Like twins, diabetes and hypertension go hand-in-hand. 2 out of every 5 persons with diabetes suffer from high blood pressure as well. A study of Harvard’s T.H.Chan School of Public Health across 1.3 million Indian adults revealed that the rates of diabetes and hypertension are high among the middle-aged and elderly adults. 6.1% of women and 6.4% of men had diabetes whereas 20% of women and 24.5% of men had hypertension.
Blood pressure and stroke are closely related as hypertension increases the risks of stroke, heart attack and complicates diabetic issues. The sole solution to curbing both these lifestyle diseases is diet. Switching to a diet plan with healthy foods to control diabetes and blood pressure is the call of the day.
Foods to control diabetes and high blood pressure
- Grains- 6-8 servings per day
- Have whole grain bread, brown rice or whole wheat pasta.
- Avoid adding butter or cheese dips and sauces.
- Grains have lots of fibre and are low in fat.
- Vegetables- 4- 5 servings per day
- Have plenty of vegetables – fresh or frozen.
- Tomato, broccoli, peas, carrots and greens are rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Fruits- 4- 5 servings per day.
- Consume fruits along with meals, as a snack and as dessert.
- Eat fruits unpeeled like apples, guavas etc.
- Drink only unsweetened canned juices.
- Dairy- 1-2 servings per day
- Have skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurt and cheese.
- Lean meat and fish- 4-5 servings per day
- Have only trimmed poultry and meat without skin and preferably baked or broiled.
- Have omega-3 rich salmon, tuna and herring fish.
- Nuts and legumes- 4-5 servings per day
- Nuts are rich in good fats but high in calories. Have them in moderation.
- Tofu and tempeh which are soy products are good alternatives to meat.
- Fats and oils- 12- 2 servings per day
- Limit the use of milk, butter and cheese.
- Avoid trans-fat found in baked goods and lard items.
- Swap sugar for artificial sweeteners but use them in moderation.
- Limit the intake of jams and juices or carbonated drinks with added sugar.
- Sodium is the main culprit that increases the risk factor for stroke.
- Avoid adding salt while cooking pasta or cereal.
- Try sodium-free flavourings instead of salt.
- Add some seasoning to replace sodium like citrus zest, oregano, ginger, rosemary, cumin, garlic or basil.
- Reduce sodium intake to half.
Diabetes and stroke recovery
Having diabetes increases the risk factor of stroke by 15%. The body’s ability to process blood sugar determines the risk of stroke. Once the food consumed is broken down, glucose enters the bloodstream to reach the cells to give energy. Insulin is responsible for the entry of glucose into the cells. Diabetes patients have a deficiency of insulin which hampers this process.
In Type1 Diabetes, insulin generated is inadequate while in Type 2, the insulin is not used properly. In both these case, the blood glucose level rises preventing it from reaching the cells as energy.
This blood glucose build-up causes clots to form in the neck and brain, blocking the flow of oxygen and thereby inducing a stroke. This is why diet regulation is a must for curbing diabetes and for stroke recovery.
A nutritious diet, regular exercise, abstinence from smoking and alcohol and reduced intake of salt and sugar can keep both diabetes and blood pressure at bay. Adopt a healthy diet with foods to control diabetes and hypertension to lead a hearty life.