Diet and exercise are vital components of diabetes management. In this article, you will learn more about how to manage diabetes with regular physical activity and a healthy diet.
People who have diabetes know how important regular exercise and healthy diet are in diabetes management. Those who have type 2 diabetes, in particular, are encouraged to manage their blood sugar levels by having regular physical activity and maintaining a well-balanced diet.
Regular physical activity makes the cells more sensitive to insulin thereby making them work more efficiently. It can also lower blood glucose levels and improve results of A1C test, so diabetics would be able to take fewer medications or less insulin. Moreover, regular exercise can help in controlling weight and preventing a person from becoming obese. Obesity, after all, is one of the risk factors of diabetes.
Everyone is encouraged to eat healthy foods, even those who don’t have diabetes. But people who have the ailment are more compelled to choose the foods they eat, because their diet can affect their blood sugar levels.
In case you have been diagnosed with diabetes, here are some diet-related tips that you should keep in mind:
Learn How to Count Carbohydrates
Diabetics are encouraged to learn how to count carbohydrates, since these usually have the biggest impact on the blood glucose levels. Carb counting is a vital part of a diabetic’s meal planning, because it helps one to keep track of the amount of carbohydrate you are taking. By knowing how to count carbs, you can limit the amount of carbs that you take for a certain meal and this would help your blood sugar levels to be within your target range.
Foods that are rich in carbohydrates include grains such as oatmeal and rice, starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn, milk and yogurt, dried beans, and sweets and snack foods. Even fruits and juice are rich in carbs as well.
You can count the levels of carbohydrates by reading food labels. In case you are eating foods that don’t have one, you can make educated estimates. You’ll also have to be wary of the serving sizes.
Eat Sweets on Special Occasions
One of the biggest myths on diabetes is that those who have the disease should never eat sugary foods. It has always been thought that diabetics should completely avoid sugar, since it can raise blood sugar to very high levels. However, recent studies have shown that blood glucose levels are more affected by the total amount of carbs that a person takes.
But this does not give you the go-signal to eat as much sugary foods as you want. As much as possible, eat sweets and desserts only on special occasions like your birthday. If you are craving for something sweet, try eating fruits instead.
The story is different if you have low blood sugar level. Drinking sweetened beverages like juice, soda and softdrinks is one of the best ways to quickly raise low blood sugar.
The Diabetes Super foods
There are so-called super foods that are very beneficial for people with diabetes. Dark, green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are one of them as these are low in carbs and calories. The same goes for citrusy fruits such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruit.
Tomatoes are also great for people with diabetes as it is rich in vitamins C and E, aside from being low in carbs. You should also load up on fishes that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, nuts, and whole grains.
Exercise for Diabetes Management
As mentioned earlier, regular physical activity is a vital part of diabetes management. Here are some exercise tips you should follow:
- Ask Your Doctor’s Permission First
Before embarking on any fitness program, let your doctor know what you intend to do first. Your physician will make sure that you are physically ready for your fitness program- whether you intend to take up a physically demanding sport like triathlon or you’re content with a 30-minute brisk walk every day.
Your doctor would also check if you have to change your meals, or increase dosage of medicines and insulin. Moreover, the doctor would also advise you on the best time of the day to have your exercise.
You can even ask your doctor to check your blood sugar level first before exercising. Should you want to be active for more than an hour, make sure that you regularly check your blood glucose levels so you would know when to eat.
- Make It Fun
One of the common reasons why people and not just diabetics in particular are unable to sustain their fitness programs is because they’re not doing activities that they find fun and interesting.
You don’t even have to become a member in a gym or club in order to regularly exercise. Think of something that you have always done in the past. It might be sports such as biking and swimming. Perhaps dancing or doing aerobics. Anything that can make your heart rate increase would be beneficial for you.
You can also work out with someone you know who has diabetes as well, so you’d have a workout buddy. This way, you can push each other, so to speak, especially during days when one of you is too lazy to go out and exercise.
- Make Yourself Comfortable
Wear athletic shoes that are appropriate for your activity. Don’t run wearing tennis shoes. You must be in running shoes. In the same vein, don’t wear running shoes if you’re playing basketball.
Don’t rush things. If you’ve never been an athlete before, don’t expect yourself to be running a mile or so in a few minutes. Start gradually, like having 10 minutes of exercise one day. Then gradually work up to increasing the duration to 30 minutes every day.
Don’t forget to hydrate all the time. Drink before, during and after your workouts.
Indeed, living with diabetes entails a lot of discipline on your part. You must be very meticulous when it comes to the foods you eat, as well as committed to having regular exercise. Following the aforementioned tips should help you keep your blood sugar levels within range.