Is there a diet for diabetes? What exactly is diabetics and what foods should a Diabetes patient be eating? What foods should diabetic patients be avoiding? Can diabetes improve or be cured by the right diet? Everybody needs to do some body exercise more especially diabetic patients. The best diabetes diet can be found in African foods.
What is Diabetes? Types of Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition where the body is not able to produce enough insulin or the body is not responding to the insulin in the body making the blood have too much or little sugar.
There are two types of diabetes.
The type 1 diabetes is when the body cannot produce enough insulin
The type 2 diabetes is when the body is not using its insulin or the body is not producing the required insulin properly. The most common one to most diabetic cases is the type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is linked to blood sugar levels and it is very important that people with diabetes manage their blood by keeping the sugar in blood under control. Some African foods are really good at managing and lowering blood sugar levels.
Foods not to eat with Diabetes
Fried food like french fries, processed food, junk food, fatty food, sugar, dried fruits, sweetened breakfast cereals, processed grains ie white rice or white flour. Canned food is a very bad choice especially the ones packed in syrup or in brine. Carbohydrates convert to sugar in the body. Foods high in carbohydrates (yam, cassava, white potato, and white bread) should be avoided or highly reduced.
Foods with sugar should be avoided
Drinks to avoid are fizzy drinks, sugary beverages, flavoured coffee, sweetened yogurt
Foods to eat with Diabetes
The best diabetes diet would be a diet that does not raise the blood sugar in the body. Here are some African food that can help.
Green Plantain – unripe plantain is known as green Plantain, it is in the banana family, only it is bigger than a banana and cannot be eaten raw. Green Plantain is low in sodium and calories, high in fibre and rich in potassium, magnesium, vitamins A, B6 and C. Always eat the completely unripe plantain, ripe or partly ripe plantain converts to sugar in the body.
Beans (Cowpea) – is high in protein and iron, it also contains vitamin B and magnesium. Cowpeas balance sugar levels in the blood.
Sweet potatoes – are lower in glycemic index than the regular potato. This means that the sweet potatoe will not convert into as much sugar in the body as the white potato will. A very good food to manage sugar in the body.
Okra – Popularly called ‘ladies finger’ contains Calcium, folic acid, vitamins B and C. Okra is high in fibre and low in calories. It is has antioxidants, lowers cholesterol and it lowers blood sugar. This makes an excellent food option for a person diagnosed with diabetes.
Kiwi fruit – has low calorie, it is rich in vitamin C, potassium and fibre. Kiwi helps a lot in lowering blood sugar.
Oats – is high in fibre, contains magnesium, vitamins B and E. Oats is so good at regulating blood sugar that it could reduce the amount of insulin injections a diabetes takes.
Okra soup – chop or grate the okra. Pour chopped Okra into boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes.
Okra stew – Make a tomato sauce with your choice of meat or fish. While it is boiling, add chopped okra and simmer for 5 minutes.
Oatmeal porridge -mix 1 cup of oats in 11/2 cups of cold water, bring it to the boil mixing consistently. Let it cook for 5 minutes, add water to make it into your desired thickness and serve. Make your oatmeal porridge without sugar. Sweeten it with fresh fruit such as kiwi and nearly ripe bananas.
Oatmeal fufu – Use oat flour and boiled water. Add 1 cup of oat flour to 11/2 cups of boiling water. Using a wooden spoon, mouldy it into a thick dough. Pour 1 more cup of water on the mould and bring it to the boil. Mix water into the mould to make a nice and smooth fufu. Serve with Okra soup, ewedu soup, edikaikong or efo riro.
Plantain porridge – Chop unripe plantain into 1 centimetre cubes. Boil it in water with onions, spices and fish. When plantain is nice and soft add chopped fresh green vegetable such as spinach, Ugwu or kale. Add 2 tablespoons of palmoil and simmer for 5 minutes. You can serve it hot or cold.
Plantain fufu – can be made using 3 methods (1) From plantain flour: bring water to boil, pour in plantain flour and mix into a thick dough, pour in some more water and boil for about 10 minutes. While still on the cooker, mix into the desired consistency. (2) chop raw plantain into 1 centimetre cubes, put the cubes in a blender, pour in some water and blend into a smooth paste. Pour the smooth paste into a pot, boil and mix it contstantly till it is cooked. (3) Boil chopped plantain till very soft, blend and serve. Serve plantain fufu with ewedu soup, okra soup or efo riro.
Beans porridge – boil the beans with some onions, pepper, 2 tablespoons of palm oil and little or no salt till soft. Mix and serve.
Bean soup – boil beans with salt and onion till very soft. Blend boiled beans into a smooth paste and serve.
Kiwi fruit smoothie – peal and chop up kiwi fruit. Put the cut pices into a smoothie maker with some other chopped fruit such as banana and oranges. (Optional: add a tablespoon of oat flour) Blend and serve.
Start your diet journey today and watch the sugar count in your blood improve.
To Start eating oatmeal fufu and plantain fufu click on any of the links below
I would like to know what you think of these meals and if you did give any of them a try, how did it go? Or if you have a question please leave a comment below.