day.
What foods contain carbohydrates?
Breads, bagels, noodles, pasta, rice (of all types), wheat, whole grains (jav, jowar, ragi, nachni, bajra), semolina, buckwheat, cornflakes, granola, muesli, muffins, puffed rice, crackers…
How should I reduce my carbohydrates?
Start off by reducing your carbohydrates by 50%, for example, if you currently eat 3 rotis, reduce that to 1.5. Many studies have shown that low carb diets help reduce insulin spikes and help control blood sugar levels.
What should I eat instead?
Add in healthy fats like avocado, nuts, olive oil.
Add in protein & vegetables.
What are the benefits of protein?
1.Contrary to popular belief, protein helps you to feel full for a much longer period than do carbohydrates. So, in relation to reducing the carbohydrates, increase protein to maintain satiety and fullness
2.Protein does not increase blood sugar levels
3.Protein helps you to maintain muscle mass; it improves skin texture, as well as immunity.
What if you have kidney disease?
Internationally validated guidelines including the NICE guidelines have stated that even in stage 4 kidney disease, it is absolutely vital to continue to eat 0.8gm/kg protein per day. If you weigh 70kg, you are to consume 54 grams of protein a day.
Examples of quantities of protein in daily foods:
1 Bowl thick daal – 6 grams protein
1 bowl thin daal – 3 grams protein
Handful of nuts – 8 grams protein
Dhokla (4-5 pcs) – 2 grams protein
1 cup milk – 8 grams protein
1 cup yoghurt – 6 grams protein
1 glass chaas – 2-3 grams protein
1 cup sprouts – 8 grams protein
1 slice of cheese – 6 grams protein
½ cup tofu – 10 grams protein
Dietary fiber is essentially the carbohydrate in plants that your body is unable to digest. Fiber is absolutely essential for gut health, but nearly 90% of the population do not meet fiber requirements. Both soluble and insoluble fibers are important for gut health, digestion, satiety and have been shown to improve cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that increasing the amount of fiber helps to reduce blood sugar and improve insulin functioning.
Which foods are high in fiber? Black beans, avocados, sweet potato, peas, broccoli, pears, kidney beans, figs, nectarines, carrots, apples, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, slow cooking oats and barley.
What are the exercises that I require?
1.Walking, running, jogging and playing sport is a great way to make our heart and lungs stronger, also called cardiovascular exercise. This type of activity will help to reduce blood sugar levels for 1 hour AFTER the activity.
2.Building muscle is the second and most important exercise to help reduce blood sugar levels. The more muscle you have, the more your blood glucose (sugar) will go inside the muscle, and this happens 24 HOURS a day, even when you are sleeping!
3.Flexibility – yoga, stretching. It is important to get in flexibility at least 1/week.
How much exercise is enough?
Studies have shown that even ten minutes is better than nothing! If you are currently doing no exercise, start off with 10 minutes a day. Gradually build up to at least 150 minutes of exercise a week.
6.Start building muscle
Every year, after the age of 25, both men and women tend to lose a percentage of muscle every year unless they try to actively build it up. Studies have shown that men can lose upto 30% of their muscle by age 50. Why is muscle so important? Muscle is the most metabolically active tissue in the body. The more muscle, the more your blood sugar levels come down, even when you are asleep!
Intermittent fasting is a great pattern of eating to reduce insulin resistance. Ideally, one should fast for 16 hours (while keeping hydrated), and eat for 8 hours. Consult your doctor before intermittent fasting so your medications can safely be altered.
An increase amount of stress in the body will increase cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone involved in ensuring your body is ready to fight any stressful reaction. It will hold onto fat, increase sugar levels, as well as increase blood pressure.
What are some to reduce stress?
1.Journal your thoughts for ten minutes before you sleep.
2.Daily meditation for ten minutes
3.Use 20 minutes of the day to do something you enjoy doing that is gadget free.
9.Improve your sleep quality
Why is sleep so important?
Not getting adequate good quality to sleep alters the hormones involved in sugar control, blood pressure, appetite and hunger modulation, as well as blood pressure. Studies have shown that individuals who sleep less than 4-5 hours a day can consume an excess of up to 400 calories per day; the majority of which come from trans fats, and refined sugars.
How shall I improve my sleep quality?
1.Put your gadgets and TV to sleep at least 1 hour before you sleep. Reducing gadget time post sunset will ensure you go into deep sleep much quicker after you fall asleep. Deep sleep is extremely important for body restoration and reparation.
2.Increase daytime sunlight exposure
3.Keep your last cup of caffeine before 3pm.
Over 60% of your body is made of water, and keeping hydrated is important for proper functioning of each cell in your body from removing wastes, to lubricating your joints, to maintaining body temperature. A lack of proper hydration leads to many symptoms such as unhealthy skin, fatigue, exhaustion, lack of energy, dizziness, frequent headaches, and poor immunity. Especially when blood sugar levels are high, as some water will be drawn out with sugar in the urine, hydrating yourself during this time is vital.