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Living a Healthy Lifestyle with Diabetes

CEO Tinh Phung
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is crucial for effectively managing diabetes. Not only does it help in controlling blood sugar levels, but it also improves other vital health numbers such as weight, blood pressure, and blood...

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Adopting a healthy lifestyle is crucial for effectively managing diabetes. Not only does it help in controlling blood sugar levels, but it also improves other vital health numbers such as weight, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol. In this article, we will explore some key aspects of living a healthy lifestyle with diabetes.

Managing Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is especially important for individuals with Type 2 diabetes. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure, which are both risk factors for cardiovascular disease - the leading cause of death for people with diabetes. To manage weight effectively, it is essential to focus on healthy eating and being physically active.

Eating Healthy

Making conscious food choices and controlling portion sizes are essential for maintaining a healthy weight and managing diabetes. It is important to be mindful of simple carbohydrates found in foods such as table sugar, cake, soda, candy, and jellies, as they can significantly increase blood glucose levels. To make informed choices, refer to the chart below:

Include Limit
Fiber-rich whole grains (such as oatmeal, barley, brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole wheat, and corn) Sweets and added sugars (such as table sugars sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, corn syrups, high-fructose corn syrup, concentrated fruit juice, honey, soda, fruit drinks, candy, cake, and jellies)
Non-fried fish at least twice per week, especially those high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon, lake trout, mackerel, and herring) Fatty and processed meats (such as fatty beef and pork, salami, and hot dogs)
Chicken or turkey (white meat without skin) Sodium (Consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day. An ideal limit is less than 1,500 mg per day for most adults.)
Lean meats (round, sirloin, chuck, and loin) Cholesterol Patients with abnormal cholesterol levels, particularly those with Type 2 diabetes or at risk for heart failure, should be cautious in consuming foods rich in cholesterol.
Fruits and vegetables (deeply colored such as spinach, carrots, peaches, and berries) Partially hydrogenated or trans fats (banned as a food additive in the U.S. but may still be contained in some hard margarine, shortening, desserts, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, and coffee creamer)
Nontropical vegetable oils and margarines (soft/tub or liquid) Saturated fats (contained in dairy products such as butter, whole milk, 2% milk, and cheese, fatty meats and poultry, coconut oil and palm oil, hydrogenated oils, and foods made with these ingredients).
Fat-free, 1-percent fat, and low-fat dairy products Alcohol (Females should limit to one drink a day; males limit to two drinks a day)
Unsalted nuts, seeds, and legumes

It is also beneficial to keep a food and blood glucose log, which helps track how different foods affect your body. By writing down what you eat, when you eat, and monitoring your glucose levels afterward, you can identify patterns and make informed decisions about your diet.

Healthy Eating on the Go

In today's fast-paced world, many of us find ourselves constantly on the move. However, it is important to prioritize healthy eating even when your kitchen isn't easily accessible. Here are some tips to help you eat right on the go:

  • Bring a healthy lunch and snacks: Packing a nutritious meal and snacks for the day can help you resist unhealthy temptations and stay on track with your diet.
  • Reduce caffeine intake and stay hydrated: Cut down on caffeine and make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day by carrying a water bottle with you.

Regular Physical Activity

Engaging in regular physical activity is vital for both diabetes prevention and management. Being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week can significantly lower the risk of developing diabetes. Additionally, losing 5% to 10% of your body weight can further reduce your risk. If you are already diagnosed with diabetes, physical activity and weight management can help control the disease and minimize its negative health consequences.

For good health, aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. You can achieve this by incorporating activities like brisk walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming into your routine. Remember to consult with your healthcare team to create a customized plan that suits your needs.

Other Important Facets of a Healthy Lifestyle

In addition to managing weight and engaging in regular physical activity, there are other essential aspects of a healthy lifestyle that individuals with diabetes should pay attention to.

Quitting Smoking

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of avoidable deaths in the United States. It is also a significant modifiable risk factor for premature death. Smokers, including those with diabetes, are more likely to develop complications such as nerve damage, kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke. Quitting smoking is crucial for overall health and diabetes management.

Managing Stress

Stress affects people differently and can have numerous negative impacts on both physical and emotional well-being. It can lead to various unhealthy responses, including overeating, drinking too much alcohol, and not getting enough sleep. It is important to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as practicing relaxation techniques, engaging in physical activity, or seeking support from friends and family.

By adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular physical activity, quitting smoking, and managing stress, individuals with diabetes can effectively control their condition and improve their overall well-being. Remember, small lifestyle changes can lead to significant improvements in your health and quality of life.

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