Type 1 Diabetes is autoimmune and Type 2 is mostly (not always) a lifestyle disease.
But the hearty thing to hear about this blood sugar-related disease is that you can manage your diabetes and live a long and healthy life by taking care of yourself each day.
Medical experts can help you improve your diabetes self-care. But remember, you are the most important member of your health care team. Watch your diet and see your blood sugar levels normalise.
7 tips to help you
- Choose healthier
carbohydrates: All carbs affect blood glucose levels so it’s important to know which foods contain carbohydrates. Choose the healthier foods that contain carbs – for eg. whole grains like brown rice, buckwheat and whole oats; eat fresh fruits, vegetables, more pulses such as chickpeas, beans and lentils, and dairy like unsweetened yoghurt (dahi) and milk. Most importantly, do not overeat. Instead, monitor your portion sizes. Delete low-fibre foods such as white bread, white rice and highly-processed cereals from your food list.
- Don’t touch the salt-shaker: Moderate salt added during preparation is good enough, do not add salt to a served dish. Excessive salt consumption soon becomes a habit and one develops a taste for salty foods. This type of food raises blood pressure and causes eye and kidney damage. This in turn increases the risk of heart diseases and stroke. And when you have diabetes, you’re already more at risk of all of these conditions.
- Cut down on red and processed meat: According to Harvard Research, it has been established that a high intake of red and especially processed meats can increase the risk of conditions including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain cancers, and early death. This study found that certain cooking methods—regardless of how much meat was eaten—increased disease risk; and chicken, as well as red meat cooked at high temperatures, increased risk. Those who have or are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes who eat meat, chicken, and fish regularly may choose cooking methods that use lower temperatures, or brief periods of high heat, such as with slow cookers, baking, sous-vide, boiling, steaming, stewing, and stir-frying while avoiding high-heat and open-flame methods like grilling, barbecuing, broiling, and roasting, says the Harvard report.
- Check out these healthier protein sources, instead: Whoever said proteins come only in the form of animal meat? Check out yummy pulses such as beans and lentils, cook an egg or steam-cook an oily fish like salmon and mackerel. Make a dish out of poultry like chicken and turkey if you must have meat (remember, no RED meat?), unsalted nuts, beans, peas, lentils et. All these items are full of fibre, keep you feeling fuller longer, and are a great swap for processed and red meat.
- Eat the rainbow nature provides – eat more fruits and vegetables: Aren’t fruits sweet and loaded with fructose? According to American Diabetes Association, most fruits have a low
glycaemic index(GI) because of their fructose and fibre content. Melons and pineapple have medium GI values as do some dried fruits such as dates, raisins and sweetened cranberries. The best choices of fruit are any that are fresh, frozen or canned without added sugars. This can help you get the vitamins, minerals and fibre your body needs every day to stay fit.
- Say no to added sugar: Sugar is addictive, just like banned drugs like cocaine. It awakens the reward centres in the brain just as coke does. Yes, cutting out sugar can be really hard at the beginning, but slowly does it. Swap that sugary drink for water, and say no to energy drinks. Replace fruit juices with the fresh fruit, instead. Go for water, plain milk, or tea and coffee without sugar.
- Snacking and alcohol binges, a big no-no: When one is diabetic, it goes without saying that snacking all the while can send your insulin production into a tizzy and soon, insulin resistance can set in. If you feel like snacking, choose yoghurts, unsalted nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables instead of crisps, chips, biscuits and chocolates. Go easy on alcohol consumption. Alcohol is sugar and calories. Avoid drinking on an empty stomach to avoid hypos. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.