When someone has diabetes mellitus, revamping how one eats and exercises is a must. There are now numerous medications that can be taken to lower blood sugar levels. Still, medications alone may not do the trick. Making sure that blood sugar levels are under control requires discipline and commitment. Discipline is needed to formulate a good diabetic diet and exercise routine, and commitment to stick to that routine no matter what.
The diet of people with type 2 diabetes must be individualized, making sure to take into consideration nutritional requirements, as well as personal level of comfort of the changes the patient is willing to make at that time. A full adjustment to a new diabetic diet plan may take some time, so incorporating gradual changes to meal plans can be easier.
The content of the diabetic diet is very important. There is now a listing of different food items with their glycemic index (GI) or sugar content. Diabetics should always make sure to have foods with low GI. A diet rich in natural fibers are also good choices for diabetics. These foods include whole grains, fruits and leafy vegetables. There are also now several food items for the diabetic diet that have low GI , and have an added effect of lowering blood sugar levels.
Another recommendation is to have alternative sources to animal proteins. The kidney function of diabetics do not metabolize proteins as efficiently as normal kidneys, and animal protein can bring too much stress on already compromised kidney functions. Protein from plant sources such as beans and nuts are better metabolized by the body.
When it comes to exercise, first make sure that there are no other underlying or concomitant diseases that can compromise the function of the heart. To be safe, it is best to first consult a physician so he/she can give advice on the type of exercises the person can do. Some diabetic complications, such as eyesight problems and nerve damage, can limit the exercise a person can do. It is wise to individualize an exercise routine according to the patient’s current health status.
If the person has been inactive for a while, start out with light exercises such as brisk walking or light aerobics. For those who are overweight or with joint problems, swimming is a very good option as this exercise has very low impact on the joints. In general, it is recommended to have physical activity three times a week for 30 minutes per day. It has been shown that moderate exercise can eventually improve the body’s response to insulin.
It must be remembered that diabetics are already on medication that lowers their blood sugar levels. Therefore, any diet and exercise plan must be carefully planned out and monitored so the patient will not have too low blood sugar levels that can be a medical concern as well. Keeping in mind these tips on diabetic diet and exercise can surely help diabetics cope with necessary changes.