Diabetes comes in many different forms. With various types out there, it is a tricky subject to advise on. What works for one person may not be successful for another, and that goes for all sorts of different factors. However, your diet is something you should always endeavour to keep a close eye on if you have diabetes. The chances are you know this already, but there is often room for improvement. We hope to provide this improvement over the course of these 10 tips, where we focus on helping those with diabetes to monitor their sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol.
As always with tips like these, it is always worth contacting a medical professional if you have any significant concerns. However, as far as general-purpose features go, we feel that there is something for everyone in amongst these tips and if you just want to make a few tweaks to your diet that can do you good in all sorts of ways, we invite you to read on.
1. Always Strive to Eat Healthy Carbs
Carbohydrates are an essential part of any diet, but they’re a necessary consideration for anyone with diabetes due to their impact and influence on blood glucose levels. Try to avoid unhealthy options which can have a detrimental impact on how you feel. Instead, go with healthier options like fruits and vegetables. Consider unsweetened dairy products too – yoghurt and milk are both excellent sources of the carbs you need, delivered in a relatively healthy format.
2. Cut Down on Your Sodium Intake
Salt is a driving factor behind high blood pressure and, as someone susceptible to changes, you should ensure that you don’t consume too much. Experts recommend no more than 6g of salt intake each day, and you will need to consider the salt in processed and prepackaged foods on top of any you add yourself. As you may already be accustomed to, home cooking is often a great solution to this as it provides optimal control over what you eat and when.
3. Cut Down on Red Meat
Most healthy eating guides advise people to remain modest with their red meat intake, and that goes for a diabetic diet too. White meat and fish are adequate replacements, and if you’ve decided to move away from meat altogether, nuts and pulses can be suitable substitutes too.
4. Up Your Fruit and Vegetable Intake
The direct benefit of eating more fruits and vegetables is covered in the first tip. Even if you don’t need more healthy carbs, the benefits of an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption cannot be understated. You also should not worry too much about the sugar content, as while there is sugar in most fruit, it is natural rather than processed and is, therefore, more manageable.
5. Healthy Fats are a Must
As it turns out, many of the things contained in foods that are often considered bad for you also have healthy alternatives. Just as it can be said for carbohydrates, the same can be said of fats. Ideally, we want to avoid cholesterol wherever possible and focus instead on nuts, seeds and oily foods. This provides the fat required for energy, with fewer drawbacks associated with fats found in other foods.
6. Take Smaller Steps with Sugar Reduction
Reducing sugar intake is something that even those without diabetes commonly associate with the condition, and it remains true. As noted, you can get away with the sugars found in fruits and vegetables. If you struggle to cut down elsewhere, try small steps at first. This means dropping sugar from your tea and coffee, going with sugar-free drinks and getting used to the taste of sweeteners, and basically going with the lower-sugar alternatives to your favourite foods and beverages.
7. Don’t Let Yourself Down with Snacking
Snacking gets to everyone, regardless of any medical considerations. It is often the best area of focus for those with diabetes that want to cut down on sugar. Many of the foods already mentioned in this feature serve as excellent replacements – rather than chocolate and crisps, consider nuts and fruit in their place.
8. Don’t Overdo the Alcohol
There is nothing wrong with the occasional drink, but those with diabetes should always consider their consumption in moderation, just like anyone else. Overall, the aim should be to avoid binge drinking at all costs and to spread the recommended weekly consumption out over the week wherever possible.
9. Don’t Fall for Diabetic Marketing
There was a time when some food and drink manufacturers would label their products as being ideal for those with diabetes. However, in the UK and some other countries, it is now illegal to label anything as diabetic food. This makes sense simply because there is nothing to these foods that makes them noticeably better than anything else when consumed as part of a balanced diet. Take action and take control, and be the sole judge of what goes into your body and you’ll achieve even better results.
10. Vitamins and Supplements are Not a Quick Fix
Some people recommend that those with diabetes should seek to take supplements and vitamins in addition to those they consume as part of their regular diet. The fact is that even those with diabetes can control the vitamins they consume each day by monitoring their diet. If you’re to go to the trouble of using these tips, then you’ll have more control of what enters your body. Where there are concerns over how many vitamins and minerals you need, you can adjust this through what you eat, therefore making supplements redundant and unnecessary.