As of 2019, there are 77 million type 2 diabetic people in India and the number has only risen. If not taken care of, diabetes can lead to even more diseases and affect your eyes, kidney, heart, and nerves. The best part is that it’s a lifestyle disease, and you can prevent it with a healthy lifestyle.
There’s nothing complicated when it comes to prevention – being active, eating healthy and managing weight are the only things you need to do.
If you are already diagnosed with it, don’t worry, you can maintain your blood sugar levels and still take care of yourself before it affects other parts of your body. You can follow the same rules – be active, eat healthily and manage weight.
But, there are a few extra things you can take care of. It can be confusing, we know; that’s why we have compiled a list of dos and don’ts for diabetic patients.
We know in today’s busy world, finding time to exercise is difficult. But, being sedentary is harming your body more than you can imagine. Exercising every day has the most impact on maintaining your blood sugar level. Cardio or strength, even better – combine both; you can choose whatever you like.
Exercise has many benefits for diabetic patients:
It can lower high blood sugar levels.
It can help you lose weight.
It can help you build muscle.
It can keep your joints healthy.
Losing weight and building muscles can help in the prevention and maintenance of diabetes – it improves your insulin resistance which means it can help lower your blood glucose level. It also helps to prevent and treat joint pains, which are common among diabetics.
Don’t worry you don’t have to join a gym or work out for 1 hour every day. Start slow, go for walks, take stairs instead of elevators, and don’t call a cab if you are going nearby. When you get into the habit of doing these, then develop a routine – there are tons of YouTube videos you can follow, join a gym if you prefer or hire a personal trainer if you have accountability issues.
(Jogging; Photo by StockSnap, Source)
Eat low GI Carbohydrates
First thing first, eating carbs is not bad for you.
Now, carbohydrates are divided into two groups: simple carbs and complex carbs, and you must have heard simple carbs are bad and complex carbs are good; well, yes, but it’s not simple.
White potato is a complex carb, but it’s better to avoid it if you're diabetic. Why? Because it’s high in the Glycemic Index (GI).
What is GI? GI rates carbs from 0-100 based on how quickly they raise the blood sugar level after eating. The lower GI foods are better for you.
0-55: Low GI
56-69: Medium GI
70-100: High GI
Eat your carbs because they give your body energy. But replace high GI with low GI foods.
Based on GI here are 5 carbs you should include in your diet:
Steel Cut Oats
(Oats with fruits; Photo by RitaE, Source)
3. Eat healthy fats
Fats are not bad, but the fats that most people eat are unfortunately bad for us. That doesn’t mean all fats are bad; good fats are essential for us because they help absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, K and E.
There are 4 types of fats:
Saturated (animal products and hydrogenated oils)
Trans (baked products and fried fast food)
Monounsaturated (olive oil, nut butter, and avocado)
Polyunsaturated (walnuts and flaxseeds)
You can have saturated fats, but you should avoid them as much as possible. They are empty calories and can spike your sugar level.
Healthy fats like: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are essential for your body and should be a regular part of your diet.
(Olive Oil; Photo by Pixabay, Source)
Drinking fruit juice
Juices are concentrated forms of carbs and sugars without any fibre, making it easy for your body to absorb the micronutrient in the juice. They are beneficial for most people but not so much for diabetics.
Fibre and protein help to maintain glucose levels. Since juices lack both, they cause an instant spike in blood glucose levels.
Eating fruits is a better option for you. Fruits have lots of fibre which slows the breakdown of carbs. They have the same amount of micronutrients but with the extra benefits of fibre.
(Fruits and Juices; Photo by silviarita, Source)
Your body and mind are connected. If you are mentally stressed out, your body will also feel stressed. Stress releases a hormone in our body called cortisol, which can spike blood glucose levels. Too much stress can cause many diseases, including diabetes. It can also make the existing situation worse.
We admit that managing stress is difficult but not impossible. Meditation, yoga, and exercise are great for your mental well being. Studies show that exercise can boost serotonin levels – the hormone that makes us happy.
Short-term stress is common and can go away when problems settle down. But, if you are going through a tough time in life and the stress levels are too high, you should consider talking to a professional. Long term stress can turn into depression; it's better to seek help before things go out of hand.
(Meditation; Photo by Shahariar Lenin, Source)
Eating heavily processed food
Chips, sugary biscuits, fizzy drinks, and cakes are healthy – said no one ever. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that eating too much ultra-processed food can affect your health in the long term. Foods with promises like: “sugar-free”, “made with real mangoes”, and “with the added goodness of vegetable”, hardly have any of those.
A tip to make sure if the promises on the package are true or not is always check the ingredient list. They mention the ingredients in descending order; the first three are usually the key ingredients.
A well-balanced diet made of whole foods can help prevent and manage diabetes. Replace your unhealthy choice with healthy ones. Swap the sugary drinks with homemade lemonade, packaged chips with ragi crackers, and sugary desserts with chia seed pudding or apples with peanut butter.
(Chia Seed Puddings; Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV, Source)
Hope this article was helpful. Take care!