Summer season can be harsh for people with diabetes as they tend to get dehydrated more quickly than others which could cause their blood sugar levels to rise. Their body may not be able to naturally cool down effectively too as certain diabetes complications can damage blood vessels and nerves, thus affecting one’s sweat glands. Extreme heat can also change how your body uses insulin making regular monitoring of blood sugar levels important. (Also read: Diet for diabetes: 6 healthy foods to control your blood sugar levels)
Drinking enough liquids, choosing right diet to manage blood glucose and having foods that naturally cool down the body is a must for a person with diabetes.
“The scorching summer can dehydrate the body which can add on to the complications. Dehydration and low water intake can also lead to higher blood sugar levels. Hence, along with tracking your eating habits and making healthy food choices, good hydration can also help in keeping blood glucose levels in safe range during summers,” says Dr Meghana Pasi, Nutrition Consultant MyThali program, ArogyaWorld.
Here are some nutrition tips suggested by Dr Pasi:
1. Choose healthy carbohydrates: Eat non-starchy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and beans, low fat milk and milk products which have a low Glycemic Index (GI) and lead to slow release of glucose in the blood. Avoid refined sugars and flours.
2. Add fibre to your meals: Fiber helps in lowering blood sugar levels by increasing the digestion time and absorption of sugars in the blood. Veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes have high fiber content.
3. Have fruits: Eating fruits will not just help to quench thirst and feel refreshed in hot weather but they are also wonderful for good nutrition. Summer fruits and veggies like watermelon, tomatoes, spinach, cucumber, celery, berries, bell peppers don’t just provide enough hydration, they also are rich in fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin A and potassium, calcium, magnesium and antioxidants like lycopene and anthocyanins. Watermelon and cucumbers contain more than 90% water.
4. Eat mangoes in moderation: Diabetics can also relish mangoes in their meals but be wary of the portion sizes. Fruits should be eaten in moderation. Try to swap roti and rice portions with them and include protein sources like legumes, chickpeas, peas, beans, paneer, fish and eggs to reduce the GI.
5. Have a balanced thali: Include cereals, grains, dal, fish, eggs, veggies and curd in the right portions to make a healthy nutritious balanced thali.
6. Do not eat all carbs in one go: This will lead to faster release of sugar in the blood and spike blood glucose levels.
7. Some meal options to try: Multigrain chapatti wrap with chickpeas and bell pepper stuffing, chana chat loaded with tomatoes and cucumber, cucumber sticks with hummus, watermelon-cucumber-paneer-lettuce-olive oil salad, spinach-corn-hung curd grilled sandwich are some of the summer meal options for people with diabetes.