Managing Diabetes with Nutrition and Exercise
Medication is often necessary for managing diabetes symptoms, but diet and exercise can complement this treatment and help individuals lead healthy lives with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Both nutrition and physical activity can help regulate blood sugar levels, keeping them within the desired range or bringing them back down if they go too high. Here are some guidelines for utilizing diet and exercise in diabetes management:
Foods to Limit in a Diabetes Management Diet
It is critical to limit specific foods to manage diabetes with diet, including:
- Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, carrots, and green peas are high in carbohydrates and can quickly raise blood sugar levels.
- Fried foods, meals high in saturated and trans fat, such as butter and poultry skin, and fast food options, such as French fries.
- Sweets and sugary drinks, as well as salty foods. Instead, opt for water and consider using sugar substitutes for sweetening beverages.
- Processed foods, including cookies, potato chips, breakfast cereals, and meat products like bacon and ham.
Superfoods for a Diabetes Management Diet
To support diabetes management through diet, incorporate superfoods that nourish the body, including:
- Heart-healthy fats include olive oil, nuts and seeds, salmon, and avocado.
- Whole foods like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and legumes.
- Non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, cucumbers, mushrooms, and peppers.
- Protein-rich foods like black beans, black-eyed peas, skinless poultry, and fish like Albacore tuna and mackerel.
Consistent Meal Planning in Diabetes Management
Maintaining consistency in the number of carbohydrates consumed at each meal can help regulate blood sugar levels and keep them within the mark range. Some individuals with diabetes may benefit from eating around the same time each day, but this may vary based on medication and other factors.
A helpful tool is the Diabetes Plate Method, developed by the American Heart Association. This method makes meal planning simple by promoting balanced portions of vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates without the need for tedious calculations or measurements.
The Importance of Physical Activity in Diabetes Management
Physical activity is a critical component of diabetes management, as it helps lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure and can also help control weight. If you’re new to exercise, starting slowly and gradually increasing activity is recommended. The American Diabetes Association offers resources on how to begin an exercise routine for those with diabetes safely.
Try taking the stairs or parking further away from a destination to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine. For those unable to leave home, exercise options can include stretching, strength training, arm and leg raise, shoulder rolls, walking, and chair yoga.
Managing diabetes doesn’t have to be complicated.
While medication may still be necessary, diet and exercise can be crucial in maintaining symptoms and overall health. Always consult a health care professional before starting a new exercise routine and address any questions or concerns regarding diet and physical activity.
The Bottom Line
Managing diabetes through diet and exercise is crucial in maintaining good health and controlling symptoms. Limiting certain foods and incorporating nutrient-rich options into your diet can help prevent blood sugar levels. Regular physical activity also plays a vital role in managing diabetes.
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Learn about managing diabetes with balanced nutrition and regular exercise. Get tips for limiting certain foods and incorporating superfoods into your diet!