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8 Tips for eating healthy with diabetes
Over 25 million Americans are living with diabetes, with nearly 1/4 of these being undiagnosed. And because diabetes is a major cause of kidney failure, heart disease, stoke and blindness, learning how to manage it is critical. In addition to controlling your weight, and being physically active, proper nutrition is an important consideration. The key is to keep blood sugar levels even: this can help protect against future diabetes complications such as heart, kidney and nerve problems.
Incorporate the following tips for eating better into your daily life. However, please note that they are not intended to replace the recommendations of your healthcare provider and/or nutritionist. If you have diabetes, be sure to consult a trained professional before making dietary changes.
1. Fill up on fiber - Get 25 to 35 grams of fiber each day; it has been shown in studies to improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels. High-fiber foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and low-fat dairy products.
2. Limit alcohol - Healthy blood glucose levels and alcohol don't always go hand in hand, so use alcohol in moderation. It can cause hypoglycemia, particularly in combination with blood glucose lowering medication, so be sure to check with your healthcare provider before consuming.
3. Go fish - Eat fish with omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week to reap the heart-healthy benefits. Salmon, mackerel, herring and other fatty fish are great sources of omega-3s. Avoid fried fish.
4. Choose sweet potatoes over white - Packed with nutrient goodness such as carotenoids (good for eye health) and potassium, sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index than other potatoes. Glycemic index indicates how much a particular food raises blood glucose levels.
5. Avoid these heart hurters - Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke so avoid these foods that can be unhealthy for your heart:
- Saturated fats
- Trans fats
6. Keep track of the carbs - Your carbohydrate intake greatly determines your blood sugar levels. Consult with your healthcare provider and/or dietician to determine how many carbs you should eat each day. Familiarize yourself with the carb content of your favorite healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, and carefully read labels to ensure you're within your limit.
7. Time your meals - To keep blood glucose levels consistent, try to eat your meals and snacks at the same time each day. If you're on medication, eat and take your medicine at the same time each day. Don't skip meals.
8. Eat Mediterranean style - The so-called Mediterranean diet is good for everyone, including diabetics. It's high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and olive oil, and low in red meat and poultry.The most important step for eating better is to work with your health care provider and nutritionist to determine which diet approach works best for your particular needs. This can help protect against fluctuating blood sugar levels and their serious health consequences.
Test your diabetes IQ references:
Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet/