Ordinarily, it is bad news to be diagnosed with high blood sugar, but worse in Nigeria because you will hardly find foods for diabetic patients in Nigeria. Not that they are not available but there is a lack of information on which foods for diabetic patients in Nigeria are readily available and what makes them suitable for these people.
Diabetes is a disease that is gaining traction in Nigeria and it is best dealt with by being conscious of what goes into the mouth. Generally, foods that have low glycemic index are best for diabetics, therefore Nigerian foods with this quality, as well as, high fiber content, will do well as foods for diabetic patients in Nigeria.
In this article, we will remind you on what diabetes really is, the types of diabetes we have, the symptoms that accompany diabetes, and how you can manage your blood sugar level with Nigerian foods you can easily find.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a medical situation in which the blood sugar level is abnormally high due to inadequate supply of insulin from the pancreas or inability of the body to utilize the insulin in the bloodstream. Diabetes generally comes about either through inadequate or ineffective utilization of insulin. Insulin is responsible for the removal of glucose from the blood and when it is not produced in sufficient quantity or when it cannot be used by the body, diabetic problems arise.
Types and Causes of Diabetes.
There are different types of diabetes, even though they may present their symptoms in similar ways. Although it centers around insulin shortage or ineffectiveness, there are different causes for this defect, and it is these causes that give rise to the different types.
This is a situation in which the immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas and render them unable to produce enough insulin for the body’s use. It is unknown why this attack happens but this type of diabetes is an autoimmune disease and it is not very common.
In this type of diabetes, your body produces insulin in the right quantity but it is not used by your body. this leads to the build-up of blood sugar. It is the most common type of diabetes.
This occurs in pregnant woman and it is not easily detected until around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy. It is caused by a hormone produced by the placenta that makes a woman’s body cells less reactive to insulin.
This type of diabetes dallies between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In this case, the blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be considered a type 2 diabetes.
General Symptoms of Diabetes.
Having understood what diabetes is and how they are caused, let us see how they manifest.
- Unexplained weight loss
- Increased thirst and hunger
- Blurry vision
- Inability of sores to heal
- Frequent urination
- Sexual dysfunction in men
- Infections in women
Easy-to-find Foods for Diabetic Patients in Nigeria
To curb the debilitating effect and health consequence and risk that diabetes pose, you must fight it by choosing specific foods for diabetic patients in Nigeria as what you eat and drink goes a long way in determining the level of sugar in your blood.
As we have pointed out numerously, Nigerian foods are great but most of them are high in calories and carbohydrates. Therefore, it is important that we choose foods that are low in glycemic index and when we have to pair foods as we do here, we put their starch content into consideration.
For instance, it would be suicidal to combine cashew nuts and garri, two Nigerian foods that are high in calories.
With that in mind, here are the best foods for Diabetic Patients in Nigeria.
Wheat is one of the most common grains in the world. It is mostly cultivated in Asia and Africa and most consumed in developing countries. Wheat is majorly a carbohydrate food and raises blood sugar level. However, it has high fiber and protein content than any other grain you will find.
The reason it raises blood sugar fast is due to the fact that its carbs are easily digestible. Therefore, it is preferable to combine this grain with a complex carb soup like groundnut soup or gbegiri. This creates a balance and prevents spike in blood sugar level. For this reason, wheat is considered one of the foods for diabetic patients in Nigeria.
Millet is an important, nutrient-dense grain that is gaining popularity in Nigeria. it is one of the foods for diabetic patients in Nigeria because it contains low carbs, considerable amount of fiber and protein, as well as other nutrients.
Millet is low in glycemic index, meaning that it doesn’t cause a sudden spike in the blood sugar level and come crashing down after some time. It also contains complex carbs that help to control blood sugar level.
It is not new anymore to hear advices about the importance of eating leafy vegetables. The same thing is what we’re telling you here. Consume more leafy vegetable, as it is one of the best food for diabetic patients in Nigeria as it aids in digestion and has antioxidants that can help correct the autoimmune disease leading to the insufficient supply of insulin.
It also contains fiber that help you feel full faster when you eat, making you consume less food and consequently lesser calories and carbs. Therefore, it is excellent to combine it with swallows like fufu that is high in simple carbs.
It is advisable that diabetic patients consume fruits such as apples, oranges, coconuts, pears, and cherries because of their low glycemic index. They supply the blood with steady supply of sugar instead of a one-time boost.
These fruits are easily found in Nigeria and they are cheap. They also contain other nutrients that have other health benefits like antioxidants to get rid of toxins in the body. These fruits are friendly foods for diabetic patients in Nigeria.
This is the first legume in this list. Beans has too many health benefits not to be considered a food for diabetic patients in Nigeria. it is a versatile food item that can be transformed into many forms and combined with other foods as well.
Beans is high in fiber and protein, it is also low in glycemic index, making it one of the best foods for diabetic patients. It can be made into balls (akara), it can be pureed (moi moi), and can be eaten with garri, wheat bread, irish potatoes, and many more foods.
Black soup is a native soup originating from the Esan people of Edo State. It is called black soup due to the color it produces after preparation. Its place on this list is cemented due to the major ingredients used in preparing it.
Bitter leaves, scent leaves, and uziza leaves are all healthy vegetables that individually help to control blood sugar level. Combining three of them means it exerts more control on blood sugar level and it can be used to eat any swallow, ranging from semo to wheat, amala, and many more.
Corn Pudding (Pap)
As the name implies, it is made from corn and it is very popular. The corn can be combined with millet or sorghum to give it more nutrient and balance. This food is more than just a food for diabetic patients in Nigeria, it is an important food for every individual in Nigeria s it is easy to make and it is very versatile.
Take it with beans or any of its derivatives and you’ll be happy you did.
This is probably the friendliest food for diabetic patients on this list (just kidding). It is loaded with complex carbohydrates that are not easy for the digestive enzymes to breakdown. This means the glucose it contains will take time to get released into the blood stream and that helps to curb hunger, one of the symptoms of diabetes.
Unripe plantain also contains an enormous amount of minerals like potassium and iron. It can be eaten after it has been boiled or grounded into flour to make a variant of Amala.
Potatoes are generally high in simple sugars. That is why they easily digest and you get hungry again after a short time of eating them. However, unlike sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes contain some complex carbs, making them more suitable for diabetic patients than other root tubers.
It is advisable that you eat your Irish potatoes boiled and not fried in order to control the number of calories you ingest.
Fishes are a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. They help to curb hunger because the human digestive system takes longer to break down protein foods than carb-dense foods. Consuming enough fish will also provide other nutrients to the body.
Diabetes is a disease that is associated with the insufficiency and ineffectiveness of insulin. There are different types and they present similar symptoms. To combat diabetes, it is important that you make foods that are low in glycemic index – they contain complex carbs that do not break down easily and help in maintaining blood glucose level – your diet buddy.
Eat more foods that are high in fiber, low in calories, salt, and fats as they are beneficial foods for diabetic patients in Nigeria.