Managing a healthy diet is key to staying healthy with diabetes.
Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to properly store excessive sugar from food so it remains in the blood, resulting in high blood. This causes the blood to be thick and sticky, with a consistency a bit like maple syrup. The thickened blood decreases the blood flow (and oxygen) to all the vessels throughout the body. Sticky sugar builds up in the inside of the blood vessels causing blockages. The extra work required to pump thick and sticky blood throughout the body strains and weakens the heart. Complications stemming from diabetes include heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney failure, poor circulation, amputations, and blindness.
Monitor your blood sugars
|AIC||Fasting blood glucose/ blood glucose before meals (mmol/L)||Blood glucose two hours after eating (mmol/L)|
|Target for most patients with diabetes||≤7.0%||4.0 to 7.0||5.0 to 10|
|Normal range||≤6.0%||4.0 to 6.0||5.0 to 8.0|
Key to controlling blood sugars
Carbohydrates (Carbs) = sugar, our main fuel for energy. Carbohydrates come from grain products (breads, pasta, cereals, rice, crackers), fruits and sweet and starchy vegetables, dairy products and high sugar foods (candy, cakes, chocolate, ice cream, pop, juices). Key is a balanced intake of carbohydrate foods throughout the day to avoid high and low blood sugars.
Limit/avoid high ‘added’ sugar foods. They are low in nutrients and often high in fat causing blood sugars to spike. Ask your doctor to refer you to a registered dietitian to manage your food intake and blood sugars.
Fibre: Fibre helps to control blood sugar by acting like a sponge to absorb extra sugar in your blood and take it out of your body.
Fat: Diabetics are also at risk of heart disease, therefore saturated and trans-fatty acids should be minimized to prevent high cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis. Unsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3s found in fatty fish, flaxseed and walnuts have been shown to help support cardiovascular health due to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant components.
Physical activity: Aim for minimum 150 minutes a week.