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Improve Wellbeing In Diabetes: Healthy, Wealthy & Wise With Diabetes

Written by GHBY Team on Tue, 27 December 2022 — Fact checked by Dr. Stefanenko Irina Borisovna

Key Highlights

  • Managing your body weight is one of the most critical ways of blood glucose management.
  • Check your blood sugar levels regularly and monitor the level of glycated hemoglobin.
  • Master new ways of stress management to prevent it from worsening your diabetes and quality of life.
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Getting diagnosed with diabetes can be a life-changing event. Diabetes can be of two types: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is when the body cannot produce insulin, and type 2 is when the pancreas cannot make sufficient insulin to control blood glucose. It is natural to have doubts in your mind like, “What can I eat if I have diabetes?” or “Can diet alone cure diabetes?”

With the onset of diabetes, you may have to change a few things in your routine that you may not be ready for. These new changes can strain your overall well-being, including your physical and emotional health.

Therefore, the best way to manage diabetes would be to treat the mind and body equally. Here are some easy steps to achieve good health and improve overall well-being in diabetes.

Make healthy food choices

Managing your weight within the normal range should be one of your primary goals in improving your well-being. Being overweight or obese can impair the functioning of insulin, the hormone that keeps the blood sugar levels within normal levels. One of the best ways to manage weight is to pay close attention to what you eat.

Three eating tips for people with diabetes

  • Include plenty of vegetables and fruits in your diet. Not only are they loaded with nutrients, but they also give you the right amount of fiber that makes you feel full.
  • Watch your portion sizes. A portion is the quantity of food that you decide to eat at one time. Try to reduce the portion size of carbohydrates like rice and compensate it with an increased portion size of salads and non-starchy vegetables like green beans or broccoli.
  • Never skip meals. Eat at regular intervals in small quantities. Skipping your meals to reduce calorie intake is not a wise decision. If you skip meals, you may end up overeating. Moreover, there are chances of experiencing a sudden dip in sugar levels, causing weakness, dizziness, and fatigue. 

healthy food choices

Apart from the tips mentioned above, you can ensure that you eat healthy by cutting down on sugary foods or beverages and checking your carbohydrate consumption.

Maintaining a food diary helps you keep track of the type and the quantity of food you eat in a day. If you are confused about which food to pick and which to avoid, talk to a certified nutritionist and get an individualized meal plan that suits your dietary needs.

What are the 10 best foods to eat if you have diabetes

Wondering which foods are good for you if you have diabetes? Here is a list of the 10 best foods that you can have:

  • Walnuts: As they are rich in polyunsaturated fats, they reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and improve blood sugar. Besides, walnuts help manage weight and are good for your brain, bones, and gut.
  • Cinnamon: Not only does this spice add flavor to your food, but it also has a promising effect of lowering fasting blood glucose levels. So, the next time you have yogurt, oatmeal, or coffee, do not forget to sprinkle some cinnamon over it.
  • Oatmeal: Whole grains like oats are rich in soluble fiber and help improve insulin sensitivity, providing better control over blood sugar levels.
  • Olive oil: As it is rich in monounsaturated fats, it helps reduce insulin resistance and enables insulin to regulate blood glucose levels more efficiently. Moreover, the polyphenols of olive oil lower blood pressure and inflammation.
  • Beans: Beans are one of the most inexpensive and widely available foods that can help keep your blood sugar levels within the normal range. They belong to the legume family and are incredible sources of Vitamin B.
  • Broccoli: This green vegetable is another nutritious option for people with diabetes as it is loaded with nutrients, is low in carbohydrates, and can bring blood glucose under control. Being a cruciferous vegetable, broccoli contains sulforaphane, a compound that may be responsible for decreasing blood glucose levels.
  • Flaxseeds: These are known to reduce inflammation, lower the risk of heart diseases and enhance insulin sensitivity.
  • Chia seeds: Chia seeds are extremely rich in fiber and are hot favorites for those who wish to lose weight. It is also known to lower blood sugar levels. They slow down the passage of food through your gut and prolong the duration of nutrient absorption. That’s why you feel full for a long time.
  • Garlic: This incredible vegetable has excellent cholesterol-regulating properties and is highly beneficial in blood glucose management as well.
  • Lentils: Red, yellow or green lentils contain plenty of proteins and can be a fabulous addition to almost any meal-lunch and dinner. Cooked lentils contain 8.84 g of protein per ½ cup.

