Although many people live long and healthy lives with diabetes, don’t take the diagnosis lightly. This condition can lead to a number of health problems, including heart disease and damage to your nerves and organs. While there is a wealth of medical research behind diabetes, at the end of the day, it is a sign from your body that you need to live a healthier lifestyle. If you learn about (and follow) the following nutrition tips for diabetics, you will likely notice an improvement in your symptoms. In changing your diet, you can improve your quality of life!
Nutrition Tips for Diabetics
Many people think you need to eat special foods when you’re dealing with diabetes, but that’s not at all the case! Rather, you need to eat a diet of normal-yet-nutritious foods — one that’s balanced and low in carbohydrates.
1. Know the Basics of a Diabetes Diet.
In general, you will need to cut back on sugars and carbohydrates, as these substances will worsen your symptoms. Meanwhile, you should be upping your intake of vegetables (especially leafy greens), fruits, fiber, lean protein, and healthy fats (like avocados and nuts). Keep a pantry stocked full of the good stuff and limit your intake of unhealthy foods. When you go out to eat, look for restaurants that offer healthier options on the menu.
2. Maintain a healthy weight.
Being overweight or obese — especially around your middle — largely contributes to and exacerbates diabetes. It also leads to higher cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. One of the best things you can do for yourself and your condition is to reach (or maintain) a healthy weight. Part of this will come from a healthier diet, but you may also consider regular exercise. Don’t be afraid to take baby steps here; even talking a daily walk around the neighborhood can make a difference.
3. Focus on Portions.
At this point, it’s common knowledge that Americans eat too much on average. If your portion sizes are simply too big, you will consume more calories than you truly need. You’ve likely grown accustomed to eating a certain amount, but creating smaller portions can help you stay healthy without completely limiting your food options. To trick your mind into ignoring the change in portion size, try using smaller plates and bowls!
4. Know When to Avoid Sugar and Carbs.
Notice we didn’t say, “Completely give up sugar and carbs.” Diabetics don’t have to kiss sugar- and carb-loaded foods goodbye forever — that’s a common misconception. Of course, plowing through a box of Girl Scout cookies won’t ever be great for your health, so you need to find a healthy middle ground. This is one of the most essential nutrition tips for diabetics, and it bears its own considerations to keep in mind:
- Swap out white grains (white rice, pasta, or bread) for their whole-grain counterparts. Whole grains have more fiber.
- Eat sugar with a meal rather than on its own, as this will help your body digest the sugar.
- Avoid “low-fat” foods. They sound appealing, but they often have a higher amount of sugar.
- Don’t drink your sugar. Limit sodas, juices, and sugary sports drinks, and stick to water.
If you have diabetes, paying attention to your diet is one of the most important things you can do to stay in good health. In some cases, healthy habits can even reverse diabetes! Keep your health at the top of your mind, and you can lead a healthier and happier lifestyle.
Are you looking for more nutrition tips for diabetics? If so, get in touch with Phoenix Home Care. Our caregivers and clinicians work with patients in the comfort of their own homes, providing the same level of care they would receive in a traditional facility. We have a team of licensed professionals that serve individuals in four states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado. To learn more about our services, get in touch with us at 855-881-7442, or visit us online. We look forward to connecting with you.