One of the first pieces of advice we give to a diabetic patient is to reduce their consumption of sugary foods and drinks. Indeed, a sugar-free diet emphasizes complex carbohydrates, moderates total carbohydrate intake and encourages people to consume foods with a low glycemic index (GI) and high fiber, which help regulate blood sugar and to improve insulin sensitivity. However, experts believe that diet alone is not enough to control blood sugar levels. In conversation with the OnlyMyHealth team, Dr Mahesh DM, Consultant Endocrinologist, Aster CMI Hospital, Bangaloreshared other things people with diabetes should keep in mind.
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Exercise is key
Regular physical activity plays a crucial role in regulating blood sugar levels. It helps your body be more sensitive to insulin, which is a hormone that causes the body’s cells to use blood sugar for energy.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine OpenStaying active throughout the day is crucial for controlling blood sugar levels.
“Activities that promote blood sugar reduction include taking breaks between long periods of sitting, scheduling exercise after meals to avoid high blood sugar, and incorporating some form of aerobic exercise and of high-intensity resistance training in the week,” the study says.
To drink a lot of water
Staying hydrated can benefit people with diabetes in many ways. Not only does this prevent dehydration, which can raise blood sugar levels, but it can also help your kidneys eliminate any excess sugar through urine. The conclusions of a study published in the Journal Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome: Research and Clinical Reviews found that water consumption was associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in women and men.
Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels
Normal blood sugar levels range between 70 and 140 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) in a fasting state, that is, before meals. However, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these values may vary slightly depending on factors such as eating different foods, taking medications or physical activity.
According to Dr. Mahesh, constant monitoring helps understand blood sugar fluctuations before and after meals or activities, which allows for informed adjustments to diet and medications, thereby promoting gradual changes rather than skipping meals altogether. .
Read also: Top Five Carbohydrates Recommended for Diabetic Patients
Get quality sleep
Insufficient sleep can negatively impact different aspects of your diabetes management plan, including how much you eat, what you choose to eat, how your body responds to insulin, and more. Again. Poor sleep can also lead to increased cravings for unhealthy foods, making it difficult to stick to a diabetes-friendly diet. Additionally, fatigue from insufficient sleep can interfere with your exercise routine, which in turn can affect your blood sugar levels. Therefore, prioritizing quality sleep is an integral part of proper and effective diabetes management.
Say no to tobacco and alcohol consumption
Dr Mahesh recommended avoiding tobacco and alcohol consumption as they can damage blood vessels and pancreatic function, leading to increased sugar levels. The CDC says that people who smoke are 30 to 40 percent more likely to have type 2 diabetes than people who don’t smoke. Chemicals in cigarettes damage your body’s cells and cause inflammation, which also stops cells from responding to insulin, according to the U.S. health agency.
Managing diabetes requires a consistent plan, which involves maintaining a balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, regular physical activity and timely blood sugar monitoring. Additionally, diabetic patients should also take prescribed medications as directed and prioritize getting enough sleep. It is essential to communicate with your doctor and develop a sustainable strategy for diabetes management and care.