While it is imperative that people with metabolic disorders such as diabetes should keep an eye on the amount of sugar they get from each meal, it doesn’t in any way mean they should not have any fruit or smoothies. In fact, nutritionists recommend regular intake of smoothies for diabetics who are in the quest to reduce the intensity of this chronic disease.
What Is Diabetes ?
Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases that affect how the body utilizes sugar. Glucose supplies cells with energy and is a crucial part of the overall well-being of the human body. Glucose is also the primary source of energy for the brain. If you are suffering from diabetes, it essentially means that you have too much glucose in your blood.
Types of Diabetes
Typically, there are three types of diabetes, each with varying symptoms depending on the phase of infection.
1. Type 1 Diabetes
This type is characterized by the body’s inability to make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is at times referred to as insulin-dependent or early onset diabetes. Once diagnosed, the patient will have to take insulin injections for the rest of their life. Additionally, the patient must ensure that they maintain the proper glucose levels by going for regular blood tests and eating a special diet. Type 1 diabetes often affects people in their late 30s or early teenage years.
2. Type 2 Diabetes
With this type, the body does not produce enough insulin for proper function or the body cells simply do not respond to the insulin. It is the most prevalent form of diabetes with statistics showing that 90% of all cases of diabetes world over are type 2. While type 2 diabetes may be controlled by losing weight, following a special diet and monitoring of blood glucose, it is typically a progressive disease that worsens with time. Eventually, the patient will most likely end up taking insulin, often in tablet form.
Symptoms of Type 1 and 2 diabetes
• Increased thirst
• Slow-healing sores
• Presence of ketones in the urine
• Blurred vision
• Frequent urination
• Frequent infections such as skin, gums, and vaginal infections
3. Gestational Diabetes
This type affects pregnant women. A section of pregnant women tend to have above normal levels of blood glucose, and their bodies are unable to generate enough insulin to transport glucose into their cells. This leads to a gradual increase of glucose. Most gestational diabetes patients may control their condition with exercise and following a special diet. Some may need to take medications to control the levels of glucose. If uncontrolled or diagnosed, gestational diabetes may increase the risk of complications during childbirth.
Gestational diabetes is not associated with any symptoms. Thus, it is imperative that pregnant mothers go for checkups regularly.
How Do You Get Diabetes?
Type 1 Diabetes – The exact cause is not known. Nonetheless, it is known that the immune system attacks and destroys cells that produce insulin in the pancreas, resulting in little or no insulin. Consequently, sugar accumulates in your bloodstream instead of being transported into the cells. Also, genetic composition and environmental factors are thought to cause type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes – The body cells resistance to insulin and the pancreas’s inability to generate enough insulin to overcome this resistance is the primary cause of type 2 diabetes. Why this happens is not known although heredity and environmental factors are thought to play a role. Being overweight is also believed to cause type 2 diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes – During pregnancy, the placenta generates hormones to help sustain the pregnancy. It is this very hormone that makes the cells resistant to insulin. Typically, the pancreas reacts by producing more insulin to overcome this reaction and when it can’t keep up, very little glucose gets into the cells and too much remain in the blood thereby causing gestational diabetes.
How to Prevent Diabetes
Preventing diabetes involves making healthy lifestyle choices including:
• Eating healthy foods – Choose foods with low-fat content and calories as well higher fiber content. Examples include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
• Exercise More Often – Embark on an exercise program for at least 30 minutes every day. The program may involve taking a walk, riding a bike, or swimming.
• Lose Weight – Maintain a healthy weight while keeping the focus on permanent changes to your eating habits.
At times, you may prevent diabetes by taking medications such as Glucophage or Glumetza. Do not forget to go for regular blood checkups at least once every year.
Health Benefits of Smoothies for Diabetics.
1. Weight Loss
Excess weight is associated with aggravating diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes. While there are a number of ways that you can use shed off the extra weight such as dieting and exercising, constant intake of green smoothies can equally help patients manage their condition. It can also be a strategy to enhance your fruit and vegetable intake.
2. Energy to Exercise
Drinking smoothies is an excellent way of increasing energy levels in the body. With enhanced energy levels, diabetics are able to exercise more often thereby reducing the intensity of the disease. A good number of patients have reportedly had the ability to run half a marathon after they increase their green smoothie daily intake.
3. Healthier Diet Overall
Green smoothies bring to the fore an incredible avenue to improve the diet and lifestyle habit in diabetics. Patients who drink green smoothies on a regular basis end up eating much less processed foods. Bearing in mind that green smoothies revolve around plant-based recipes, it goes without saying that they offer higher nutritional value and low-calorie content, two important combinations for diabetics.
