Creating a healthy diet for diabetes with the help of a dietitian
Maintaining proper insulin levels, regular exercise and a healthy diet are essential components of a diabetes treatment plan. Regular exercise and healthy eating are lifestyle changes that anyone, whether you have diabetes or not, will benefit from. If you have diabetes, sticking with a diabetes friendly diet will not only help you to sustain proper insulin levels but will optimize your overall health. A diabetes diet is also known as medical nutrition therapy (MNT), and simply involves eating nutrient-rich foods that are low in calories and fat. This type of diet places a strong emphasis on eating plenty of whole grains, fruit and vegetables. One of the objectives of MNT is to keep off excess weight and fat. Doing so will make it far easier to manage your blood glucose level in order to keep it within an ideal range. A diabetes diet will help you to shed excess weight, if needed, while ensuring that you are getting enough daily nutrients. Choosing healthier low GI carbohydrates (fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains) instead of simple carbohydrates which are higher GI (refined foods and simple sugars) will help you to maintain proper glucose levels. Counting your daily intake of carbohydrates is essential for decreasing your risk of fluctuating blood sugar levels. Food that is rich in fibre such as vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, and nuts. Not only will fibre-rich foods help control blood glucose levels but will also reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Small amounts of healthy fats such as fats found in almonds, walnuts, pecans, avocados, olive oil and olives can help in lowering cholesterol levels and in maintaining proper blood sugar levels. Foods that should be avoided on a diabetes diet include:
- Saturated and trans fats found in food items such as sausage, bacon, baked goods, shortening and some cheap margarine.
- Sodium consumption should be less than 2,000 mg/day, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Cholesterol found in fatty animal proteins or dairy products should make up less than 200 mg of your diet per day.
If you have questions about creating a healthy diet for diabetes, contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a dietitian and nutritionist.