What is Diabetes mellitus?
Diabets mellitus is a metabolic disorder in which a person has high blood glucose (sugar), either because of inadequate insulin production, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both.
Can diabetes be prevented? The answer is yes, but with lifestyle and dietary modification. Dietary modification, physical activity and keeping an ideal body weight may help to take care of diabetes and prevent associated problem.
Role of millets in controlling diabetes mellitus
Millets have an important role in helping control diabetes. Millets are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown as cereal crops or grains. Millets are important crops in the semi-arid tropics of Asia and Africa. Kodo millet(Hindi: Kodra; Tamil: Varagu), foxtail millet (Hindi: Kangni; Tamil:Thinai), pearl millet (Hindi:Bajra, Tamil:Kambu), barnyard millet (Hindi: Jhangora; Tamil: Kuthiravaali), little millet (Hindi; Kutki; Tamil: Samai), proso millet (Hindi: Barri; Tamil: Panivaragu), finger millet (Hindi: Mandua: Tamil: Raagi) and sorghum (Hindi: Jowar; Tamil: Cholam) are some types available in India.
Millets like sorghum are predominantly starchy and the protein content is comparable to that of wheat and maize. Millets are non-gluten, non-acid forming food and are high in protein, fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. They not only help prevent diabetes but also other complications like heart disease and cancer. Millets are also relatively rich in B vitamins (especially niacin, B6 and folicacid) and phosphorus. Among the millets, pearl millet (Bajra) has the highest content of macro nutrients and micro nutrients such as iron, zinc , magnesium, phosphorus, folicacid and riboflavin. Finger millet (Ragi) is an extraordinary source of calcium. Though low in fat content, it is high in PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids). It is also rich in essential amino acids, like lysine, threonine, valine, sulphur containing amino acids.
Studies have shown that millets are also rich in health-promoting phytochemicals lke polyphenols, lignans, phytosterols, phyto-oestrogens and phytocyanins. These function as antioxidants, immune modulators, detoxifying agents, etc. and hence protect against age-related degenerative diseases like cardiovascular diseases (CVD), diabetes, cancer, etc. Studies have reported that the consumption of millet-based food items produced the lowest post-prandial glucose levels i.e. after a meal.
Diet and prevention of diabetes
Eating right does’t mean a lifetime of tasteless “health food”. Enjoy you favorite foods without feeling hungry or deprived with these tips.
• East on time. Delays cause stress to the pancreas, and it will fail to the pancreas,and it will fail to secrete adequate insulin.
• Include a lot of green vegetables in every meal and lots of fruits.
• Choose foods with high fiber. Millets are an excellent source of fiber.
• Include adequate protein, as it is said to sensitize insulin secretion. Opt for high biological value protein like egg yolk, soya bean and lean cuts of chicken or fish.
• Choose healthy unsaturated fats, which come from plant and fish sources and are liquid at room temperature. Primary sources include olive oil, canola oil, nuts, and avocados. Also focus on omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation and support brain and heart health. Good sources include salmon, tuna and flax seeds.
• Instead of chips, fries or other fried snacks , have a handful of nuts.
• Avoid sugar and carbonated beverages. When you have a lot of sweets, cut down on carbohydrates for the day.