Can people with diabetes eat starchy food?

If you have diabetes, it is best to limit, if not avoid, the consumption of starchy foods. Starchy food can spike blood glucose levels and contributes to weight gain.

Can eating junk food cause diabetes?

Junk food or fast food is loaded with saturated fats and sugars that can increase blood sugar levels, which can lead to an increase in body weight. Studies have shown that junk food can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.14

Can you be skinny and have diabetes?

Yes, you can be skinny and have diabetes. One of the most common myths regarding diabetes is that those who are overweight or obese will have diabetes, whereas the skinny ones will never.

Though obesity puts you at a greater risk of developing diabetes, it is not the only risk factor.

Family history, sedentary lifestyle, and unhealthy habits like smoking or overconsumption of junk food are other risk factors that can contribute to the development of diabetes.

Stay active

Can diet alone cure diabetes? No. Along with a balanced diet, you must keep yourself physically active to maintain your blood glucose levels.

Diabetes Prevention

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, healthy adults should engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic exercise or physical activity to maintain good health.

So, if you go for a brisk walk for half an hour twice a week, along with a 20-minute jog for two other days of the week, you can achieve the recommended duration of physical activity.

If you have a busy lifestyle and are unable to spend even half an hour a day, you can try other things like taking the stairs instead of using a lift, riding a bicycle to your workplace instead of driving a car, or even walking to the water dispenser kept at the farthest point to get some water.

Monitor your sugar levels

You should check your blood sugar levels routinely or as directed by your physician. Generally, you will be requested to go for a fasting blood sugar test (done on an empty stomach) and a postprandial blood sugar test (performed two hours after your meal).

In some situations, the doctor may order a random blood sugar test (at any random point of the day).

Routine check-ups give you an idea of whether you are in the right direction of blood glucose management or whether some modifications in your diet or lifestyle need to be incorporated. Similarly, checking your glycated hemoglobin (also called HbA1c) once or twice a year will also help you understand if your blood sugar level is under control or not.

A glycated hemoglobin test tells you the average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months. A reading of 4% to 5.6% is considered normal for the HbA1c test.

Take your meds on time

Taking your medicines, either in the form of tablets or insulin injections, as directed by your doctor, will help you control your blood glucose levels. It is essential to take medicines in the correct dose at the right time.

If you are on insulin, you should learn to store your insulin injections correctly to ensure the maximum effectiveness of the medicine. If you develop any side effects from your medications, you should report them to your healthcare provider immediately.

Manage Stress

Managing your blood glucose levels may become difficult if you are under stressful circumstances over a prolonged period. Studies have reported that stress can cause a spike in blood glucose levels.

It can also decrease your energy levels, disturb your sleep pattern and negatively impact your emotional well-being. Unmanaged stress can lead to unhealthy indulgences like overeating or excess alcohol consumption/smoking. Therefore, try to calm yourself in stressful situations and get professional help if you are unable to cope well with stress. H2: Quit smoking

‘How can I lower my risk of diabetes?’ is a common question. One of the ways to lower your risk would be to quit smoking. It is easier said than done, but you should still try quitting this harmful habit due to its serious health implications.

In people with diabetes, smoking increases the risk of kidney disease, nerve damage, heart disease, and stroke and raises blood sugar levels making blood glucose management all the more difficult. Hence, it is the right time to decide whether you should continue with this harmful habit or kick it away for good.

Conclusion

Living with diabetes can be made easy by actively regulating blood sugar levels. One of the best ways to improve well-being in people with diabetes is to maintain optimal body weight. By reducing the intake of calories and burning the excess through physical exercise, you can keep a check on your weight. Consult a certified nutritionist if you need help with queries like ‘what fruit should diabetics eat’ or ‘what kind of meats can a diabetic eat.’

Regular blood tests should be done to monitor blood glucose levels. Follow the instructions of your physician strictly in terms of the dose and timing of your medicines. Try to avoid stress or learn to deal with it in a healthy manner. Kick the smoking habit and lower the risk of complications like heart disease, kidney problems, or stroke.

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GHBY Team

GHBY Team comprises content writers and content editors who specialise in health and lifestyle writing. Always on the lookout for new trends in the health and lifestyle space, Team GHBY follows an audience-first approach. This ensures they bring the latest in the health space to your fingertips, so you can stay ahead in your wellness game. 
 

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