By Moina Oberoi

  • Posted On 2020-10-03

A diabetic person's micro-nutritional needs are largely similar to everyone else, focusing on a healthy intake of vitamins and minerals. Paying attention to their macro-nutritional choice, predominantly carbohydrates and sugars, and equally important fats and proteins is an obvious yet effective task.

The Dance of Insulin in the body is a rigorous and diverse one. To some, it’s more like a swift and slow tango, to some it’s an energetic salsa, to some it’s temperamental jazz and to some, it’s a reverse moonwalk!

The main premises behind all types and stages of diabetes are insulin production and resistance. If our pancreas does not produce insulin well and our body resists metabolizing it into our bloodstream effectively to allow it to do its job of processing our daily intake of glucose (from foods like carbohydrates and sugar) into energy, our immune system alarms a malfunction that in turn causes all other troublesome symptoms of diabetes. No matter what type and what stage of diabetes you have, living with it is like living with a built-in insulin radar that is not so user-friendly. Therefore a PWD (person with diabetes) needs to outplay their component by bettering their body's intuition and of course by the food they eat. Eating right can prevent control, and even reverse some types of diabetes without feeling deprived.

A PWD’s micro-nutritional needs are largely similar to everyone else, focusing on a healthy intake of vitamins and minerals. Paying attention to their macro-nutritional choice, predominantly carbohydrates and sugars, and equally important fats and proteins is an obvious yet effective task. There is a third category of foods that are catalysts to your insulin dance, like music is to the rhythm. These healthy foods can give your body the gentle nudge it needs to help it move better. 

Here are the 5 healthy foods every PWD should have in their kitchen pantry:


The Jamun fruit is astringent in nature and has a sweet taste with a dry mouthfeel. It is loaded with minerals, and provides fewer calories, as compared to other fruits. Jamun juice helps control blood sugar levels by regulating carbohydrate metabolism. The Jamun leaves help convert starch into energy. The Jamun seeds, on the other hand, have two active ingredients called jamboline and jambosine that slow down the rate of sugar released into the blood and increase the insulin levels in the body. Several studies have shown that Jamun has hypoglycemic effects with up to 30% reduction in blood sugar when taken regularly. In Ayurvedic systems, it is also used for digestive disorders, which is extremely relevant for PWD.


Moringa powder is derived from the leaves of the moringa (drumstick) tree. The hype around moringa powder has been multi-fold over recent years. However, Moringa is a superfood that has stood up to its praise. It is nature's most explicit multi-vitamin. The leaves have 7 times more vitamin C than oranges and 15 times more potassium than bananas. It is packed with calcium, protein, iron, and amino acids, which help your body heal and build muscle. Studies have shown the effects of Moringa oleifera (MO) on lowering blood sugar levels in PWD. Isothiocyanate compounds found in MO leaves have been known to reduce insulin resistance and hepatic gluconeogenesis. These isothiocyanate compounds help decrease intestinal glucose uptake. The beneficial activities of MO leaves have been shown to increase insulin activity and improve glucose uptake and utilization. What more could a PWD want?


Now here is a grain that is not just okay, but good for PWD. Buckwheat is a Pseudocereal, which means it is not a cereal at all hence does not belong to the wheat or grass family. Similar to quinoa and amaranth, it is a seed that is consumed as cereal grains making it much more nutritious as well as gluten-free. It can be found in the form of groats that can be cooked like rice, or used for texture in salads. Buckwheat flour is used in baking, bread, and noodles. It is the holy trinity of the perfect health-supportive combination of fibre, magnesium, and low-calorie in healthy food. Buckwheat has a low glycemic index (GI) — a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar after a meal, making it suitable for PWD. This nutty seed grain has a chemical compound called D-chiro-inositol (DCI) that enhances insulin's sugar-lowering effects. DCI is rarely found in other foods making it a unique superfood for PWD.


Kokum is a beautiful-looking small purple fruit that originates from south India. It has a deep tart flavour and adds a rich purple colour to food. The fruit can be eaten as is or had in the form of juice. The outer cover of the kokum is dried and used as a spice in many preparations, often found in traditional South Indian and Goan dishes. The health benefits of the fruit come from a compound called Garcinol that has anti-inflammatory properties and reduces the rate of oxidation, all aiding in the active management of diabetes. Regular consumption of kokum has been known to be effective in managing obesity by improving metabolism, which is an important stabilizing factor for PWD.


Cinnamon is an aromatic spice derived from the bark of several species of Cinnamomum trees. Ceylon, also called “true cinnamon,” it’s the most expensive type, while Cassia is the less expensive variety found in most healthy food products containing cinnamon. Both varieties are excellent at reducing fasting blood sugar. You can use the whole spice in teas, brews, or cooking, as well as the powder in baking as well as savoury dishes. It is a wonderfully vibrant spice that fills a room up with its mystical aroma. Consuming cinnamon promotes the release of insulin from the pancreas and boosts insulin sensitivity which helps in the processing of glucose. Like kokum, cinnamon also helps improve the digestive system, A healthy digestive tract is integral to the health of a PWD. So no matter what level or type of insulin dance you are at as a PWD, aside from being watchful of your macro and micronutrient intake, adding the right music in the form of these superfoods will positively turn up the beat to your party.