How to Cope with Diabetes through Dieting
I am not a diabetic (knock on wood), but I am surrounded by people who are.
My younger sister is a diabetic. So is my uncle, my best friend, a cousin and more than a couple of guys I play tennis with. A friend became blind in one eye due to diabetes and another had a leg amputated.
In short, I know the risks and struggles they face each day.
What is diabetes?
By diabetes, I mean type 2 diabetes (the other is type 1) which is affecting an estimated 366 million people, worldwide or about 5.2% of the world’s population and causing the deaths of 4.6 million people from diabetes-related complications every year.
Type 2 diabetes can happen if the insulin produced by the pancreas is not enough, or the body’s inefficient use of the insulin produced, resulting in hypoglycemia or “insulin resistance.”
Over the years medicine has understood the disease better to allow diabetics to lead normal lives.
Diabetics can live well into their twilight years through a combination of medication, weight loss, exercise and proper nutrition.
There are several drugs on the market to choose from and weight loss and exercise are pretty personal. But proper nutrition is a very narrow window for diabetics to squeeze through. Dieting is of paramount importance when you have type 2 diabetics, and there is not much room for error.
Type 2 Diabetes Diet Plan:
Just because you have type 2 diabetes does not mean you have to keep away from things you love to eat. But you have to exercise restraint not to make your blood sugar levels go beyond your safe limits.
For example, a friend once told me that I should temper my liking for grapes to avoid the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. He could never be more wrong.
As long as you are not allergic to it, people with type 2 diabetes can eat all kinds of fruits – provided they are fresh (or frozen), not processed, i.e., applesauce, and canned fruits, dried fruit or fruit juices.
Fruits are nutritious and full of dietary fibers. Whatever sugar they contain is not enough to throw your blood sugar level through the roof.
Carbohydrates, per se, is bad for type 2 diabetes. But there are good carbohydrates like those from fruits, vegetables, whole grains like brown rice, barley, millet, oatmeal, popcorn, etc., legumes (like beans, peas, and lintels), and lintels, and low-fat dairy products (yogurt, cottage cheese, milk).
Fiber-rich foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes. whole-wheat flour and wheat bran.
Fiber moderates how your body digests food and helps control blood sugar levels.
Eat fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and bluefish at least twice a week. These are full of omega-3 fatty acids which help promote heart health by lowering triglycerides, or blood fats.
Not all fish, however, is good for the health. Tilefish, swordfish, and king mackerel are known to have high levels of mercury.
Fats are not all bad. You can indulge in them provided they are the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
If you don’t what they are, they are the fats you get from avocados, almonds, pecans, walnuts, olives, canola and olive and peanut oils.
Eating just the right amount lowers your cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
But how can all these make a good meal?
Take a cue from the American Diabetes Association. To enjoy your meals, follow this simple step:
In preparing your plate, fill one-half with non-starchy vegetables like spinach, carrots, and tomatoes; fill one-fourth with protein from tuna, or lean pork, and fill the last fourth with whole-grain or starchy food.
Help yourself with a serving of fruit or dairy and flush them down with water or unsweetened tea of coffee.
My uncle, who lives in Canada, has been insulin-dependent for many years. Now I was told that he has to go through the dialysis treatment twice a week. My best friend, also insulin-dependent, has to go through by-pass operation late last year.
Type 2 diabetes is a bad dude among medical ailments. It leaves behind a swath of destruction, even death. But it need not be the case. If managed well, it can be tamed like a pussy.
Please share so other seniors will learn how to manage their diabetes as well.