According to WHO, ~ 422 million people are affected with Diabetes, globally. Besides, did you know that India is second only to China with 77 million Indians suffering from this chronic illness? However, studies state that you can prevent and reverse diabetes by adopting a plant-based diet. 

Why is plant-based food effective for diabetics?

When you consume meals that have a high level of fat, your cells get clogged. This obstructs the function of insulin to flush out the excess glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. With an excess of sugar building in our bloodstream, it fails to provide the energy to our cells which eventually causes diabetes. Plant-based diets are low-fat and high in fiber, protein, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and other vital nutrients that increase the ability of insulin to power the cells and in turn regulate the blood sugar level in the body. 

Here is the list of plant-based food that will work wonders in preventing, managing, and even reversing Diabetes: 

1. Protein-rich food 

  • Tofu 
  • Soy 
  • Pulses 
  • Nuts 
  • Seeds
  • Peas 
  • Lentils 
  • Chickpeas 
  • Peanuts 

How it works?

Plant-based food, rich in protein, regulates glycemic levels, especially in Type 2. So, food with a low Glycaemic Index (GI) is highly recommended for Diabetics, especially for the ones living with Type 2 diabetes. However, please remember some food items such as chocolates have a low GI but you must stay away from them because they are high in calories and can lead to weight gain. We don’t want to trigger another problem while still taking care of Diabetes. 

2. Fiber 

  • Kidney beans 
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Citrus foods such as grapefruit, oranges, and lemons 
  • Kale
  • Artichoke
  • Avocados 
  • Broccoli 
  • Berries 
  • Pears
  • Oats

How it works?

To understand how it works, let’s first understand the types of Fiber i.e., soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber which comes from food such as Oats becomes sticky which assists in reducing the absorption of cholesterol. On the other hand, insoluble fiber which is generally found in whole grains doesn’t completely break down in the digestive tract which ensures bowel regularity. Also, fiber is essential to regulate the glycosylated hemoglobin levels in Diabetes. 

3. Iron

  • Legumes 
  • Peas
  • Beans 
  • Pumpkin and Sesame seeds
  • Cashews
  • Leafy green vegetables 
  • Tomato
  • Mushrooms 
  • Olives 

Contrary to the common belief, that only red meat and seafood help meet the iron requirement, plant-based food provides the necessary iron.  Did you know that the daily iron requirement of the body is between 12mg and 15mg? Iron intake can help in both Type I and Type II Diabetes. If you are a fan of bread, you can opt for whole-grain bread over white bread. Do you want to meet the daily healthy dose of Iron in your breakfast itself? Try bran-based cereals. One serving of bran-based cereal contains 12mg to 18 mg of Iron. 

4. Vitamins B12 and Vitamin C

  • Fortified bread, cereals, and energy bars 
  • Soy
  • Almond, rice, and coconut milk 
  • Bell peppers
  • Berries 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Sweet lime, oranges, and lemon

Add these foods to your diet to enjoy the perfect balance of vitamins. With these healthy plant-based vitamin-rich food, who needs meat?

5. Calcium  and Vitamin D 

  • Dark leafy vegetables (the darker, the better)
  • Soy milk
  • Beans 
  • Cereals 
  • Mushrooms 
  • Almonds 
  • Kale 
  • Red kidney beans

Calcium and Vitamin D are like true partners who keep your bones healthy and strong. People who have chronic difficult-to-manage Diabetes always run a risk of developing osteoporosis which makes them prone to frequent bone fractures. The healthy balance of calcium and vitamins maintains healthy glucose metabolism. The recommended dietary allowance of calcium intake is 1,000 mg per day.

We hope you have a healthy, and diabetes-free life!