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Diabetes is a serious health issue that’s swept our nation for decades now. It is a chronic condition that causes a person’s blood glucose levels to become too high. People with diabetes often need to carefully manage their diet. There are different types of diabetes, and no two people with diabetes are the same for anyone. Although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all diabetes diet or lifestyle approach for everyone to follow, there are some tried-and-true tips that can help improve your life.

The more we learn about health and diabetes, the more we understand that symptoms and health issues of both Type 1 and Type 2 forms of the disease can be managed. These healthy eating tips are general and can help you manage your blood glucose (sugar), blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. They can also help you manage your weight and reduce the risk of diabetes complications, such as heart problems and strokes, and other health conditions, including certain types of cancers.

1. Eat more non-starchy vegetables

Incorporating more non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, artichoke hearts, cucumber, eggplant, carrots, raw or cooked vegetables, and salads are great for people with diabetes. This is because they have a low glycemic index from high water and fiber content and little to no starch. The absence of starch will ensure that you do not spike your blood sugar. Whether you snack on these vegetables throughout the day or make a hearty meal out of them, you really can’t go wrong.

2. Avoid added sugars

Carefully monitoring carbohydrate and sugar intake is important when managing diabetes. Added sugar can have a  potential impact on blood glucose levels. The amount of carbohydrates and sugar a person with diabetes can have is dependent upon a variety of factors, including activity levels, healthy weight goals, and whether they are trying to lower their blood glucose levels. Simple sugars tend to raise blood glucose levels faster and higher than complex carbohydrates, says Medical News Today. Instead, choose foods such as whole wheat, oatmeal, cereals, and bread without added sugars or very low in added sugar. However, despite all of this, incorporating the occasional sweet treat into a healthful diet can still be okay.

3. Choose whole foods over highly processed foods

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By choosing a diet that is primarily based on plant-based whole foods, you are also cutting down or avoiding processed foods altogether. These pre-packaged, hydrogenated oil-rich, and sugar-filled items have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes. Focus more on adding vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts into your diet and removing or lessening the amount of added sugars, white flour, and processed oils you consume.

4. Eat less salt

Eating lots of salt can increase your risk of high blood pressure, which can ultimately increase the risk of heart disease. When you have diabetes, you’re also more at risk for other life-threatening conditions such as a stroke. Try to limit pre-packaged foods, and remember to check food labels and choose those with less salt. Cooking homemade meals will help you keep an eye on how much salt you’re adding to your meals.

5. Be Physically Active

Being more physically active can help you manage your diabetes and also reduce your risk of heart problems. This is because it increases the amount of glucose used by your muscles and helps the body use insulin more efficiently. Try to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week. This is any activity that raises your heart rate and makes you breathe faster and feel warmer. You should still be able to talk and only be slightly out of breath.

6. Stress Less

We know that too much stress is unhealthy, as it affects your blood pressure, your mental health, your weight, and your blood sugar. When you have diabetes, it’s important to manage the amount of stress in your life. Try and Identify the different sources of stress in your life and take the necessary steps to reduce or eliminate them. You may also want to consider learning different skills and techniques to manage stress when it’s unavoidable. Try focused breathing exercises, like meditation, or take a moment to close your eyes and calm your thoughts.

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