Sunday, September 1, 2019

I have been living with Diabetes for decades and it is not a pleasant experience. Fluctuating blood sugar levels, pricking your finger several times a day, insulin shots and pills, pills and more pills add to my anxiety that this chronic illness is here to stay.

Managing my blood glucose level is already as task in itself, but once anxiety sets in, then it is a whole different story. When I have those days, I don't want to get out of bed. I have all sorts of pain, I feel lethargic and my mind is in a blur. I can't work or function normally. Thankfully, I am able to snap myself out of the rut with the help of adding certain foods in my daily diet. These foods have a low glycemic index (GI) which means it would not cause a spike in my blood sugar levels. It is also known that eating food with low GI can reduce the risk of depression.

Here is my list of 5 foods that help ease my stress and anxiety. The best part? They are are diabetic-friendly too.

Brown Rice (GI = 50)

Brown rice is whole grain rice meaning it contains more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than white rice. Brown rice has a high vitamin B content, which is essential in the production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin which regulates our mood. 

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Eggs (GI = 0)

Eggs are inexpensive, filling and has no carbohydrates. It is an excellent source of protein because it provides the essential amino acids in the right amounts. It is also packed with vitamins A, and D, and B-complex vitamins that helps keep blood and nerve cells  healthy.  One egg provides us with important antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin for eye health.  Other minerals found in eggs are Calcium, Selenium, Zinc, Iodine, Phosphorus and Choline.

A study on the effect of Vitamin D on depression and anxiety in women with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus showed some improvement in the respondents' mental state, however more clinical trials are needed to establish its use in clinical practice. 

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Cashews (GI = 25)

Cashews are not only a delicious snack, but it also provides us with a significant amount of magnesium in our diet. In fact, a 100 gram serving can give us 73% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA). Magnesium restricts the release of the stress hormone, cortisol. It also acts as a barrier preventing this stress hormone from entering the brain. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer, so it helps reduce irritability, restlessness and fear.

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Black Beans (GI = 30)

Black beans, as well as other beans are great sources of protein. The health benefits of including black beans in our diet are improvement in cardiovascular health, regulating blood sugar levels, reducing cancer risk, improving digestion and boosting the functions of the nervous system. 

Black beans contain molybdenum, which help break down sulfites in highly processed food. Another important nutrient in black beans is its Vitamin B9  (Folate) content. Folate, or Folic Acid is needed to maintain a healthy nervous system. Deficiency of this vitamin may increase risk of developing clinical depression. For people already suffering from chronic illness, developing clinical depression and mental/cognitive impairment should be avoided at all costs. 

Photo By Sanjay Acharya - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5744293
Avocados (GI = less than 15)

This superfood is packed with healthy fats, dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.It is naturally sodium free, sugar and cholesterol free. Avocados contain monounsaturated fatty acids, the good kind of fat, which ensures heart health, and aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and E. 

Avocados contain B-complex vitamins and magnesium. As previously mentioned, B-complex vitamins help in the production of mood-regulating hormones, dopamine and serotonin, while magnesium acts as a barrier to restrict the release of cortisol into the brain. 

There are natural ways to relieve stress and anxiety, and that is eating food that are rich in nutrients that promote a healthy nervous system. Start adding these 5 kinds of food to your diet now and let its nutrients nourish you back to a healthier, happier you!

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