Dietary Adjustments You Need to Make When You Have Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic illness that affects an individual’s blood sugar levels. The CDC reports that over one in ten Americans suffers from this disease and one in three adults are pre-diabetic. On a smaller scope, Philly Public Health reveals that an estimated 135,000 adults from Philadelphia alone were diagnosed with diabetes in 2017 alone. This is a 50% jump from statistics collected in 2002. It was also mentioned how one in three people are unaware that they are diabetic.

Diabetes can affect anyone, but people with a history of it in the family are more susceptible to developing the condition. SymptomFind describes it as a condition where your body cannot properly process food as energy, specifically the glucose in it. Insulin, a sugar-regulating hormone, does not function properly in people with diabetes, leading to sugar staying in the bloodstream. The most common forms of diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that is genetically inherited and usually manifests early in life. At its worst, it can cause a coma. However, it's not without reprieve. Those living with this illness have to change their lifestyle completely, monitoring both diet and blood sugar levels constantly. Type 2 diabetes on the other hand is a metabolic condition that is preventable and may even be reversed with proper care. This is typically present in those with unhealthy lifestyles and eating habits which can lead to heart conditions and strokes.

This means that leading a healthier life can positively impact your condition. Aside from taking insulin as recommended by your physician, another thing you can do is to exercise regularly. This is especially helpful for those with Type 2 diabetes as physical activity is known to help regulate hormones. Aside from this, a proper diet with foods that regulate blood sugar and are low in glucose will help immensely. Here are just some of the dietary changes you can make to help manage your illness:

Choose the Right Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates form some of the primary meal staples for many people. Pasta, rice, and bread are just some of the most common ones across the globe. But with diabetes, it’s best to steer clear of these carbohydrates. They are packed with sugars that will amount to a lot of glucose in your system if you eat them. There are many substitutes out there like whole grains and potatoes.

There are many ways to create dishes with them that are flavorful. For one, you can prepare adlai or couscous as a side for your protein instead of white bread or rice. Potatoes on the other hand can be cooked in a variety of ways but baking them may be best. A past article on Salt of the Earth highlights the different things you can serve with them like chili or bean dips. These carbohydrates are known to have lower levels of sugar as opposed to rice and bread but will definitely still be able to give you energy throughout the day.

Avoid Sugary Foods

This might seem like a basic rule for people with diabetes but there are certain foods out there that may contain more sugar than you think. Daisy Whitbread writes that some of your favorite fruits like oranges, bananas, grapes, and apples are jam-packed with fructose. This is a naturally occurring sugar in most produce, but these have some of the highest levels of it.

Although they are healthy, it is probably best to steer clear of them or at least eat them in moderation. Avocado, watermelon, and strawberries are examples of fruits that don’t contain significant amounts of sugar so they can be eaten more frequently. Before you eat food, it is best to check their nutritional facts so you are more aware of what to avoid.

Eat More Fiber

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that patients with Type 2 diabetes who followed high-fiber diets had an improvement in their blood sugar levels. Aside from this, they found that it also helped lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Some examples of foods with a lot of fiber are beans and lentils. These are easy to incorporate into different meals. Oats are also known to be fibrous so eating oatmeal a few times a week for breakfast will be able to make a noticeable difference during your next fasting blood sugar test. Fiber can also aid in proper metabolism, helping fix other hormonal imbalances you may have.

Add Greens to Your Diet

Vegetables are known to contain a lot of nutrients that keep your body healthy, but studies show that they, especially leafy greens, can help regulate blood sugar. Times Now News explains how they are full of antioxidants and vitamins that will help rid your body of harmful waste. Those rich in vitamin C are also reported to reduce fasting blood sugar levels for people with Type 2 diabetes. They are also highly accessible and fairly easy to add to your diet.

This can be done by eating lettuce salads with oil-based dressings, steaming broccoli, or drinking a completely plant-based shake (sans any sweeteners). Greens are important for every diet but they are especially so for those with chronic illnesses like diabetes.

Living with this disease will really require making several lifestyle changes. Regulating blood sugar is of the utmost importance when you have diabetes so your condition doesn’t progress and further. Use these dietary recommendations to help you navigate your new lifestyle.

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