Is Fish Good For Diabetics? Read To Know

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Published on: 06-Apr-2023

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Kajal Tharwani

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Is Fish Good For Diabetics? Read To Know

Is Fish Good For Diabetics? Read To Know

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Diabetes is a chronic condition affecting how your body uses glucose, a type of sugar that is an important energy source for your cells. 

It can lead to severe medical problems if not properly managed, including nerve damage, kidney damage, heart disease, and vision problems. Treatment involves a combination of lifestyle changes such as weight loss, dietary changes and medication, including insulin injections for people with type 1 diabetes. Regular blood sugar monitoring is also important for people with diabetes to ensure their glucose levels are within a healthy range.

A diabetic diet is an eating plan designed to help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels and promote overall health. The diet emphasises whole, minimally processed foods high in fibre, lean proteins, and healthy fats while limiting sugar and refined carbohydrates. 

Portion control is also an important aspect of the diet, as eating too much of any food, even healthy foods, can cause blood sugar levels to rise.

Table Of Contents 

1. Is Fish Good For Diabetic Patients?

2. Which Indian Fish Is Good For Diabetes? 

3. Dieititian’s Recommendation

4. The Final Say 

5. FAQs 
Is Fish Good For Diabetic Patients?

Fish can be a healthy and good choice for people with diabetes. It is a good source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to reduce inflammation, lower triglyceride levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Eating fish is also beneficial for people with diabetes in improving their blood glucose levels. 

Studies have shown that consuming fish can help lower fasting blood glucose levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, it is good to note that not all types of fish are created equal.

For example, some types of fish, such as fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, are higher in omega-3 fatty acids and other beneficial nutrients than different types of fish. On the other hand, some types of fish, such as breaded and fried fish, can be high in unhealthy fats and calories, increasing the risk of developing complications associated with diabetes.

Is Fish Good For Diabetic Patients

Therefore people with diabetes must choose healthy lean protein sources like fish in their balanced diet. Eating fish can offer the following benefits for people with diabetes:

1. Improved Heart Health 

People with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing heart disease. Eating fish, especially fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tuna, and sardines, helps to lower the risk by reducing inflammation, lowering triglycerides, and improving blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

2. Better Blood Sugar Control 

Including fish in a balanced diet can also help to better manage their blood sugar levels. Fish is a good source of protein, which can help slow down carbohydrate absorption and prevent blood sugar spikes.

3. Reduced Risk Of Complications 

Diabetes can increase the risk of complications such as nerve damage, kidney damage, and vision problems. Eating fish can help reduce this risk by improving health and reducing inflammation, which can contribute to developing complications.

4. Increased Satiety 

Fish is a high-protein food which can help people with diabetes feel fuller for longer and reduce the risk of weight gain.

5. Nutrient Dense 

Fish is a good source of several important nutrients, including protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, selenium, and B vitamins.

It is essential to remember that fish should be part of an overall healthy eating diet that includes a variety of whole, minimally processed foods and emphasises portion control. It is also important to choose fish low in mercury and other contaminants and prepare it healthily, such as by grilling, baking, or broiling.

Which Indian Fish Is Good For Diabetes? 

Which Indian Fish Is Good For Diabetes

Several types of fish are commonly consumed in India, which can be a healthy choice for people with diabetes. Here are some examples of Indian fish that are particularly good for diabetes:

1. Rohu 

Rohu is a freshwater fish commonly found in India and is a good source of protein and essential omega-3 fatty acids. It is also low in calories and fat, making it a healthy choice for people with diabetes.

2. Katla 

Another freshwater fish commonly consumed in India, Katla, is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids and is also low in fat and calories. Therefore, it is a good choice for people with diabetes who want to improve their heart health.

3. Hilsa 

Hilsa is a saltwater fish popular in eastern India, particularly in West Bengal and Bangladesh. It is a good protein and omega-3 fatty acids source and is low in fat and calories.

4. Pomfret 

Pomfret is a saltwater fish commonly found in coastal areas of India. It is a good protein and omega-3 fatty acids source and is low in fat and calories. 

Fish is an excellent choice for people with diabetes who want to improve their heart health, as it has been shown to positively affect cholesterol levels.

5. Mackerel 

Mackerel is a saltwater fish high in omega-3 fatty acids and a good source of protein. It is also low in calories and fat, making it a healthy choice for people with diabetes.

Note- It is important to remember how you prepare your fish can affect its nutritional value. For example, avoiding deep-fried fish is best instead of grilled, baked, or broiled preparations. Choosing fish low in mercury and other contaminants is also essential, particularly for pregnant women and young children.

Dieititian’s Recommendation

Fish is a great source of protein and contains beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that can help to improve heart health and reduce inflammation. Some studies have suggested that regular fish consumption may even help reduce the risk of developing diabetes in the first place. However, it is vital to remember that not all types of fish are created equal regarding health benefits. 

Some types of fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, while others may be high in mercury, which can harm health if consumed in large amounts. 

Therefore, it is advised that people with diabetes should choose fish low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids and limit their intake of fish that are high in mercury. Additionally, preparing fish healthily, such as by grilling or baking rather than frying, is essential to minimise the intake of unhealthy fats.

-Dietitian Aditi Upadhyay

The Final Say 

Fish can be a beneficial food for people with diabetes due to its high protein content and healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to improve heart health and reduce inflammation. 

However, not all types of fish are created equal, and people with diabetes should choose fish that are low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, mackerel, and sardines. 

It is recommended to consume fish as part of a healthy eating plan that includes several fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. However, while fish can offer many health benefits, it is essential to remember that it should not be used as a substitute for other treatments or lifestyle modifications. 

FAQs

1. Which types of fish are suitable for people with diabetes? 

Some types of fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, Indian mackerel, hilsa, and pomfret, are high in omega-3 fatty acids and can be good choices for people with diabetes. However, it's important to choose fish that are low in mercury and are prepared healthy, such as grilling or baking, rather than frying.

2. How often should people with diabetes eat fish? 

It is recommended that people with diabetes consume fish at least twice weekly as part of a healthy eating plan.

3. Can fish help to prevent diabetes? 

Some studies have suggested that regular fish consumption helps reduce the risk of developing diabetes in the first place. However, research is needed to understand the relationship between fish consumption and diabetes prevention.

4. Can people with diabetes take fish oil supplements instead of eating fish? 

While fish oil supplements can be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, it is generally recommended that people with diabetes consume fish as part of a healthy diet rather than relying solely on supplements.                

5. Are there any risks to eating fish for people with diabetes? 

Some types of fish may be high in mercury, which can harm health if consumed in large amounts. Therefore, people with diabetes should choose fish that are low in mercury and avoid consuming fish that are high in mercury, such as sharks, swordfish, and king mackerel. Additionally, fish should be prepared healthily, such as by grilling or baking, rather than frying, to minimise the intake of unhealthy fats.

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