According to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are 77 million Indians above the age of 18 who are suffering from diabetes (the second highest in the world after China). With it increasing at an alarming rate amongst all age groups, it’s important for diabetics to keep things under control with diet being one to do it.
Here are some diet tips by an expert:
Balance carbohydrates: As people age, their metabolism tends to slow down, and they may be less physically active. Therefore, it becomes even more important for the elderly to choose complex carbohydrates that are digested more slowly, providing a steady release of glucose into the bloodstream. This helps prevent sudden spikes or drops in blood sugar levels.
Control portion sizes: Adults often have decreased appetites or reduced calorie needs. Monitoring portion sizes becomes crucial to avoid excessive calorie intake or the risk of malnutrition. Using smaller plates and bowls can help manage portion sizes and prevent overeating.
Include lean protein: Adequate protein intake is important for maintaining muscle mass, promoting wound healing, and providing essential amino acids. As people age, they may be more prone to muscle loss, making it essential to include lean protein sources such as skinless poultry, fish, tofu, eggs, and beans in their meals.
Emphasize fibre-rich foods: Fibre plays a vital role in managing blood sugar levels and promoting gastrointestinal health. Including fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can help regulate digestion, prevent constipation, and provide a feeling of fullness.
Limit saturated and trans fats: The elderly population often faces an increased risk of cardiovascular issues. Therefore, it's important to limit unhealthy fats, including saturated fats and trans fats, which can contribute to heart disease. Choosing healthier fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil can help maintain heart health.
Select low-fat dairy: Calcium and vitamin D are essential for maintaining bone health, which becomes increasingly important as individuals age. Opting for low-fat or fat-free dairy products like skim milk, low-fat yoghurt, and reduced-fat cheese provides these nutrients without adding excessive saturated fats.
Increase vegetable intake: Non-starchy vegetables should be emphasized in the elderly diet due to their low glycemic index, high fiber content, and abundance of vitamins and minerals. These vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and zucchini, provide vital nutrients while being lower in carbohydrates.
Avoid sugary beverages: As people age, their thirst sensation may diminish, making it important to prioritize hydration. It's essential to choose beverages wisely and avoid sugary drinks like soda and fruit juices, as they can lead to blood sugar spikes. Opting for water, unsweetened tea, or infused water is the best way to stay hydrated without adding unnecessary sugar.
Limit sodium intake: Adults, with age, may be more susceptible to high blood pressure and fluid retention. Reducing sodium intake by avoiding processed and packaged foods can help manage these issues. Instead, using herbs and spices to enhance the flavour of meals can reduce the need for added salt while still making the food enjoyable.
Regular meals and snacks: Establishing a consistent eating schedule with balanced meals and snacks is important for the elderly population. This helps maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day and prevents hunger-induced overeating or prolonged periods without food. Regular meals and snacks can also help manage medications that need to be taken with food.
So, keep them in check with the blood sugar levels on the right balance.
Inputs by Dr. Rohini Patil, MBBS & Nutritionist
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