Keep diabetes in tip-top shape
There are many side effects to having diabetes and they are more likely to show up sooner than later if the diabetes is not in good control. Good control is established between you and your doctor, but generally the guideline is to have an A1C of 7.0 or less. And that will take some work with good lifestyle choices. Just remember that you have diabetes every day, so self-care isn’t just once in a while but rather it is daily.
Here are some good reminders for staying in good diabetes-shape.
- Select whole-grains for more fiber.
- Enjoy at least five or more servings of fruits and vegetables to control blood pressure and keep the heart healthy.
- Plan meals with less meat and more fish, legumes, nuts and tofu to protect the arteries.
- Drink calorie-free beverages only to prevent blood sugar spikes – this includes water, flavored water, coffee and tea. Make your own flavored water by adding slices of fresh fruit or berries to your glass of water.
- Start the day with a good breakfast to avoid overeating later in the day and potentially spiking blood sugar levels.
- Keep portions reasonable to help lose weight if needed, or maintain a healthy weight as you age.
- Prep most meals at home to control the ingredients, and keep simple sugars to a minimum.
Take a 30-minute walk or other form of physical activity each and every day. The major health organizations recommend 150 minutes of activity weekly. It is good to have some each day rather than be a weekend warrior.
- Yearly physical, or more often as recommended by your health care provider.
- Daily check of your feet.
- Yearly eye check-up.
- Blood work to assess kidney health.
- Stress assessment – if life seems overwhelming, talk to your doctor about seeing a counselor who can help you work through the tough things. And enlist the support of your family or the people that you live with. You’ll need and want their encouragement.
Recipes to try:
About the Author
Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.