By Dr. Janet Brill
Living with diabetes is no picnic, but there are natural ways in which you can increase your quality of life, all while decreasing adverse effects from the condition. The following is a primer on just a few ways that you can get your diabetes under control and not risk the serious and life altering effects that diabetes brings through just a few small changes.
It should be pointed out that any mentions referring to diabetes in the proceeding content are mentions of Type 2 diabetes, and not Type 1 – or insulin dependent – diabetes. That said, the tips outlined below can certainly aid with Type 1 diabetes as well, but should not be an excuse to stop taking insulin as prescribed by a doctor.
According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes affects approximately one in every ten people in the United States, and over the past several years, that number has increased about half a percent each year. Diabetes is a problem that isn’t going anywhere in a society that values processed foods, refined sugar, and an on-the-go diet that often necessitates improper eating habits. If you – or a loved one – is dealing with diabetes, here are just a few tips to keep living a high quality of life, while dealing with a condition that has been known to lead to shorter life spans, amputations, and dramatic, life altering complications.
Get Your Diet in Check
Having diabetes makes dietary change extremely necessary. While most just believe they have to cut back on sweets during periods of high blood sugar levels, it’s actually much more complex than that. Carbs, fruit and even some beverages (outside of soda – which should be a no-brainer) can cause elevated blood sugar levels or even sudden spikes that could require hospitalization. The proper vegetarian diet is one that is rich in natural foods such as lean protein, leafy greens, and lacking in frozen meals, sweets, and sugary drinks.
Exercise – It Helps
Diabetics are often informed by their physician that exercise is now going to have to be a priority in their life, but do you know why? Exercise leads to depleted glucose levels in your body, and when that glucose is exhausted, your body begins to look for it in other places – notably, in your blood stream. Upon completion of your exercise routine your liver begins to replenish the stored glucose levels that your body has depleted, but in the meantime it’s actually driving your blood sugar levels down, which for most diabetics, is a very good thing. In addition, just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three to four times each week reduces your sensitivity to insulin, helps burn fat, lower blood pressure, improve circulation and reduce cholesterol. All of this leads to a healthy diabetic.
Spend Smart on Diabetic Products
There are a million and one products that claim to make your life easier as a diabetic. From insulin testing strips to food additives or supplements, the market for diabetes-related products is growing just as fast as the rate of diagnosis. For some products, it just makes sense to spend the money. Two of these products are testing supplies and footwear. Testing supplies should be a no-brainer, as you’re testing your glucose or blood sugar levels multiple times daily in most cases. It makes sense to buy products that are easier to use, or less invasive.
Footwear, on the other hand, is something that most wouldn’t consider unless they are – or know someone who is – diabetic. You see, most diabetics have trouble with their feet at some point or another. A lot of this is due to poor circulation, and there are actually socks out there designed to help. Diabetic socks, for example, help to eliminate circulatory issues in the feet, as well as keeping your feet dry and comfortable throughout the day.
Consider Going Vegetarian – Or Vegan
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a vegetarian or vegan diet can actually work wonders on those suffering from Type 2 diabetes. Much of this is derived from a monitored and controlled diet, and the weight loss that tends to accompany it, but there is significant data that backs up some of the other key contributors to a major dietary change such as going vegetarian or vegan. There have even been cases where all diabetes-related side-effects such as insulin dependence or the need to constantly monitor blood sugar have been completely erased. Once again, I’m not a doctor, so I wouldn’t suggest that you try any of this without the approval of your physician.
With the increased instance of diabetes diagnoses each year, it’s necessary to start formulating a plan to help new – or long-time – diabetic sufferers to manage the condition appropriately. A few small changes are often all that is necessary to live a healthy and normal life without the serious complication that often accompany this condition. Do your homework and make the changes that you need in order to live well.