Helpful tips to help diabetics enjoy a healthier lifestyle
For some people, a diagnosis of diabetes is the push they need to start living a healthier, more enjoyable lifestyle. If you have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you will need to make certain lifestyle adjustments in order to manage your disease and reduce your risk of complications. This can be a bit of a shock, but being diagnosed with this disease does not have to negatively impact your life. In fact, making the necessary healthy changes to your lifestyle will actually help you enjoy a longer, richer life. Here are five healthy lifestyle tips for diabetics to get you started:
1. Switch to a diabetes-friendly diet
Eating a diabetes-friendly diet tops our list of tips for diabetes control. When you have diabetes, eating foods that contain the right mix of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and nutrients will help keep your blood glucose in check and may prevent you from developing diabetes complications. Eating a diabetes-friendly diet may seem complicated, but you don’t have to figure out what to eat on your own. The American Diabetes Association has an simple-to-use Diabetes Meal Plan that makes it easy to choose correct portion sizes and food choices.
2. Quit smoking (or never start)
Smoking is incredibly dangerous for anyone with diabetes. Diabetics who smoke have a harder time controlling their disease. They also have an increased chance of developing heart and kidney disease, retinopathy (an eye disease that can lead to blindness), and poor circulation that is so severe it results in the amputation of toes, feet, or legs. Quitting smoking now will improve your health and make your blood sugar easier to control. There are a number of free programs and resources to help you quit smoking today.
3. Get up and move
Getting regular exercise is an important healthy lifestyle tip for diabetics, because it improves the way your body uses glucose. Exercising just 30 minutes a day, five days a week also reduces stress and helps control blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels – all key measures that will decrease your risk of developing diabetes-related complications. You don’t need to do an intense workout. Any aerobic activity such as walking, swimming, or dancing will provide health benefits that will help you manage your diabetes.
4. Learn to manage stress
Studies have shown that stress can cause dangerous spikes in blood sugar levels. People with diabetes should take a two-pronged approach to keep stress down to manageable levels. First, arrange time each week to engage in relaxing activities that you enjoy, such as gardening, drawing, playing with pets, or practicing yoga. Whenever you find your stress level creeping up during the day, take 15 minutes to practice calming exercises. This may involve mediation, guided imagery, or simply concentrating on deep breathing.
5. Get some sleep
Getting enough sleep is one of the simple tips for diabetes control that really makes a difference. When you have diabetes and don’t get enough sleep, your body is unable to process glucose correctly. You can experience unwanted weight gain and develop dangerously high blood glucose levels. Simply getting at least 7.5 hours of sleep per night will make managing your diabetes much easier.