If you’re living with type 2 diabetes or have been diagnosed with prediabetes, you’ve likely had many questions regarding how diabetes affects your life and future. The good news about type 2 diabetes is that it can be controlled, and consistent efforts to implement small changes in your lifestyle can significantly improve your day-to-day quality of life while reducing your risk of developing health complications.
Our team at Premier Medical Group wants to help you manage your type 2 diabetes and have prepared recommendations that you can apply to your daily routine.
Diabetes shouldn’t stop you and your family from living a healthy life and eating delicious food. Start by planning your meals before grocery shopping, which will help you prioritize the healthiest food purchasing while sticking to an affordable budget.
- Lean meats: Eat meat sources with less fat content and consider removing skin and excess fat where necessary. These include chicken and turkey; fish such as salmon, tuna, tilapia, and cod; lean cuts of beef such as round, tenderloin, sirloin, or flank; and lean cuts of pork such as tenderloin and loin chop.
- Plant-based sources of protein: The American Diabetes Association recommends legumes and beans as essential food groups that aids in disease prevention. Add beans and legumes, hummus, nuts and nut butters, tofu and edamame to your diet.
- Vegetables with healthier starch quantity: Non-starchy vegetables or those with healthier quantities of starch such as green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, carrots and spinach are rich in fiber and nutrients. Such foods help to maintain blood glucose level.
- Whole foods instead of processed foods: Packed with the natural vitamins, minerals, and fiber, whole foods are more nutritious than their refined counterparts. Replace white bread, rice, and pasta with their brown alternatives. Also reduce consumption of processed foods which often include excess sodium, added sugars, and artificial flavors and preservatives which can be detrimental to your health.
- Eat fruits and vegetables everyday: When it comes to fruits and vegetables, enjoy the colors of the rainbow. These color-rich foods are often packed with nutrients that help reduce your risk of developing heart disease and other ailments.
Check food labels
Food labels help you recognize the nutritional value of the foods you consume so knowing how to read the Nutrition Facts label on food items is essential to improving your diet and overall health. To help control get your type 2 diabetes, you’ll need to pay keen attention to the following when you read food labels:
- Sodium: Americans on average consume more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium daily. The American Heart Association, on the contrary, recommends that individuals consume no more than 2,300 milligrams at as little as 1500 milligrams of sodium where possible. Since sodium can have a negative effect on your health and impair organs including your heart, be on the lookout for all sodium-based ingredients on a food label, including salt as well as ingredients such as sodium nitrate, sodium benzoate or monosodium glutamate.
- Added sugars: Reduce consumption of foods with added sugars, especially fructose, which can act as a building block of fat and increase fat accumulation in the liver, leading to inflammation and insulin resistance.
- Fiber content: The more fiber you can consume, the healthier you’ll feel. Foods with high fiber content will make you feel fuller for longer while lowering your risk of developing heart disease and cancer. Since the body cannot digest this kind of carbohydrate, fiber also helps you manage your blood sugar.
- Saturated fats: When checking food labels, learn to avoid foods with high fat content, particularly saturated fats which can increase the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) in your body and increase your risks of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). Instead, choose to eat foods with healthy fats such as avocado, mackerel, sardines, and olive, sunflower, corn, and groundnut oils.
Physical activity is an excellent way to reduce your risk of developing complications related to type 2 diabetes. As you commit to more time spent on the move, you stand to gain significant benefits which include maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight, as needed; improved sleep; feeling happier; controlling blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol, and improved memory.
With a creative mindset you can add more physical activity to your routine which may not require a gym membership or significant shifts in your routine. Small and simple steps done consistently can have lasting results. The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends 150 minutes of physical activity each week.
Also be mindful that staying active is one way you can reduce the sodium in your body (through sweating), strengthen your muscles and improve your body’s capacity to regulate insulin.
Stress is known to have a negative impact on health. It can undermine your efforts to stay healthy. Did you know, for instance, that when stressed our bodies produce stress hormones that make blood glucose go up?
Stress can also derail your progress by making it harder to stay motivated. After all, it takes effort to keep up with checking your blood glucose levels daily, eating healthy and keeping active.
Take the following steps when you feel stress:
- Talk to a trusted loved one about how your feel
- Pray or meditate
- Write your thoughts down
- Try ways to relax by listening to music, doing yoga, dancing or deep breathing
- Set limits on what you will do for others
- Practice positive talk
- Join a support group
- Be physically active
As you also take a proactive approach to stress management by ensuring you practice self-care, take time to care for and be kind to yourself. This includes proper foot care. If you haven’t been practicing self-care lately, schedule time each week to do so.