4. Offer Pure Nutrition
The amount of vitamins and minerals in smoothies depend on the ingredients you use to make it. However, most fruits and vegetables (the primary ingredients for most smoothies) are chock full of vitamins A and C. Other ingredients such as Guava and avocados have high content folate , potassium and magnesium all of which are beneficial to the body.
5. Easy and Quick to Make
Making green smoothies is a breeze particularly when you consider that all you need is a blender. If you want to make a large amount you may also need a pitcher and a fridge in addition to the blender.
6. Relatively Cheap
In comparison to buying smoothies from a juicer bar, making your smoothie at home is relatively cheap. As a matter of fact making smoothies at home will only cost you a few cents. In other words, homemade smoothies for diabetics present a cheaper way to supply the body with all the required vitamins and minerals at a cheaper price.
7. Easy to Digest
Due to their blended and liquefied nature, green smoothies are easily digestible. The rate of nutrients extraction is much faster in smoothies, a fact that may come in handy for patients suffering from indigestion after a heavy meal.
8. Increased Fiber Intake
Unlike fruit juices, green smoothies are made from whole fruits and vegetables thus contain higher fiber and nutritional value. Besides improving the digestive health, fiber helps regulate the movement of bowels, thus helps reduce constipation as well.
9. Reduces Cravings
Diabetics who want to reduce cravings for junk food can turn to green smoothies as a natural remedy. Smoothies help keep you feeling fuller for longer thus reduce the urge to eat unhealthy foods and salts, as well as fats.
Green smoothies are loaded with high antioxidants and phytonutrients content. Drinking a glass of green smoothie can enhance your body’s immune system thus keeping diseases at bay. The antioxidants aid the body in flushing harmful toxins from the body as well.
11. Easy Digestibility and Nutrient Assimilation
Through blending fruits and vegetables, you are in essence breaking down the plant cells and improving digestibility while you are at it. Smoothies for diabetics are made in such a way that they can be assimilated into your body much faster. Consider carrying smoothies when traveling instead for salads due to their high delivery rate into your body.
Smoothies for Diabetics Recipes :
1. Banana Smoothies
Just like the name suggests, these are made by blending bananas alongside other fruits. Some of banana smoothies include :
Mango Banana Smoothie – This is made by blending 1 banana, 1/3 cup of plain yogurt, and 1/2 cup of frozen mango pieces and cup of orange juice. Blend until the mixer is nearly smooth. Serve while still fresh.
Apple Banana Smoothie – Combine 1 frozen banana with 1 Gala apple, ¼ cup of milk and cup of orange juice. Blend until smooth, pour into glass and serve.
2. Green Smoothies
Some green smoothies include :
Go Getter Green Smoothie – This is made by mixing vanilla soy milk, 1 cubed peeled kiwi fruit, 1 cup of bagged spinach and a sliced banana. Blend until the mixer is smooth. Serve immediately.
Groovy Green Smoothie – Place 1 peeled banana, chopped apple, 1 cup of grapes and 11/2 cup of fresh spinach leaves in a blender. Blend until smooth, pour into glasses and serve.
3. Orange Smoothies
These include :
Orange Snowman – Combine cup of milk, cup of water, 14 cubes of ice, cup of sugar, teaspoon of vanilla extract with a 6 ounce can of frozen orange in a blender. Blend until smooth before serving.
Orange Banana Smoothie – Mix 1 cup of cold milk, a pinch of salt, ¼ cup of sugar, 4 cubes of ice and 2 oranges in a blender. Serve when the mixer is evenly smooth.
Carrot-Apple – Mix 1 cup of carrot and apple juice with a serving 1 1/2 cups of both juices in a blender. Pour in glasses and serve.
Cantaloupe – This is made by blending 2 cups of chopped cantaloupe with cup of lime juice and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Add cups of water and 1 cup of ice before blending the ingredients.
Strawberry Shortcake – Place 1 cup of strawberries, cup of vanilla, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 peeled banana and 1 cup of ice in a blender. Blend until smooth then serve.
Blueberry Power Smoothie – Blend 1 chopped pear, 1 cup of blueberries, 1 glass of plain sugar, ice and sugar to taste. Serve when the mixture is smooth.
Mango Smoothies – All mango smoothies are made by blending mangoes alongside other fruits such as pineapples, apples, bananas and oranges. You may add vanilla and sugar to taste.
Diabetes may be a chronic condition, but the above-highlighted smoothies for diabetics can go a long way in reducing its intensity. The beauty of it is that all the ingredients are readily available and affordable as well.