October 27, 2020
Living with diabetes can be hard, whether it’s Type 1 or Type 2, and it can be difficult to understand what to eat and what not to. Every individual body responds to food in different ways and there is unfortunately no single diet that can claim to lessen the effects of diabetes. That being said, building some healthy eating habits can contribute to overall good health and may help you control blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. Take a look at these healthy eating tips to help manage your diabetes.
Choose Healthy Carbs
Carbs have a huge effect on blood sugar levels, so it’s important to keep an eye on how much you’re consuming and make sure you’re eating the right ones. Start by choosing whole foods and opt for brown rice, whole wheat pasta and whole grain bread as these contain fibre and will keep you fuller for longer, contributing both to controlling your weight and to keeping blood sugar levels under control. Similarly, whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat and whole oats are a healthy source of carbs, as well as dairy such as unsweetened yogurt and milk. If you do need to munch a crunchy carb snack, consider something like made-in-Canada Eve’s Crackers, which contain healthy seeds and lots of flavour.
Focus on Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are high in fibre and rich in vitamins and minerals, which contribute to your overall wellbeing and boost your immune system. Fruit and veg are also a healthy source of carbs, so try to incorporate a good dose of each into every meal. Fruit, in particular, is a natural source of sugar and a great substitute for calorie-rich, processed desserts.
Steer Clear of Salt & Refined Sugar
Diabetics should take care to try not to exceed a maximum of 6g (one tsp) of salt per day. Too much salt in your diet contributes to an increased risk of high blood pressure, which is something that diabetes sufferers have to be very careful about. Get into the habit of checking the labels of the food you eat so you can keep an eye on how much salt you are consuming. Even better, try to cook more meals for yourself so you can control your salt intake.
Refined sugar can cause spikes in blood sugar, and mess with your energy levels. Taking small steps such as replacing soda with tea or naturally-flavoured water, using no-calorie sweeteners and getting more sweetness from natural sources, such as fruit may provide you with a better balance. Even choosing something like ANS Performance KetoMate Coffee Creamer or Stevia Drops for your morning coffee can help you better manage your body.
Swap saturated fats for lean proteins and try to make them a central part of your meal. Avoid red or processed meat, fried food and heavy, creamy sauces and instead base your dishes around grilled fish, lean cuts of chicken or turkey, eggs and pulses such as beans and peas. These are not only a great source of energy, but they’re also good for your bones and your skin and will help keep your weight under control.
The ketogenic diet has been proven to have benefits for people with diabetes, particularly with Type 2. This low carb, high fat, high protein diet encourages the body to get its energy from burning body fat and it also lowers the body’s demand for insulin. On this diet, you eat less than 50g of carbohydrates per day and instead fill up on healthy fats and proteins like eggs, avocado, nuts and olive oil.
“Many diabetics have success controlling their insulin on a Keto diet,” shares Tina Szenasi, Natural Choice Advisor, Calgary Co-operative Limited. “It’s important to do research and speak to your doctor of course but I always tell my customers to change one habit at a time so that a new habit, like healthier eating or adopting a new diet becomes a lifestyle rather than a fad.”
These days there’s fortunately a lot more choice when it comes to products that can help you on the Keto diet. Consider Suzie Good Fats bars, No Sugar Keto bars, or if you need something sweet, No Sugar Added lollipops and Smart Sweets gummies or Keto Scream Ice Cream may be a better choice over traditional sweets and sugary granola or power bars.
The purpose of a balanced diet is to give us energy and keep our body strong so that it can stay active and healthy. Compliment your healthy diet with three 30-minute sessions of moderate exercise per week. From jogging to brisk walking, swimming and cycling to dancing and yoga, exercise keeps your heart healthy and lets you burn calories in a controlled way, meaning your body is well-positioned to fight infection and illness.
There is no such thing as a “diabetes diet”, rather a set of general guidelines to follow for a balanced diet that should keep your body fit and healthy. Every diabetes sufferer has a unique set of conditions, so make sure to always consult your health care professional, physician or professional practitioner before making any big changes to your lifestyle. And if you have questions about the natural choices you can make to improve your health, reach out to one of Co-op’s Natural Choice Advisors.
Please Note: Health information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional health advice. This general information is not intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Any information, advice, or suggestions given by Calgary Co-op staff is not a replacement for medical advice from your Doctor, Dentist, or professional Practitioner. Consult with your healthcare professional with any questions you may have.
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