08 SEPTEMBER 2018

13 Healthy Living Tips for Diabetes Patients

Summary: Who says you can’t live a normal life with diabetes. Follow these simple healthy living tips to live it up in spite of the much dreaded disease.

You can't control everything that has an impact on your health, such as your genetics, your age, or your family history of diabetes. However, you can take some concrete steps to for healthy living in spite of being diagnosed with diabetes.

The most important things people with diabetes can do are making healthy food choices, getting some exercise, test their blood glucose regularly, and taking the right medication. Above all, it’s important to stay informed and ask questions during your doctor visits.

Here are some healthy living tips that can prove beneficial for diabetes patients:

1. Eat nutrient dense foods

The number one healthy living technique that diabetics should employ is to emphasize on nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods. Next, diabetics should downsize unhealthy foods. Gradually, this will improve your weight, blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure.

2. Choose healthy oils and fats

Rather than consuming less total fat, diabetics should concentrate on eating more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They must limit the consumption of unhealthy saturated fats (including trans-fats). Saturated fat increases insulin resistance, which is the underlying cause of abnormal blood glucose, blood pressure and lipids. You must, therefore, steer clear of cheese, sour cream and butter.

Moreover, the following three oils offer various health benefits for diabetics:

Extra virgin olive oil for sautéing and salad dressing

Canola oil for cooking and baking

Walnut oil to add flavor and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. It can be used to cook food or to drizzle lightly over top.

3. Pick nutritious carb sources

Diabetics should never consume calories from added sugars. You must, therefore, avoid beverages such as:

Regular sodas

Fruit drinks

Sports beverages

Coffees and teas sweetened or topped with syrups

Walnut oil to add flavor and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. It can be used to cook food or to drizzle lightly over top.

These beverages are harmful for you as they are loaded with calories and carbohydrates and have zero nutritional value. Instead, you should consume nutrition-loaded sources like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods to get your required dose of carbohydrates. Also, it is a myth that a high-protein diet is best for those suffering from diabetes. Numerous studies have proved that eating too much animal protein may actually cause insulin resistance. A healthy diet includes all three components - proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

4. Eat regularly

Diabetics must abstain from eating huge meals. Instead, you must space your food intake by having smaller, more frequent meals at regular intervals. This will keep your blood sugar in check.

The next important part of this strategy is portion control. Diabetics must eat the right amount of healthy diet and practice weight control. You can also try eating in a smaller plate. A smaller plate makes small servings look bigger. So, make good use of food psychology to satiate those hunger pangs!

5. Check your blood sugar level at least twice a day

You must check regularly if your blood glucose level is in the range advised to you by your doctor. You must also write it down so that you can track your progress and note how different foods and physical activities affect your blood glucose levels.

Also, you must take your prescribed medication in the doses and frequency prescribed by the doctor.

6. Exercise regularly

Regular exercise can also help you maintain an optimum weight. Exercise also helps to reduce stress and control blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. All diabetics must try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.

You can try the following simple exercises for healthy living:

Walking

Dancing

Aerobics

Swimming

Tennis

Stationary bike

Strength training

Stretching etc.

7. Catch up on sleep

This is a well-known fact that when you’re sleep-deprived, you tend to eat more. This makes you put on weight, which causes various health problems. People suffering from diabetes who get enough sleep tend to have healthier eating habits, and therefore, improved blood sugar levels.

8. Manage Stress

Stress and diabetes don't make a good combination. Excessive stress elevates blood sugar levels. You can reduce stress levels by meditating or practicing yoga.

9. See your doctor

At least once a year, get a complete checkup done and talk to your doctor more often. Make sure you get the following tests done in your annual check-up:

Dilated eye exam

Blood pressure check

Foot exam

Screenings for other complications such as nerve damage, kidney damage, and heart disease.

10. Get help for depression

Depression and diabetes often go hand in hand and it has been found that treating both conditions simultaneously helps people stay healthy. It leads to improved blood sugar levels and reduced depression.

11. Prevent sores on the feet

Many people with type 2 diabetes are affected with sores on the feet. This is very dangerous as it can develop into severe wounds, for which amputation of the foot is needed. Thus, it’s extremely important that you inspect your feet regularly for blisters, cuts, and sores. If you find a sore on your foot that isn’t healing, don’t ignore it. Rather, speak to your doctor about it immediately.

12. Educate family and friends

It has been found that people suffering from diabetes who keep their condition a secret from friends, family, and employers end up delaying blood sugar testing and missing insulin injections to avoid drawing attention to themselves. That is why it is important that you educate your family and close friends about diabetes, so they know what to watch out for and help you manage this disease.
If your near and dear ones know how to recognize the signs of dangerously high or low blood glucose levels, a serious tragedy can be averted.

13. Be smart about sweets

The good news for diabetics is that there is no need for you to go sweets-free. You can satisfy your chocolate craving with a dark chocolate daily… with absolutely no guilt. You can even enjoy your favorite treats and desserts if you plan properly and limit intake of hidden sugars.

Let us find out how you can do this:

Avoid eating bread, rice or pasta, if you want dessert. This is because eating sweets after a meal adds to your carbohydrate intake. So, you need to cut back on other carb-heavy foods.

Add some healthy fats such as ricotta cheese, peanut butter, nuts or yogurt to your dessert.

When you eat dessert, truly savor each bite. How many times have you mindlessly gorged on a huge piece of cake? Did you really enjoy each bite? Make your indulgence count by eating slowly and paying attention to the flavors and textures. You will definitely enjoy it more. Above all, you will not overeat.

Keep diabetes under control

There are numerous factors that affect your blood sugar levels. All diabetics are well aware of the fact that keeping their blood sugar levels within the recommended range can be challenging. That's because a number of factors can cause your blood sugar levels to change unexpectedly. If you follow the above healthy living tips, you will surely be able to keep this dangerous disease in control and live your life to the fullest.