Diabetes diet for the elderly: Be mindful of what you eat!

Diabetes diet for the elderly: Be mindful of what you eat!

The prevalence of diabetes in the elderly has been increasing steadily. This makes it a major health concern in India. Hence, a systematic approach is necessary to manage this condition. Eating right is the first and foremost way for elders diagnosed with diabetes to manage the condition effectively. Sometimes, people with diabetes find it challenging to make the right and healthy food choices.

Nevertheless, this can be managed by controlling portion sizes, and meal times, and consuming the right food. The ideal diet for diabetics should be a nutrient-rich diet that is low in calories and fats. It should also include lots of raw fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Diabetes diet recommendations for the elderly

Here are some of the most useful healthy eating tips that older people must incorporate into their diet to manage diabetes.

1. Healthy diet and exercise go a long way

A person with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin, which is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes. It is vital for people with type 1 diabetes to regulate their intake of carbohydrates along with insulin injections. With type 2 diabetes, the body produces insulin, but the cells resist taking it in (insulin resistance). You can manage type 2 diabetes with a diet and lifestyle change. Light exercises such as yoga can keep your blood sugar and weight in check.

Healthy diet
Eat right to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Mind the carbs

Controlling carbohydrates is key to managing both types of diabetes. When you consume too many carbohydrates, your body turns them into glucose, causing your blood sugar levels to shoot up. So, limit the intake of refined carbohydrates and sugars to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Focus on the quality and quantity of nutrients, especially carbohydrates. Choose low glycemic index and low glycemic load foods by increasing fiber consumption (unpolished millets, whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits.

3. Snack right

Being mindful of what you eat between meals is another important aspect of managing diabetes. You need to time your snacks to regular your blood sugar levels. The key is to choose the right snacks high in fiber, protein and healthy fats. It’s also important to snack on nutrient-dense foods that promote overall health.

Several studies suggest that almonds are a good source of protein and dietary fibre, all of which can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Snacking on almonds may even help lower the impact of eating carbohydrate foods that affect fasting insulin levels. Additionally, eating almonds may also help improve glycaemic and cardiovascular health. Plus, they have satiating properties that make you feel full and aid in weight loss.

4. Look out for unhealthy fats

Sometimes, people try to eliminate fats from their diet, thinking they are all bad. However, fat is an essential part of a healthy diet. It helps absorb the fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, K and E. Fats also contains fatty acid important to control diabetes. Healthy sources of fat include avocados, almonds, and olives. Reduce intake of trans fats and saturated fats as they are unhealthy and increase the risk of diabetes. However, do not give up on all fats as that can increase your risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels).

unhealthy food
Avoid eating unhealthy food if you have diabetes. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock.

5. Steer clear of these foods

Here are a few things older people with diabetes should avoid:

  • Avoid consuming sugary drinks such as juices, sweet tea, lemonade, etc.
  • Eliminate or reduce alcohol consumption
  • Avoid refined and processed food like bread, biscuits, sewain, noodles, pasta, buns etc.
  • Limit salt intake
  • Avoiding packaged or processed food
  • Reduce cholesterol intake to 200mg per day


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