Published: 06/13/2015 - Updated: 03/10/2018
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
If you have diabetes, don’t worry. While it is true that this is a delicate disease, if you follow all of your doctor’s recommendations to a “T”, you won’t have any more health concerns to worry about.
You need to make sure that you are capable of controlling this disease, because if not it can become worse, affecting organs such as the eyes, heart, kidneys, or other areas, like the feet. The three keys for avoiding risks are: take the medication your doctor recommends, eat a healthy diet, and stay active with exercise.
Of course, if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, I’m sure you’re wondering what exactly it is or why you developed it. This disease is characterized by having very high glucose, or blood sugar levels. This happens because the glucose you consume in your foods stays in the blood, and doesn’t move along to the cells that need it, to turn it into energy.
Types of Diabetes
There are three types of diabetes: Type 1 is when the body, especially the pancreas, does not produce insulin, which is the agent that helps glucose move from the blood to cells. In this case, patients need to give themselves insulin everyday.
Type 2 is acquired from dietary habits and lifestyles. This is when the body produces insufficient amounts of insulin. If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you will probably need to take pills or use insulin.
The third kind of diabetes is gestational diabetes, which is what some pregnant women develop. In this type of diabetes, both the mother and the child run the risk of developing diabetes at some point in their lives.
What to do
Once you have discovered that you have diabetes, you need to make a radical change in your daily diet. Not only do you need to use the recommended amount of insulin, but you also need to strictly follow your doctor’s guidance.
Your doctor will assign you to a nutritionist or dietitian to make a food plan for you. Take note of all the foods you can consume, and make sure you understand very clearly what you should not eat.
This is key for not worsening your health. If you know how to eat, you won’t have any problems.
No fat, no sweets
You should also avoid saturated fats. Choose foods that are low with this fat, and whenever you make your meals, don’t use too much oil. You should also avoid sweets, alcohol, sugar-sweetened drinks and carbonated beverages. This includes any of the following foods: meat with fat, whole milk based dairy products, non-skim milk, sweets, pastries, cakes, fried foods, salad dressings, mayonnaise and mustard. You also should avoid butter and margarine.
Fiber, fruits and vegetables
In order to stay healthy, you definitely shouldn’t miss a good portion of daily dietary fiber. This is found in grains, oats, whole grain rice, pita bread, whole grains roles or tortillas, with vegetables.
You also should not forget fruits. Not every fruit is recommended for diabetes, however. Yacon root is a great option, which we have covered completely in a previous article. Later on you should read it.
Grapes, and red fruits like strawberries, are also great because they promote pancreas health. Citrus fruit as well, like oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes are great.
Let’s not forget apples, which offer soluble fiber known as pectin. Pectin helps maintain stable cholesterol levels and blood glucose.
And lastly, there are bananas, which contain potassium and fiber.
Some of the best vegetables are leafy greens and orange vegetables, like broccoli, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots and pumpkin.
Avoid salt and packaged foods
Something else you should avoid are heavily salted foods. Do not use too much of this mineral when preparing your meals. If you’re going to eat soup, try not to add salt. Do the same with your salads and cooked vegetables.
Foods that contain a lot of salt and preservatives that should be removed from your list of favorites are: packaged soups, canned vegetables or food, processed meats like sausages and bacon.
Take care of yourself
Remember that overcoming diabetes is in your hands. This is not a simple, irritation-free disease. Some people don’t give it the concern it requires, nor do they treat it responsibly, which will later lead to consequences. I’ve even heard some people say “I have mild diabetes”, or “It’s just diabetes”. These phrases do not exist. Once you have been diagnosed as diabetic, you need to follow all the recommendations faithfully.
If it is difficult for you, start with small changes until you have reached all of your specialist’s recommendations.
In addition to a good diet and medication when recommended, diabetics need to stay active, to move, and to have some sort of daily routine. You need to consider a few things, however, such as the duration of exercise, the type of exercise, and measure your blood sugar levels before doing anything athletic.
Here are a few guidelines: If you have less than 100 mg/dl, take a supplement beforehand, like a piece of fruit, cookies, or an energy drink.
If you are between 100 and 150 mg/dl, you are free to exercise risk-free.
If you are higher than 250 mg/dl, leave the exercise for another time.
If you follow a controlled and advisable routine recommended by your doctor, your activity will be beneficial for better using glucose for your muscles. This will also reduce your need for daily insulin, or could help you lower your dose. All of this depends on each person’s body.
You will definitely be able to control your weight this way, and you will be able to avoid harmful obesity. This will also make it less likely that you contract some sort of cardiovascular disease.
Symptoms to keep in mind
If you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s best to work on preventing it by leading a healthy life. Do not consume too much alcohol or tobacco, eat a healthy diet, and do some sort of sport. This will prevent you from becoming overweight or obese.
Here are a few of the symptoms or warning signs for diabetes. Stay alert, and get a doctor’s visit as soon as possible.
– Frequent urination
– Constant thirst
– Feeling overly hungry or tired
– When you notice losing weight, without having tried to or followed a special diet.
You already know that diabetes needs to be thought of as a disease requiring care. In order to be a good patient, you need to follow the recommendations. This disease should not be lethal, if you take it seriously and control it.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 03/10/2018
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