Recommended Dietary and Lifestyle Changes for Diabetics Sufferers
Avoid sugar and sugar rich foods. Eat diet rich in fiber
People with diabetes cannot properly process sugar. Research shows that sugar causes diabetes in animals.
The fiber in carbohydrates helps protect against NIDDM (Type 2 diabetes). Most sugar comes from low-fiber foods, while high-fiber foods are often low in sugar. Therefore, eating more sugar usually means decreasing fiber-a mistake for diabetics. When whole foods, such as beans, whole raw fruit, and pasta, are compared with processed sugary foods, the high-sugar foods increase blood sugar more than the whole foods.
Cut intake of dietary sugar, such as snacks and processed foods. Replace low-fiber, high-sugar foods (such as fruit juice) or starch (such as white bread) with high-fiber, whole foods.
High-fiber supplements, such as psyllium, guar gum (found in beans), pectin (from fruit), oat bran, and glucomannan, improve glucose tolerance. Eat more fruits, vegetables, seeds, oats, and whole-grain products. You may supplement your diet with psyllium and glucomannan supplements.
We also recommend that you consume 1-3 ounces of powdered fenugreek seeds per day.
Fish/Omega 3 Oils
The results on fish oil is not conclusive. Glucose tolerance was found to improve in healthy people taking omega-3 fish oil supplements. Some studies reported that omega-3 fish oil improves glucose tolerance, high triglycerides, and cholesterol levels in diabetics. However, others report that cholesterol increases and diabetes worsens with fish oil supplements. So, until this issue is resolved, we recommend that you eat fish; but avoid fish oil supplementation unless advised by a nutritionally oriented physician.
Vegetarians eat no meat, dairy, or eggs. Studies have shown that vegetarians have a low risk of NIDDM (type 2 diabetes). When people with diabetic nerve damage switched to a vegan diet, improvements was found within several days. In one study, pain completely disappeared in seventeen of twenty-one people.
Monounsaturated oils may be good for diabetics. Use olive oil as a source for monosaturated oil in your diet. Olive oil is high in calories; so if you are overweight, use it sparingly.
Milk and Type 1 Diabetes
Countries with high milk consumption have a high risk of Type 1 diabetes (IDDM). Milk contains a protein that is related to a protein in the pancreas, the organ where insulin is made. It is suggested that children who are allergic to milk may develop antibodies that attack the pancreas, causing IDDM. Several studies have shown that children with diabetes drink cow's milk at an earlier age than other children. Animal research indicates that avoiding milk affords protection from IDDM. If you have a family history of diabetes, it is suggested that you minimize feeding of dairy products to infants and children. Recent research suggests a possible link between milk consumption in infancy and an increased risk of NIDDM.
See Also: Macrobiotic Approach
Reduce Your Weight
Excess fat actually decreases the number of insulin receptors present in the body, aggravating diabetes. Most people with diabetes are obese. Excess abdominal weight make the body insensitive to insulin. When you are overweight, your body need more insulin. NIDDM improves with weight loss in most studies. Thus, reducing weight will be helpful for people with diabetes.
If you are already overweight, slim down. Avoid overeating and emphasize healthy whole foods. In addition to managing your blood-sugar levels appropriately, follow your doctor's recommendations for a weight- reducing diet.
Both types of diabetes can be greatly improved with a regular moderate exercise program. Exercise helps decrease body fat and improves insulin sensitivity. Exercisers are less likely to develop NIDDM (Type 2 diabetes). People with IDDM (Type 1 diabetes) who exercise require less insulin.
Aerobic activities such as brisk walking, running, cycling, and swimming have a proven beneficial effect on blood-sugar levels. The utilization of glucose by the exercising muscles improves, and the improvement can last for up to seventy-two hours. Exercise also improves the blood-lipid (fat) profile and helps control blood pressure.
However, exercise can induce low blood sugar or even increased blood sugar. Carefully monitor your blood sugar during exercise in order to avoid possible overdoses of insulin. Consult a health care professional before starting an exercise program.
Alcohol worsens glucose tolerance in the elderly and in diabetics. Diabetics who drink have a high risk for eye and nerve damage. Avoid alcohol if you are diabetic.
Diabetics who smoke are at higher risk for kidney damage, heart disease, and other diabetes-linked problems. Smokers are more likely to become diabetic. Don't smoke. If you smoke, quit.
See Also: Common Sense Care
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