Diabetes is a debilitating disease that affects millions of people across the world. A person with diabetes may have high blood sugar levels due to a lack of insulin in their system. Diabetes occurs when your body becomes unable to use insulin the way it should. It is a lifestyle disease, which basically means what you do every day and what you eat can have a direct impact on your blood sugar levels. So, you have to keep track of what you consume if you want to keep your diabetes in check.
Chia seeds, for example, have been advocated as a good source of nutrients for people with diabetes. Raise your hand if someone you know puts chia seeds in everything they eat – and for all the right reasons! It is a good source of essential nutrients that can help you steer clear of several diseases. But are chia seeds good for diabetes?
Health Shots spoke to Dr Ritesh Gupta, Director of Diabetes and Endocrinology at Fortis C Doc Hospital, New Delhi to know if chia seeds are good for people suffering from diabetes.
Are chia seeds a good addition to a diabetes diet?
Diabetics have to look out for the foods they consume. Things can go haywire for diabetics if they don’t keep a track of what they eat. The key is to eat foods that can help manage your blood sugar levels and keep your weight in check.
According to Dr Gupta, chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, and magnesium. All these nutrients can help mitigate the risk of complications of type 2 diabetes. “Regular intake of chia seeds along with a balanced diet can help in weight loss as well and we all know, losing weight can significantly contribute to managing diabetes. Moreover, Chia seeds are anti-inflammatory in nature, so it helps to control your excess amount of glucose level in the blood,” added the expert.
How to include chia seeds in your diet?
Dr Gupta explains that one ounce of chia seeds contains 10 grams of fibre, of which an adult can consume between 22.4 and 33.6 grams of fibre each day, depending on their age and sex. “Two tablespoons or 20gm of Chia seeds a day is recommended if someone is diabetic,” he advises.
Explaining how to add chia seeds to your diabetes diet, Dr Gupta recommends soaking “a tablespoon of chia seeds in a bottle of water and adding thinly sliced pieces of lemon to it. Consume it after an hour of making the drink.” Another way to add chia seeds to your diabetes diet is salads. “While adding fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts are advisable, sprinkling seeds such as chia and flax will make the salad fibre-rich, and also help keep your blood sugar levels stable.”
Side effects of chia seeds
While chia seeds offer multiple benefits for people suffering from diabetes, over-consumption can lead to problems. Some of the common side effects of chia seeds may affect people including diabetes, high blood pressure, allergies, or digestive issues.
“Anything, if over-consumed, may cause adverse effects. Therefore, eating more than recommended quantities of chia seeds for diabetes management may result in side effects such as lowering blood glucose levels to the extent that the person may require an insulin dosage adjustment,” elucidates the endocrinologist.
Whether or not you add chia seeds to your diet, one thing you should keep in mind is consulting a doctor. Also, ask them about the amount of consuming chia seeds to control blood glucose levels.