Health tips for Diabetes Management

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By Dr. Tanvi Tijoriwala, ND

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which our body does not react normally to insulin, a hormone that regulates the sugar levels in the blood. Due to this, we are unable to utilize glucose for normal functions.

Having a high blood sugar level can cause symptoms such as excess thirst, fatigue, weight loss, excess urination, or even light headedness and blurry vision.

It is extremely important to manage high blood sugar levels because it can cause serious health consequences, such as blindness, kidney failure, neuropathy, etc. In this article, I share three important health tips for patients that have a high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes or patients that are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

1. Avoid simple carbohydrates and choose foods with lower glycemic index

Foods that contain sugar spike our blood glucose but there are other foods, called simple carbohydrates, that also do the same thing. These foods do not necessarily have to be “sweet.” The term used to describe foods which spike blood sugar levels is called – high or medium glycemic index (GI) foods.

Diabetics should aim to eat more foods with low glycemic index (GI). Research shows that replacing high glycemic index foods with low glycemic index foods for 2 weeks to 6 months can ensure significant improvements with blood glucose levels.

Foods that have a high glycemic index and should be avoided:

White potatoes, pasta, white bread, short grain rice, cornflakes, processed foods and of course SUGAR!

Here is a list of the glycemic index for 60+ foods by Harvard Health

2. Eat more soluble fibers

Soluble fibres are helpful in blood sugar management because they slow down digestion. By slowing down digestion there is no insulin “spike” but rather a gradual rise in insulin. As a result, blood sugar is regulated more effectively. Bonus – soluble fibers also help with cholesterol management.

Foods that contain soluble fibres and can be added to the diet:

Ground flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, oats, barley, beans, lentils and vegetables.

3. Exercise

These days, low physical fitness is equated to smoking several packs of cigarettes a day, and therefore movement is an integral lifestyle change for everyone.

For people with Type 2 diabetes or high risk for acquiring Type 2 diabetes being physically active allows the muscles to become more sensitive to insulin thus making it easier for cells to take up glucose.

Research shows that exercise can be as powerful as glucose-lowering medications. Physical activity is very important for regulating blood sugar levels, not just for Type 2 diabetics but also for those at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Keep in mind that although being active is great to help blood sugar regulation, it does not mean we should increase our sugar intake just because we exercise.

4. Supplements

Although diet and lifestyle changes are the cornerstone therapies for diabetes management, sometimes our body requires additional assistance to regulate blood sugar.

Many minerals and herbal supplements can provide support in effectively managing Type 2 diabetes.

If you need more insight into what supplements and dietary changes might be beneficial for you to manage your diabetes, you can book an appointment with Dr. Tanvi here.

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