No two people are the same; this includes people who have diabetes. The best way to manage your diabetes will look very different for every person. There are even several different types of diabetes. Nonetheless, some things are a good idea for pretty much everyone. We should all eat more fruit, for example, and get less salt. We can all change our diets to live healthier and feel better. But what should you specifically know if you have diabetes or have just been diagnosed with diabetes? Let’s take a look at some top health care tips for people with diabetes:
Get heart-healthy protein sources
When you cut down on carbohydrates, you might eat more meat and protein to satisfy you. Have you tried pulses like peas, beans, and lentils? Not only do these protein sources help you live a more eco-friendly life, but they are high in fibre, so they also don’t affect your blood glucose levels much.
Eggs, chicken, turkey, and (unsalted) nuts are other good protein sources, but avoid processed meats like bacon, ham, and sausages. Besides containing added carbohydrates and salt, these processed meats are also linked to cancers and heart problems.
Best of all is oily fish like mackerel or salmon. These fish contain omega-3 oil, an oil that protects your heart. So you’re off to a flying start if you can get two portions of oily fish a week!
Consume less salt
We should all eat less salt. Not only does salt increase the risk of high blood pressure, but this high blood pressure then makes heart disease and strokes more likely. As you probably know, diabetes means you’re predisposed to these conditions already.
So, what can we do about salt? Well, the main thing is limiting your intake. Many foods you buy already contain some salt, which is displayed on the packaging. Fortunately, there are often low-salt versions of foods available, so look for these. Cooking from scratch is another fantastic way to limit your intake. Try to consume a maximum of 6g of salt daily; this is just one teaspoonful!
Salt is indeed an excellent way to bring out the flavor of what you’re eating. But there are other ways to get taste, too. For example, herbs and spices are a brilliant way to get some flavor in your life.
Go for healthy carbohydrates
Since all carbohydrates affect your blood glucose levels, you must know which foods have carbohydrates. Brown rice, buckwheat, and whole oats are good carbohydrates with plenty of fibre. On top of this, many fruits, vegetables, and pulses like peas and beans are good carbohydrates too. Dairy like milk and unsweetened yogurt are good sources of carbohydrates as well.
Now that you’ve identified the good carbohydrates, it’s time to work on cutting down on low-fibre foods. These include white rice, white bread, and processed breakfast cereals. If you are still unsure, check a food label. People with diabetes should especially use these health care tips.
Load up on healthy fats
Some people avoid fat because they think it is unhealthy. But fat is an essential source of energy. However, it’s also true that various fats affect a person’s health differently.
There’s a reason everyone’s raving about avocados. Along with foods like oily fish, olive oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, and seeds and nuts, they are a great source of beneficial fats. However, you need to watch out for more foods like processed meat, red meat, lard, butter, ghee, and foods containing these fats like pastries, cakes, pies and biscuits. These foods contain saturated fats. This type of fat increases the cholesterol you have in your blood, making heart problems more likely.
If you want to reduce your use of these oils, try steaming, grilling or baking foods.
Get more fruit and vegetables
We should all do it. Everyone knows fruit and vegetables are brilliant for you. They’ve got vitamins, minerals, and fibre. So, try to get a variety of fruit and veggies in your meals, and use them in snacks too.
Some people with diabetes think they should avoid fruit due to its sugar. However, the sugar you find in fruit differs from the added sugar or free sugar in sweets or biscuits. The sugar in fruit is natural and doesn’t affect your body in the same way.
Perhaps surprisingly, fruit juices are technically considered an added sugar. So, it’s still best to stick to whole fruit. Frozen, dried, fresh and tinned all count – but look for juice rather than syrup. Eating fruit throughout the day is also better than a large portion all at once.
Look out for added sugar
Yes, completely cutting out sugar is almost impossible. It’s added to nearly everything, making it difficult to anticipate the effects of some snacks or meals on your blood sugar. But there are some easy tips and steps you can take.
Swapping any sugary drinks or energy drinks with water or milk is one good place to start, as is having coffee or tea with no sugar. But if you miss that sweet taste, there are also sweeteners and soft drinks already containing these sweeteners. Just be careful, as overconsumption of these also has its side effects.
Of course, if you get diabetic hypos, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use sugary drinks to treat them. But if you have hypos regularly, you must talk about this with your healthcare professional.
Watch what you drink
Yes, you can still drink alcohol when you have diabetes. But, just like anyone else, you still have to be careful. Alcohol is high in calories, so it’s important to limit how much you drink. Spread out your alcohol intake and avoid binge drinking, and do without alcohol for several days each week.
Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach can also make hypos more likely. So, avoid this if you take insulin or other medications for diabetes. Hopefully these health care tips for people with diabetes gave you more insightful help for a healthier life.Image Credit