The instances of Type 1 and 2 diabetes in children are rapidly increasing in India. As a parent, it is vital that you are aware of the preventive measures. And, what better prevention than food?
By Ashwin Dewan
Diabetes is on the rise – shockingly, in children. Once a lifestyle disease that affected only adults is now common among children. Lack of a balanced diet, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are some reasons that have contributed to an increase in the number of cases of diabetes in children.
1) Type 1 diabetes: The immune system attacks the pancreas and destroys the insulin-making cells.
2) Type 2 diabetes: Pancreas can still make insulin, but the body doesn’t respond properly. This type increases your child vulnerable to several health conditions that include high blood pressure and heart disease.
Of the above-listed reasons for diabetes in children, diet can play a major role. By making certain dietary changes in your child’s diet, you can help prevent diabetes in her.
Try to make available healthier alternatives in the food choices that will reduce your child’s risk of getting diabetes. But how can you make the jump from unhealthy food that children love to healthy food? Getting children involved in the selection process is one way. Another would be to include protein along with carbs. This article looks at certain foods that can help.
Adding fermented foods like yogurt to your child’s diet like yoghurt can keep her healthy and improve immunity. Yoghurt, especially the Greek variety, is high in protein that makes one feel full and prevents large blood sugar spikes. Even though yoghurt contains natural sugars, ensure you read labels to avoid excess sugar-filled ones.
2) Pumpkin seeds:
Pumpkin seeds are rich in heart-healthy fat along with vitamins and minerals. The high magnesium content in them help combat the inflammation associated with diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes.
They are also rich in plant chemicals – lignans, which help the body use insulin more effectively. They also contain globulins, which help to lower blood sugar.
3) Brown rice:
Diabetes prevention calls for inclusion of more fibre in the diet. With rice being the staple in many households, carbohydrates are the predominant nutrient we consume every day. So, how do you increase fibre intake? Choose brown rice over white rice. It helps stabilise blood sugar levels. Brown rice is also rich in magnesium and fibre, and given its low glycaemic rating, can help reduce insulin spikes.
Berries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fibre. They also have a low glycaemic index, which makes them a superfood for diabetics. The common jujube and the gooseberry (amla) are high in vitamin C. This nutrient is particularly essential to diabetics as they prevent heart disease and stroke. Berries are also rich in fructose content – a natural sugar, which does not require insulin to be metabolised.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away – goes an old saying. Apple may even help in preventing diabetes. Most fruits are prohibited for diabetics because of the sugar content but consuming apples in minimum quantities can help as they are rich in quercetin – a plant pigment. Quercetin helps the body secrete insulin efficiently and wards off insulin resistance that is the hallmark of type 2 diabetes.
Apples also contain soluble fibre, which is thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect that may help diabetics recover faster from infections.
Even though it may seem strange, Vinegar can play a part in preventing diabetes. It contains acetic acid, a compound that can lower blood sugar and insulin levels after your child eats carbohydrates.
According to an article published in DLife, acetic acid inhibits the activity of many carbohydrate-digesting enzymes, which includes sucrase and lactase. Thus, when vinegar is present in the intestines, some sugar and starches temporarily pass through without being digested leading to less impact on blood sugar levels.
Asparagus is low in calories, high in fibre and contain antioxidants, which reduce inflammation and balance blood sugar levels by improving insulin secretion. Asparagus extract exerts anti-diabetic effects as well.
Preventing diabetes in children might is not difficult provided you make certain healthy changes to her diet and lifestyle. Getting diabetes at an early age might be difficult for children and their future life may be affected by the condition. Start ways to prevent diabetes at an early age so your child can lead a happy and healthy life.
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