One of the top metabolic disorders that cause multiple hospitalizations yearly is diabetes. Type 2 diabetes results in an increase in blood sugar. If patients do not manage their diabetes properly, the disease may potentially cause irreversible damage to your eyes, kidneys, liver, and heart. Thankfully, there are a number of tips available on how to make certain dietary and lifestyle changes in order to manage diabetes (in collaboration with doctor-prescribed medications, like insulin).
Here are some top lifestyle and dietary changes to help manage diabetes:
1. Quit smoking
When a person smokes, they are basically depriving themselves of good cholesterol. Smoking also raises the blood pressure and the chances of developing blood clots tend to be high. It is also quite common among smokers to have difficulty breathing. However, if you are a diabetic and a smoker, there is an increased chance of nerve damage and kidney disease. Studies show that a diabetic with smoking habits (5-8 cigars per day) is three times more likely to contract the cardiovascular disease than a nonsmoker. Besides it definitely increases the blood sugar levels, thereby making it difficult to manage your diabetes. Hence, quitting smoking, as a lifestyle change is highly recommended.
2. Lose excess weight
You can start with 3 hours a week of moderate physical activity. You could either choose to split the three hours a week into a short duration of workout every day or you could dedicate a few days of a week that you know are convenient for you for this purpose. But what is crucial is to start somewhere. Ensure that you lose weight gradually and don’t go on a hunger strike because it will never work. Watch your body mass index. It should gradually come down. Some moderate physical activities include:
- Brisk walking
- Swimming or water aerobics
- Even using a lawn mower is a good start. This also includes gardening.
3. Try yoga
It would also be good to include Yoga as part of your workout as it focuses largely on the breath. This kind of workout works on the autonomous nervous system of your body, which is largely responsible for managing your stress levels. It is imperative to know that stress is a major risk factor for diabetes. As long as you keep this under control, which largely happens through workouts, you are on the right path.
4. Foods to consume to manage diabetes
The following should be included as part of your daily meal:
- Fiber-rich whole grains like barley, brown rice, whole wheat, and corn
- Non-fried fish can be included at least 2-3 times a week as it is high in fatty acids. Example, salmon, trout, and herring. Also, chicken or turkey without skin can be consumed.
- Ensure to consume only lean meats
- Include deeply colored fruits and vegetables like spinach, peaches, and carrots in your diet.
- Dairy products should only be fat-free
- Unsalted nuts can be consumed
- Legumes are a must
5. Foods to avoid with diabetes
The following items should be avoided as much as possible:
- Sweets and added sugars — Glucose, fructose, corn syrup, soda, honey, colas, etc.
- Fatty and processed meats like pork and beef
- Consuming more salt than required
- Trans fat — this is a part of cakes, cookies, pastries, pies, doughnuts, french fries, etc
- Alcohol — restrict it to one-two drinks per day.