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Diabetes – What’s on the menu?

The 2 cornerstones of any diabetes management plan is dieting and exercise. A proper diet is front and center in the battle against diabetes from progressing in severity and to minimize associated complications. While there is nothing good about diabetes, the diet required to take control of it is not as strenuous and limiting as in the case of other diseases and conditions that necessitate a strict and disciplined dietary habits. However, there are some obvious restrictions such as sugar so no matter your diet plan, always consult your healthcare professional. Essentially though, diabetics are aiming what would be considered healthy dietary habits for non-diabetics all the same and even then, you will find the majority of diabetic menus are not 100% free of glucose.

Since there are different types of diabetes, different causes as well as differing severities, dietary meal plans are usually catered to the specific case on hand. For instance, patients with diabetes type I are usually trying to manage their oscillating levels of blood glucose and intake as well as sticking to a meal schedule so as to coincide with insulin shots. Meanwhile patients suffering from diabetes type II are focused primarily in restricting calorie consumption and slimming down.

Since diabetes is a multi-organ affectation, maintaining a healthy diet will not only help to recede diabetes, but can also strengthen the very organs that diabetes has a negative effect on, such as the cardiac muscle. A typical diet that is considered healthy would most likely include produce (Veggies), legumes, dairy, whole grain, lean meats like chicken and fish and non-saturated or polyunsaturated oils to name a few.

In the spirit of providing you some helpful and nutritious tips to include in your dietary planning, a list of to-do’s follows:

– Maintain a snacking/meal schedule. This helps in properly managing the different oscillations in blood glucose throughout the day.

– Substitute candy bars and other unhealthy sweets with vegetables and fruits. Keep in mind however, that while fruits contain healthy sweets and vitamins, eating too much fruit in a day is counterproductive due to those very same sweets. Check with your healthcare professional when deciding maximum amount of your daily fruit intake.

– While sugar is a form of carbohydrate, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Carbs found in whole grain are good for you, we know these as fiber.

– Beans contain plenty of fiber, protein and are very low on the starch scale. Lentils, peas and chickpeas are other examples of beans.

– Limit the amount of saturated fats you consume. Besides avoiding the options that are obviously high in fat such as pork, also try to avoid eating chicken skin or frying your chicken or fish. Rather, grilling them is a much healthier option and still extremely tasty.

– Increase intake of the ‘good’ fats such as mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats like omega-3 fatty acids. Fish that are high in omega-3s are the oily fish, they include salmon, sardines, herring fish, mackerel and the common trout.

– Make sure the consumption of ‘bad’ fats (saturated fats) is kept to a bare minimum. Replacing butter or cream based sauces with tomato sauces present a much healthier and still delicious option.

– Get rid of your soda consumption. This cannot be overstated, especially in diabetes. This applies to any sugary drink.

– Limit your sodium intake. You should especially keep this in mind when eating out.

– Drinking alcohol should be kept to a moderate and normal level. The general rule is one alcoholic beverage a day, maybe two in the case of men.

Outside of actually dieting to watch your weight, it is always a good idea to increase your knowledge of dietary restrictions that might apply to you. Knowledge is power so understanding what foods you can and cannot eat will certainly empower you to make educated choices when selecting your menu. Learn about nutrition and ask your healthcare professional questions about diabetes and dieting. You will be surprised just how small your dietary sacrifice will be.

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