Diabetes Diet for Seniors: Watch What You Eat!


The prevalence of diabetes in the elderly continues to increase. This makes it a major health problem in India. Therefore, a systematic approach is needed to manage this condition. Eating well is the first and most important way for seniors with diabetes to effectively manage the disease. Sometimes people with diabetes find it difficult to make healthy food choices.

However, this can be managed by controlling portion sizes and meal times, and eating the right foods. The ideal diet for diabetics should be a diet rich in nutrients, low in calories and fat. It should also include plenty of raw fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Diabetes diet recommendations for seniors

Here are some of the most helpful healthy eating tips seniors should incorporate into their diet to manage their diabetes.

1. Healthy eating and exercise go a long way

A person with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes. It is vital for people with type 1 diabetes to regulate their carbohydrate intake alongside insulin injections. With type 2 diabetes, the body produces insulin, but the cells resist its absorption (insulin resistance). You can manage type 2 diabetes by changing your diet and lifestyle. Light exercise like yoga can control your blood sugar and weight.

Eat healthy to control your blood sugar. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Watch out for carbohydrates

Carbohydrate control is key to managing both types of diabetes. When you eat too many carbs, your body turns them into glucose, which spikes your blood sugar levels. So, limit the consumption of refined carbohydrates and sugars to control your blood sugar. Focus on the quality and quantity of nutrients, especially carbohydrates. Choose foods with a low glycemic index and a low glycemic load by increasing the consumption of fiber (unpolished millets, whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits.

3. Good snack

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

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

4. Watch out for unhealthy fats

Sometimes people try to eliminate fat from their diet, thinking it’s all bad. However, fat is an essential part of a healthy diet. It helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, K, and E. Fats also contain fatty acids that are important for controlling diabetes. Healthy sources of fat include avocados, almonds and olives. Reduce the consumption of trans fats and saturated fats, as they are unhealthy and increase the risk of diabetes. However, don’t give up all fats as this can increase your risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

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

5. Avoid these foods

Here are some things seniors with diabetes should avoid:

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

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