According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., and it currently has no cure. Lifestyle choices can help prevent diabetes. For those who already have this chronic disease, lifestyle and food choices play a huge role in managing and treating diabetes.
Diabetes is a major health concern at all age levels. The most powerful predictors of diabetes appear to be obesity and hyperinsulinemia, a condition in which the body cannot make enough insulin to balance blood sugar. Obesity develops from eating too many calories and a lack of exercise. Hyperinsulinemia results from eating too many carbohydrates.
While eating less sugar is helpful, managing diabetes involves changing lifestyle and eating habits and including some extra nutrients. There is no one diabetic diet although there are many helpful tools for developing a diet.
Proper nutrition supports a healthy metabolism and balances blood sugar. Try these suggestions.
- Follow a low carbohydrate diet, go “grain free”.
- Eat paleo…meats, poultry, and fish, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits.
- Eat six small meals instead of three large meals per day to regulate your blood sugar.
- Eat less sugar: avoid simple sugars and refined carbohydrates to avoid spikes in blood sugar.
- Eat more good fat.
- Avoid alcohol which has no nutrients.
- Monitor your portion sizes to avoid overeating.
- Increase fiber in your diet.
If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar several times throughout the day, and try these suggestions for improving your health.
- Exercise 30-60 minutes daily
- Decrease stress with yoga or meditation
Like many conditions, diabetes creates an additional need for nutrients to help the body manage the disease.
- Chromium is a trace mineral which supports weight loss, helps regulate insulin production and helps convert carbohydrates to glucose. Chromium is naturally found in Brewer’s yeast, lean meats, oysters, potatoes, seafood, chicken, nuts, green beans and asparagus.
- Manganese helps maintain glucose levels. Dietary sources include green leafy vegetables, and nuts.
- Magnesium intake decreases the risk for metabolic syndrome and diabetes developing as well as hyperlipidemia and hypertension. Magnesium is lost in food processing, so avoid processed foods.
- Multi vitamins and enzymes are recommended to avoid deficiencies and will help with digestion, breakdown of fat, and blood sugar management.
- Apple cider vinegar is showing promise as an agent in helping lower blood sugar; you could add 1-2 T. raw apple cider vinegar to water at mealtimes and bedtime.
- Berberine has been shown in studies to be as effective at metformin in regulating glucose metabolism.
High blood sugar may cause many complications, including increased risk for heart disease, kidney and nerve damage, eye problems, and vascular problems. By following a healthy diet you can control your blood sugar and prevent diabetes.