By : Sheryl Salis (Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator)

Manage blood glucose levels during lockdown

Due to rising cases of COVID-19, India has been completely under lockdown to ensure safety and security of the people.

Lockdown is an emergency protocol in which people are not allowed to enter or leave a building or area freely.

While lockdown is important to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but for people living with diabetes, it poses a challenge in maintaining good blood glucose control.

Due to lockdown, people are unable to go out, pursue their regular activities which help them in controlling blood glucose levels. For those working from home, sitting and working on the laptop and being on calls through the day has decreased physical activity drastically. Also, while staying at home, people tend to eat more and due to the shortage of food supplies or with no help at home, they end up eating packaged and unhealthy carb and fat rich foods such as biscuits, chips, namkeen which not only makes them pile on those unnecessary pounds but also increases blood glucose levels. Due to the uncertainty and being confined at home, anxiety and stress levels have gone up increasing blood glucose levels further.

Uncontrolled diabetes results in weakened immunity and when coupled with a low protein diet can lead to sarcopenia (loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength) which can further weaken the immune system predisposing you to catch the infection. Good control of diabetes is extremely important in people with diabetes to prevent Covid-19.

Here are ways to manage blood glucose levels during the lockdown period

•   Follow a regular routine. Wake up and sleep at the same time daily. Maintain your meal timings and take your medication regularly at the time prescribed by your doctor. Monitor your glucose levels more often to ensure that they are in the normal range.

•   Practice meditation and breathing exercises to manage stress better.

•  Find ways to stay active. There are several apps and you tube workout videos which you can download and practice. Dedicate 30 mins to one hour of your day to working out. Working out releases happy hormones which keep you feeling happy and energetic through the day

•  Walk while you talk. You can download a step counter and track the number of steps you take. Try and aim to increase your step count gradually every day.

•  Sitting is the new smoking. Get up every 30 mins from your seat and move for at least three minutes before you go and sit back.

•  Eat a balanced and a wholesome diet.

•  Use a 9-inch plate. Fill half the plate with vegetables, one-fourth of your plate with cereals and starchy foods and one fourth with a protein source.

•  Start your meals with a salad and a protein source to prevent post meal glucose spikes.

•  Choose wholegrain foods like whole wheat, unpolished rice, millets like jowar, bajra, instead of refined foods like maida and its products.

•  Increase the protein intake by incorporating protein rich foods such as eggs, curd, buttermilk, paneer, sprouts, dal, soybean, soy chunks, soy granules, lean meat, fish, etc in the meals.

•  Choose a fruit which is just ripe and nor overripe. Space out your fruits and do not have them immediately post meals.

•  Avoid food products which have added sugar, jaggery and honey.

•  Restrict consumption of foods such as fried snacks, bread, biscuits, papads, pickles, ketchups, sauces etc.

•  Include healthier protein rich snacks for munching like roasted chana, boiled chana or moong chaat with veggies, unsalted nuts, plain yoghurt, thick buttermilk, sugar free protein biscuits (diskettes) or a sugar free protein drink. Do not binge eat or overeat.

•  Refrain from consuming fruit juices, aerated drinks and alcohol.

•  Oil consumption should be restricted to 3-4 tsp/oil per day (1/2 ltr/person/month).

•  Drink adequate water and stay hydrated unless advised against by your doctor.

•  Read food labels. Choose products low in refined flour, sugar and sodium and high in fiber, protein and healthy MUFA fats.

•  Do not smoke or chew tobacco.

Good glucose control will keep your immunity strong and COVID-19 at bay

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