Diabetes is a chronic endocrine disorder affecting your ability to turn food you consume into energy and maintain your blood sugar levels. When you eat carbohydrate-rich food, your body breaks them down into glucose, which then is absorbed into the blood stream. With an increased glucose level in the blood, your pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin. Insulin acts as a chemical messenger signaling your cells to absorb and use glucose for energy. This results in lowering your blood glucose levels to normal until the next meal is consumed.
Depending on the type of diabetes, either the pancreas does not secrete enough insulin or the cells do not respond to the insulin, which is called insulin resistance. This causes blood glucose levels to remain chronically elevated, which can further damage other parts of certain organs including the heart and kidneys if untreated. In addition, being overweight and obese increases the chance of insulin resistance, which makes it more challenging to manage your blood glucose levels.
There are many things that you can do to help manage your normal blood glucose level through dietary and lifestyle changes. Some dietary changes/ strategies include eating small, frequent meals throughout the day and consuming protein in every meal and snack.
LIFESTYLE TIPS FOR MANAGING DIABETES
• Eat a variety of foods daily to ensure that you consume adequate calories, protein and vitamins for optimal health.
• Consume fiber-rich foods with protein at every meal and snack for improved blood glucose and energy levels.
• Eat small, frequent meals and snacks throughout the day.
• Exercise daily for better glucose management. Being physically active helps improve insulin sensitivity. Try any exercise you enjoy – yoga, jogging, strength training, and dancing etc.
• Diabetes, regardless of the type, can be managed well through a healthy diet and lifestyle along with medications. You can still have a healthy, active life with this health condition!
• Carbohydrate-rich foods affect your blood glucose levels the most. Choosing the right type and amount of carbohydrates is the key to managing your diabetes.
• Being physically active contributes to better management of blood glucose, weight, and stress. Try activities that you enjoy every day!
KEY NUTRIENTS & FOODS THAT HELP ALLEVIATE SYMPTOMS
• FIBER, especially soluble fiber, can slow the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream and help improve blood glucose levels. Whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are great sources of fiber. This nutrient can also help improve gut health and immunity.
• PROTEIN allows your body to break down and absorb carbohydrates into glucose more slowly and steadily. This helps prevent blood sugar spikes and energy crashes. Consume a variety of high protein foods such as chicken, fish, eggs, and seafood. Plant sources of protein include quinoa, beans, nuts, and soy products.
• ANTIOXIDANT-RICH FOODS help reduce inflammation caused by chronic health conditions. Colorful vegetables and fruits, fish, and nuts provide vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats that act as antioxidants.
Selection of Our Meals That Are Suitable for This Condition:
• Mongolian Style Beef Stir Fry
• Chicken & Sweet Potato Chili
• Steak Burrito Bowl
• Beef Chili with Brown Rice & Beans
This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding diet.
This article has been reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Sayuri Barritt, MS. RD. and Dani Cuddeback, MS. RD. CD.