Some of the best ways to keep diabetes under control include quitting smoking, regularly seeing a dietitian, checking your feet often, remaining active, maintaining your eye health, keeping track of your exercise, eating smaller meals more often, increasing your fiber intake, and many others.
Despite the fact that diabetes is a modern epidemic and affects millions of people around the world, there is no cure, so once the disease develops, it is essential to manage it properly, as curing it is impossible. Diabetes represents a dramatic change in a person’s life and it requires constant diligence to maintain a high quality of life. It is entirely possible to do, but understanding what the disease can do, what you should do to keep it under control, and which lifestyle choices and dietary choices you should make is essential.
The side effects of diabetes affect everything from vision and inflammation of the joints to kidney health and the digestive process. Therefore, implementing a comprehensive lifestyle plan is very important. In this article we outline some of the best ways to keep your diabetes under control and to prevent it from having any more of a negative impact on your life than this terrible condition already does. If you follow some or all of these suggestions, you will be able to live a happier, healthier, and higher-quality life with diabetes.
Table of Contents
- Ways to Keep Diabetes Under Control
- Quit Smoking
- Track Your Exercise Patterns
- Eliminate Fast Food
- Get Your Vision Checked
- Reduce Your Quick Stop Coffee
- Stay Active
- Use a Pedometer
- Try New Fruits and Vegetables
- Increase Your Fiber Intake
- Chew More Gum
- Use Smaller Plates
- Do Your Research
- Test Your Blood Sugar Regularly
- Check Your Feet
- Eat Smaller Meals More Often
Ways to Keep Diabetes Under Control
Although stressful situations usually make people smoke more, it can be a very bad choice for people with diabetes, particularly those with Type 2 diabetes. Smoking causes narrowing of the blood vessels, which limits good circulation to the extremities. Furthermore, smoking research has shown that it increases insulin resistance, which is the opposite of what diabetic patients want.
Track Your Exercise Patterns
It is easy to think that your exercise regiment is solid and consistent, but taking actual notes about your exercise habits for a few weeks will give you a tangible record to better help you make the physical changes to your lifestyle that you really need.
Eliminate Fast Food
Making your own lunch/dinner at home is the best choice for people suffering from diabetes. Stopping for fast food or eating at restaurants means that you can’t properly track the sugar, salt, and calorie intake of your meals, which can be very dangerous for maintaining balanced blood sugar. Fast food may also contain high salt content and recent study suggests that intake of high-salt diet increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases in diabetics. Also, fast food is packed with saturated fats and hidden calories that contribute to obesity. Making your meals at home and bringing them to work is also a great way to save money!
Get Your Vision Checked
Diabetes can seriously impact your vision health, and blindness is one of the most serious and frighteningly common side effects of long-term diabetes. Getting your vision checked regularly may be the best way to prevent retinopathy, while also measuring the impact that diabetes is having on your peripheral systems as a measure of how well you are handling and managing the disease.
Reduce Your Quick Stop Coffee
Changing your morning routine seems like a small thing, but it can have a major impact on your quality of life as a diabetic patient. Those fancy cups of coffee from specialty coffee shops are often packed with sugar, which can cause insulin and glucose fluctuations in your body, in addition to the caffeine crash that so often occurs. Make yourself a travel mug at home so you can control how much sugar you are taking in every morning to start your day.
This is perhaps the most obvious lifestyle choice for diabetic patients. Diabetes slows down the flow of blood to your extremities and is worsened by sedentary lifestyles and obesity. Staying active will keep you in better shape, boost your metabolism, and increase your insulin uptake processes so you will feel the effects of diabetes far less.
Use a Pedometer
Similar to tracking your exercise habits to review and adjust accordingly, wearing a pedometer gives you a clear picture of how much you are actually moving each day. If your numbers are too low, then it might motivate you to take the stairs, go for a walk on your lunch break, or take a jog after work, all of which helps the overall picture of your health.
Try New Fruits and Vegetables
Everyone’s body reacts to foods differently, and that is particularly true of fruits and vegetables, which are important dietary elements for people suffering from diabetes. By trying new fruits and vegetables, you can then check your blood sugar and see how your body reacts to these new dietary choices. It can help you shape a food plan that is more beneficial and helps your blood sugar levels remain stable.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
Fiber is an essential part of any diabetic diet. Insoluble fiber keeps your digestive processes going smoothly and facilitates nutrient uptake, while soluble fiber can help drop your cholesterol levels and actually improve your blood glucose management. Therefore, both types of fiber should be added to your diet every day; somewhere between 25 and 40 grams per day is recommended for diabetic patients. Fiber also makes you feel full, so you’re less likely to snack and load up on unhealthy, dangerous sugars.
Chew More Gum
Gum keeps your mouth busy and actually sates hunger. Psychologically, the act of chewing can make us crave food less, but make sure that you are chewing sugar-free gum, although only in moderation, as some of the artificial sweeteners in sugar-free gum can wreak havoc on your digestive system!
Use Smaller Plates
Another psychological trick is to prepare your meals on smaller plates. You are more likely to maintain appropriate portion control and undershoot your levels of calorie and sugar intake, while also having food for later and saving money over the long term.
Do Your Research
Before you go out to a restaurant or add new products to your grocery list, take some time and do your research. Find out what the diabetes-friendly options at a restaurant are and check out what products should probably be avoided at the supermarket. Also, take home menus from new restaurants you do try so you can look over them at your leisure for the next time you want to eat a healthy meal out!
Test Your Blood Sugar Regularly
Many people have a set schedule for checking their blood sugar, but often, they do it after or before meals. Spreading out more checks throughout the day can give you a better picture of your body’s responsiveness to food and the rate of glucose absorption so you can adjust your lifestyle accordingly.
Check Your Feet
Circulation issues in the extremities, particularly the feet, are common for people suffering from diabetes. This can also result in numbness or lack of sensation, so cuts or scrapes may be completely unnoticed. This sort of minor nerve damage can be dangerous and can lead to infection or more serious foot issue, sometimes even requiring amputation. Check your feet every day and make notes about any obvious changes in sensation or circulation. Discuss these notes with your doctor at your next check-up.
Eat Smaller Meals More Often
By spreading out 5 or 6 meals throughout the course of the day, rather than having 3 large meals at set times, your body will remain active in its digestive processes, which increases insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, you will have less blood sugar spikes and drops if the caloric and sugar intake is spread out over the course of a day. Speaking to a dietitian is also a great way to establish an eating plan and schedule that is customized to your specific needs. Also, recent research suggests that high energy breakfast and low energy dinner helps in reducing hyperglycaemia in type 2 diabetics