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How to Change Your Diet if You Have Diabetes

How to Change Your Diet if You Have Diabetes

Living with diabetes can present challenges that a person without diabetes may not even consider, right down to the food that you eat. 

Choosing a healthy, balanced diet is essential for anyone, but chronic metabolic conditions, like diabetes, require that you pay more attention to the type and amount of each type of food you eat. 

Our caring professionals at Health Solutions have worked with people living with a number of different chronic conditions. Caring for people living with diabetes is well within our skillset, and we’re always looking for ways to enhance our patients’ quality of life. 

We can help you by offering some insight into a healthy diet for people living with diabetes of any type — Type I, Type II, and gestational. 

Why does my diet matter? 

As we already mentioned, a healthy diet is essential to your health and longevity. Eating better not only makes it easier to manage your diabetes, but can give you more energy, help you sleep better, and keep your metabolism going, even when you’re sleeping. 

A healthy diet consists of lean protein, whole grains and a medley of fresh vegetables, cooked or raw.  

A poor diet puts you at elevated risk for chronic disease, including diabetes. If you’re living with diabetes, an unbalanced diet can cause spikes in your blood glucose levels. It can also contribute to a higher A1C, or average blood sugar over a three-month period. 

Repeated blood sugar spikes can increase your risk of developing complications with diabetes, including the possibility of hospitalization.

Do I have to change my diet because I have diabetes? 

Living with diabetes doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the foods that you love. It just means that you need to be mindful of how these foods affect your blood sugar. 

Since your pancreas isn’t able to produce the insulin necessary to help convert food into energy, you need to dose yourself according to the parameters set by your provider. 

Place green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and broccoli at the top of your shopping list. Whole grains like brown rice, whole grain pasta, and quinoa can help to control your blood sugar, as can other fiber-dense foods. 

For protein, you have plenty of options. Your best bet is fatty fish, like salmon and trout, which can provide both the necessary protein and important nutrients called omega-3 fatty acids. Kidney beans, black beans, and navy beans are rich in both protein and fiber. Walnuts are also a particularly good choice for a diabetes-friendly diet. 

For your fruit intake, lean on berries and citrus fruits, both of which contain valuable antioxidants and fiber. Antioxidants are a vital and easy-to-get tool in the fight against cancer. Sweet potatoes and low-fat, unsweetened yogurts are also a savvy choice for a diabetes-friendly diet.  

What should I avoid if I have diabetes? 

Very few foods are completely off-limits if you’re living with diabetes. Your doctor can give you the best advice about what to avoid based on your specific condition. Some foods that are bad for people living with diabetes are also unhealthy for people who do not have diabetes. 

Some examples include, but are not limited to:

Is there anything else that I can do to manage my diabetes? 

Including at least 30 minutes of regular exercise daily is the best complement to a healthy diet. Staying vigilant with your diet, managing your stress, and exercising consistently can help you manage your diabetes. 

If you are looking for additional assistance controlling your diabetes, call us at any of our offices, or book an appointment online. We have offices in Tinley Park, Rockford, and Olympia Fields, Illinois, and in Munster, Indiana.

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