Nutrition and exercise are essential components of diabetes control.
Nutritional goals for type 2 diabetes focus on three main strategies to maintain a healthy blood sugar level:
Keep a steady intake of carbohydrates.
You may have heard that people with diabetes should eat less sugar and carbohydrates, or even avoid eating them at all. However, your body still relies on carbohydrates and sugar as its main source of energy.
To manage diabetes, it’s important not to overwhelm the body with too many carbohydrates at once or deprive it of its favorite source of energy. A consistent carbohydrate intake means spacing your carbohydrate intake evenly between all three meals and snacks rather than eating most of it in one or two meals.
Choose complex carbohydrates when choosing which carbohydrates to eat, and make sure most of them are complex. Complex carbohydrates refer to those with a lot of fiber, such as whole grains, fruits, beans, and lentils.
By choosing complex carbohydrates over refined ones, such as white rice and pasta, the higher fiber content slows the absorption of sugar, preventing sharp spikes and drops in blood sugar.
Combine protein foods with carbohydrates. Proteins and fats also slow down the absorption of sugar. Combining a protein food like string cheese with a carbohydrate like crackers will help keep your blood sugar level stable.
Exercise also plays an important role in the control of diabetes. Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy weight and promotes a steady blood sugar level.
Follow these tips in addition to nutrition to maximize your benefits. Getting at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, walking regularly, especially after a meal, is a great way to start.
As you get more comfortable with your exercise routine, gradually increase the intensity and duration, and try new activities, such as swimming. For the best benefits, incorporate at least two days a week of resistance training. Resistance training doesn’t necessarily mean you have to join a gym. You can use your own body weight, or even a set of resistance bands, to work your muscles from the comfort of your own home.
Join us for a class on Managing Diabetes Through Nutrition and Exercise led by Kylie Conner, RD, on August 16, 2022 in the Mission Hope Cancer Center Conference Room. Please call (805) 219-HOPE (4673) to RSVP.
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