Learn how simple lifestyle changes can help diabetics AND their heart!
Managing both heart health and diabetes doesn’t have to be difficult a lot of lifestyle habits for one can help you with the other. Unfortunately if you have type 2 diabetes you are at a much higher risk for other diseases and ailments and taking care of yourself is at the top list of priorities. Common complications can include nerve dysfunction, kidney disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. Here we’re going to go over a few heart healthy tips for diabetics as well as what is the best diet for heart disease and diabetes.
Heart Health and Diabetes
When you are managing your diabetes, without knowing it you are also managing your heart health. This can’t be said for every type of treatment for type 2 diabetes but in general, the manner in which you care for yourself with diabetes also helps your heart and vice versa. Here are a few heart healthy tips for diabetics.
1. Exercise – This is one of the top heart healthy tips for diabetics. Exercise has proven to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease as well as keep excess weight off. It also helps the cells in your body to become more sensitive of insulin helping it digest glucose better. The best types of exercise for heart health and diabetes is either resistance training or aerobic exercises. Aerobic exercises help you get your heart rate up and resistance training helps the muscles.
2. No smoking – smoking not only is bad for heart health and diabetes but it also worsens the chance of potential complications such as lung cancer and heart disease. If you are a smoker and don’t know how to quit, speak to a medical professional about your options for quitting.
3. Alcohol – this is a general diet tip for a healthy body but drinking alcohol in moderation is another one of our heart healthy tips for diabetics. We consider moderation around one or two drinks per day because it can lower the risk of heart disease. Alcohol can also cause weight gain and a raise in blood sugar. If you enjoy alcohol, check and make sure that it doesn’t play a role in raising your blood sugar.
4. Stress – Stress can be bad for your heart health and diabetes because it can raise the risk of heart disease as well as blood sugar. Try various methods to reduce stress, things like exercise, yoga or meditation.
5. Sleep – Sleep is important no matter your health. Getting enough sleep lowers your risk of many diseases including heart disease. You want to make sure you aren’t sleeping too much, it’s recommended around seven hours of sleep each night.
Best Diet for Heart Disease and Diabetes
Following a heart healthy diet is good for your body all around. This means that you are watching your fat and carbohydrate intake, limiting saturated fat. Saturated fat is bad for your heart and blood sugar levels because it elevates cholesterol leading to plaque in arteries. On the other hand, certain types of foods contain refined carbohydrates which means that they directly affect blood sugar by raising it and the higher blood sugar levels that you have the greater the chance for heart disease. The best diet for heart disease and diabetes is one that is similar to a Mediterranean diet. This includes:
- Whole grains
- Lean meats
- Healthy fats
- Olive oil
By following the right type of heart healthy diet you can not only help maintain your weight but also your blood sugar levels. Before making any major changes to your diet make sure to speak to a medical professional, or your doctor, about your concerns and health. Working together with your doctor to manage your heart health and diabetes will be extremely beneficial to your overall health.