The South Asian population is genetically predisposed to type 2 diabetes.
Contributing factors include calorie diets, genetics, and lack of exercise.
They also have poor diabetes management, which puts them at a higher risk of serious health complications.
Fortunately, there are diet-related ways to manage it.
Raji Jayadev, an accredited practicing dietitian, has come up with some Indian diet tips to help fight the disease.
Speaking of the high risk of type 2 diabetes in Indians compared to others, Raji said:
âIndians are genetically susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes.
“They develop diabetes five to 10 years earlier than Caucasians.”
Raji gave some healthy Indian dietary advice to reduce the risk of developing the disease.
Stay away from added fats
Raji advises not to add extra fat to traditional recipes.
This includes cream, butter, and all kinds of unhealthy extra fat. She said:
“Don’t use ghee in cooking, instead use monounsaturated fats like olive oil or peanut oil.”
“Always go for fat-free milk and yogurt and limit your intake of paneer (Indian cheese).”
Manage your staples
Indians are used to rice and chapatis, which poses a great risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, they cannot be completely avoided.
To solve the problem, Raji Jayadev advises:
âI encourage Indians to use brown rice, which is nutritionally superior to white rice, or basmati rice (has a low glycemic index).
âAdd nuts and vegetables to spicy dishes to increase nutritional quality and control blood sugar after a meal. “
For chapatis, she advises consuming whole wheat alternatives as they are high in fiber. She added:
âFiber keeps you full longer and helps prevent overeating. “
Add more vegetables to the diet
Raji insists on puffing up the curries with as many vegetables as possible.
She recommends adding tomatoes and green leafy vegetables to curries.
Vegetables will help increase the number of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals in the meal.
Use more spices
Although Indian cuisine is famous for being spicy, Raji says adding more spice is actually a good thing. She says:
âCondiments like coriander, cumin and pepper and spices like cloves, cardamom, cinnamon are commonly used in Indian cuisine.
“They are incredibly high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients, but the amount used is insignificant.”
Therefore, she advises using them in drinks as well, such as masala chai and turmeric milk..
Add a little soy
Raji recommends adding soy to your routine diet. She explained:
âIndians use most types of legumes in dishes, but soybeans do not.
“Soy contains high quality protein and unsaturated fat, which is healthier than saturated fat.”
She further advises that soy goes well with lentil curries like sambar.
There are many healthy diets and lifestyles that can help prevent type 2 diabetes.
However, Raji believes that these five daily tips work very well for improving your blood sugar.
The risk of type 2 diabetes
The risk of type 2 diabetes is not evenly distributed around the world.
South Asians have an innate biological susceptibility to developing the disease.
With its 70 million diabetic inhabitants expected by 2025, India is considered the diabetes capital of the world.
Raji Jayadev also suggests that lifestyle changes have a strong influence on the increased risk of diabetes. She says:
“Their risk may increase as their lifestyle changes to incorporate less physical activity and their diet includes more Western-style foods.”
Raji says those with busy lifestyles sometimes opt for processed foods in order to save time.
âIf you work long hours, you may not have a lot of time to buy fruit and vegetables and cook at home.
âSo you tend to grab whatever food is available on the go and get by. “
She says these people eat take-out and prepackaged foods in Indian stores.
Such an unhealthy diet can increase belly fat and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Advising South Asians to return to a healthier, more traditional diet, Raji concluded:
âThe traditional Indian diet that existed before the 1970s is very different from the diet we see today in India and Australia.
“It was healthy, contained lots of high-fiber legumes, whole grains and vegetables, and contained little fish or meat.”