Many people who suffer from diabetes tend to look at the disease as incredibly difficult, something that can be frustrating to live with, and incredibly debilitating. While this may indeed prove to be the case for some individuals with diabetes, living a healthy lifestyle can prevent the condition from worsening. It starts with a good diet and exercise. These two can help people with type 2 diabetes control their condition and live as normally as possible.
So, how do you develop a diet and exercise plan that will work? What foods can you eat, and what exercises should you do? The good news is you have many options at your disposal. Read on to learn some recommendations for diet and exercise for diabetes.
What to Eat When You Have Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you know that your diet significantly impacts your blood sugar levels and insulin response. With the right food choices and exercise, you can help keep your blood sugar levels in check and keep yourself healthy for years to come. The best diet plan for people with diabetes is a plan you’ll follow. That means making realistic changes to your eating habits.
When you have diabetes, a little planning goes a long way. Your diabetes care team may help set up a meal plan that includes the right amount of carbohydrates, fat, and protein for you. This diet may vary depending on your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. You may have to make adjustments to your meal plan if you take certain medications for diabetes.
Generally, here’s what you need to keep in mind to get started:
Eat a variety of nutrients
Healthy diabetic meals start with a plate full of nutrients. We recommend that you eat various nutrient-dense foods from all food groups. This means choosing whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy products, and healthy fats for each meal. Choosing a variety of foods will ensure you have the right balance of vitamins and other nutrients for good health. When it comes to fruits, choose low-sugar varieties like berries or apples over sugary tropical fruits like mangos or pineapples.
Make the majority of your diet plant-based
A diet with more plant-based foods is better for your body. Legumes, leafy greens, and whole grains are all high in fiber, which slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. It also helps you lose weight and lower your cholesterol level and blood pressure, which are essential for reducing your risk of severe complications from diabetes.
Limit red meat and processed foods
Processed foods are second on the list of top foods to avoid for people with diabetes. Highly processed foods are low in nutritional value and often high in sodium and saturated fats. Red meat, including beef, pork, lamb, and veal, is high in saturated fat, leading to heart disease. Avoid consuming red meat more than twice per week; choose lean proteins like fish and poultry more often.
Eat whole grains
The best diet for people living with diabetes focuses on whole grains, which have a low glycemic index. Foods with low glycemic index are digested more slowly and don’t lead to spikes in blood glucose levels. Whole grains, including brown rice, millet, barley, oatmeal, and quinoa, contain fiber and other nutrients necessary for good blood sugar and cholesterol control.
Choose low-carbohydrate foods
A high carbohydrate diet quickly raises blood glucose levels. When planning meals, put vegetables on half your plate, whole grains on a quarter of your plate, and a source of lean protein on the last quarter. Ditch the white stuff (white bread, pasta, and potatoes).
For those with diabetes, watching sodium intake is a must because high blood pressure is one of the biggest threats to people with diabetes. Aim to keep your daily intake under 1500 milligrams or ¼ teaspoon.
Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages
Researchers have found that one 12-ounce serving of sugar-sweetened beverages may raise your risk of type 2 diabetes by 22%. Beverages like soda, fruit juices, and sweet tea are brimming with added sugars that contribute to a higher blood sugar level. Plain water, coffee, or tea (without sugar) would be a better choice (without sugar).
Add omega-3 fats to your diet
By consuming omega-3 fatty acids, you reduce your risk of heart disease, a significant risk for diabetics. Moreover, it reduces inflammation, which has been associated with complications from diabetes such as heart problems and neuropathy (nerve damage). A good source of omega-3 is fish, like trout and salmon, and nuts and seeds.
Lower your intake of saturated fat
Choose lean meats instead of red meat to limit your saturated and trans fats intake. When preparing meat, remove visible fat from the meat and trim the skin off poultry. Also, choose low-fat dairy products like Greek yogurt. Go for good fats such as avocado, olive oil, and nuts. Avoid butter and shortening as much as possible.
The Best Exercise for Diabetes
Exercise is another central component of any successful diabetes treatment plan. There’s no single best exercise for diabetes —any physical activity is better than none at all. Diabetes is all about regulation—and exercise helps control your blood sugar levels because it triggers your muscle cells to draw glucose from the bloodstream to use as fuel. Doctors usually recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity at least 3-5 days per week.
Listed below are diabetic exercises you can choose from:
Walking is a moderate-intensity exercise that helps burn calories and increase insulin sensitivity. It also helps with weight loss, which is one of the most important things for people with diabetes to do. You can walk anywhere if you have the ability, so there’s no excuse for not doing it at least once a day.
This exercise is another good option for diabetics because it is low impact but still gets your heart rate up and burns calories. Swimming also provides resistance training that strengthens muscles and tones the body.
This exercise lets you get your heart rate up without putting pressure on your joints. It’s also a great way to get outside and enjoy nature while getting in shape!
Some of the most popular racquet sports include tennis, badminton, and squash. Each of these sports requires you to stand on your feet and move around the court, thus helping you burn calories while developing endurance, cardiovascular health, and muscular strength.
Dancing is one of the best ways for people with diabetes to get active. This aerobic exercise is great for burning calories and getting your heart rate up, but it also has the added benefits of being both fun and social. Another great thing about dancing is that you can do it at different intensity levels. If you prefer fast-paced music, try salsa or swing. If you like slower songs, ballroom dancing might be appropriate for you.
Yoga is an excellent choice of fitness for diabetics. It can help increase flexibility and improve physical fitness. It also offers psychological benefits, helping to reduce stress and allowing for time for reflection and relaxation, which improves mental health.
While strength training is most commonly thought of for building muscle and looking toned, it does much more than that: it also aids in weight management, increases bone density, and improves balance and stability. However, if you’re new to exercise, you must start slow.
If you choose exercises that you enjoy, you will likely stick with them over time. And remember to warm up and do some stretching before any workout to avoid injuries. Before beginning any type of exercise program, talk with your doctor. Your doctor can provide advice on the best type of exercise for your specific needs and what precautions you should take.
Reverse Type 2 Diabetes!
There are many ways to incorporate healthier eating habits along with exercising regularly to help manage diabetes. By following the guidelines on this blog, you will be able to control your diabetes better.
With the help of an expert physician who can customize a diet and exercise plan, it is possible to manage diabetes effectively and even reverse it. Learn about our Diabetes Reversal Program today. Reach out to PHWC by calling 441-292-5111 or schedule a consultation online by calling 441-292-5111 or schedule a consultation online.