Essential Tips to Manage Diabetes

Team HealthCult

Article taken from: www.webmd.com

Don't let diabetes shrink your borders. Diabetes doesn't have to define you; use it to refine yourself.

Here are some simple tips to manage diabetes :

1. Take control of your plate : 

Separate your plate into three zones. First, divide it in half. Fill one side with veggies like spinach, broccoli, carrots, or green beans.

Next, split the empty side into two halves. Use one for starchy foods such as potatoes, brown rice, chappati, quinoa, or whole-grain bread/pasta. In the last section, add meat or another protein. On top of that, you can also have an 8-ounce glass of low-fat milk and a half-cup of fruit.

Set up a meal plan that's got plenty of low-fat foods that are high in fiber. A healthy diet is well-balanced and includes lean proteins from both animal or vegetarian sources, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Carbohydrates have the biggest effect on your blood sugar. So limit or avoid added sugars and refined flours. That can help keep your glucose controlled, and you can still have healthier carbs like beans and whole grains.

Eat about 25 to 35 grams of fiber each day to help keep your blood sugar levels steady. It can help you feel full longer, so you might not get hungry soon after eating. Eat fiber from natural foods like beans or whole grains rather than supplements.

Examples include:

  • Avocados (a medium one has 8.5 grams)
  • Raspberries (a cup has 8.4 grams)
  • Blackberries (a cup has 8.7 grams)
  • Lentils (a half cup has 8 grams)
  • Black beans (a half-cup has 7 grams)
  • Broccoli (6 grams per cup)
  • Apples (a medium one has 4 grams)
2. Keep a Record of blood sugar-levels and diet
Every day, jot down important info like your blood sugar levels, what you ate, exercise you did, and medicine you took. It will help you and your doctor see if your diabetes treatment is working. Also write down your goals and feelings. It will let you stay on track and remind you about topics you want to ask your doctor about.
3. Make a Sick-Day Plan

Common illnesses like colds, flu, and diarrhea can raise your blood sugar. At the same time, your diabetes makes it harder to fight infections. So be prepared. Store snacks that are easy on the stomach but can still give you enough fluids and carbs. Check your blood sugar more often when you're sick. 

4. Manage Your Medicine Cabinet

If you take pills or injections, keep 3 days' worth of your meds and supplies on hand in case of an emergency. Since some of your diabetes drugs may affect other medications -- even ones you buy without a prescription -- tell your doctor before you try anything new. Make a list of everything you take, and bring it to your doctor and dentist appointments.

5. Fight Everyday Stress

Cut down on the tension in your life and your diabetes will thank you. Stress can raise your blood sugar and may lead you to make poor food choices, too.

Exercise is a great way to ease the strain. It raises the levels of chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. There are lots of ways to get active. Work out in the gym, join a sports team, or take dance lessons. The main thing is to keep moving!

6. Exercise in Short Sessions

You don't have to cram your physical activity into one big burst. Spread it out over the day.  Three 10-minute walks are as good as 30 minutes at once. Regular, moderate workouts will do a world of good. They help control your blood sugar, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and ease stress.

Exercise is just as important as drugs to help manage your diabetes.  When you move and rev up your heart rate, it’ll help you burn extra fat and lose weight.

Your routine should include:

  • Activity each day that gets your heart pumping, such as  brisk walking or swimming
  • Two to three sessions a week of strength training with stretch bands, free weights, or workout machines (on non-consecutive days)
  • Stretching or an activity like yoga every day to stay flexible

Regular exercise will build muscles, burn extra fat, and help your diabetes drugs work better.

Muscle is important. Having more lean muscle mass will improve how well your body processes blood sugar. Weight training for a total of 1 hour (or more) every week to help you build more muscle.

You can prevent muscle loss if you do strength training, like lifting weights or using resistance equipment. Studies suggest it also improves how your body uses insulin and sugar. And of course, it's a great way to lose weight, too.
7. Check Your Feet Every Night

Use a hand mirror or ask someone to help you look for cuts, swelling, or changes in color. Don't forget to look between your toes, too. If you see anything, call your doctor right away. And let him know if you get any corns or calluses, too.

Make caring for your feet part of your daily routine. Wash and moisturize them every day, and keep your toenails trimmed.

8. Break the Cigarette Habit

If you smoke, pick a date to quit. That gives you the chance to get ready for it. You might need help to beat the mental and physical parts of nicotine addiction. Stop-smoking programs, support groups, and wellness centers can offer professional help. 

9. Get enough sleep

Get more shut-eye, since it might help you keep your blood sugar levels in check. Poor sleep can also make you want to eat more during the day to boost your energy.

Seven to 8 hours of good-quality sleep may also help to reduce your blood sugars and cardiovascular [heart] risk by lowering some of the body's hormones.

Stress can make it hard to rest at night. That might affect your diabetes, too. If you're anxious from family problems or work, for example, your body might make too many stress hormones, like cortisol. That tells your body to store more blood sugar and fat. Stress can also cause your body to slow production of insulin. That’ll make it harder for your medicine to work well. Find ways to relax. Exercise is one way to ease tension and sleep better. You can also try relaxation techniques like meditation.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. HealthCult does not claim responsibility for this information.