5 Ways to Minimize the Effects of Diabetes!

Diabetes is the 7th most deadly disease affecting over 420 million people globally with numbers sadly on the rise. Its main characteristic is the loss of carbohydrate metabolism function. The most common symptom is high blood glucose which is a consequence of impaired insulin production in the pancreas (diabetes type I) or incorrect insulin action (diabetes type II). Insulin is a hormone which allows the cells in your body to absorb glucose and use it for energy. Although diabetes doesn’t as yet have a complete cure there are a number of ways to prevent the development of this disease and reduce the risk of experiencing chronic (or life altering) complications. Good insulin injections are still available on the market if you don’t see any other way out. In the meantime, here are 5 Ways to Minimize the Effects of Diabetes!

1. Avoid refined sugars in your diet while increasing protein consumption
Processed sugars bring about a rapid rise in blood glucose levels as small sugar molecules are broken down very quickly. Food containing lean proteins which slow down the sugar’s breakdown and absorption of glucose should be chosen instead. They include chicken, eggs and fish.

2. Make sure that your diet is rich in chromium and magnesium
Magnesium regulates your carbohydrate metabolism and balances the levels of glucose in your blood. Chromium can be found in products such as broccoli and cheese while magnesium is present in beans, spinach and nuts.

3. Incorporate natural herbs such as ginseng and curcuma into your diet
Curcuma is one of the components of turmeric which is often used for curries (and trending these days of course is the delicious turmeric latte; try it with coconut milk, the taste is truly amazing!). It decreases insulin resistance and possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Ginseng works as a natural appetite suppressant. It increases glucose tolerance while decreasing blood glucose levels and body mass.

4. Consume plenty of fibre
Fibre not only slows down the release of glucose into your bloodstream and regulates blood glucose levels, it also detoxifies your system. To make sure you get enough fibre in your diet, eat a lot of vegetables, nuts and seeds.

5. Exercise, exercise, exercise!
When you exercise, your muscles use up glucose present in the bloodstream as their primary source of energy hence reducing your blood glucose concentration. In addition to this direct effect of increasing insulin sensitivity, working-out lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as improving your cardiovascular system functions.

Living with diabetes can mean making quite drastic changes to your lifestyle. Your diet, sleep, and activities need to be adjusted to manage your condition. One other thing that diabetics need to pay special attention to is caring for their legs and feet. Poor circulation, especially in the lower extremities, is a symptom of diabetes. In some cases, diabetics can develop venous insufficiency, which can lead to swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet.

Compression therapy using compression garments and legwear, such as compression socks, compression stockings, and foot wraps, is a viable treatment option for many diabetics with poor circulation. While it’s true that diabetes may limit some of the things you want to do (you can’t binge eat or stay sedentary anymore without serious consequences), taking steps to minimize its effects and practicing health habits will allow you to continue living your life to the fullest.

Note that a high percentage of diabetic people are not even aware that they have the disease! So if you experience typical diabetes symptoms such as constant tiredness, increased hunger and thirst, loss of body mass, problems with concentration and troubles with sleeping, make sure that you check in with a doctor to be on the safe side. Many patients actually experience prediabetes. It is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but have not reached the diabetic threshold yet. Even if you are only diagnosed with prediabetes, consider following some of the tips above: prevention is always better than cure. If it is present the disease will be much easier to manage and you’ll likely get better results than conventional treatment in the long term! 

Diabetic or know someone who is, what ways have you found helpful to keep it under control and live a normal life? Let us know below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. (Why not check out our other healthy eating articles?) 

Matylda Buczkowska

Matylda Buczkowska is a nutrition student based in London who's passionate about everything connected with food! A keen cook and baker she spends endless hours pouring over cookbook recipes at book stores. She follows a vegan diet, is a keen kickboxing enthusiast and is planning to become a dietitian and teach others about healthy eating. Always on the move and ready for new challenges, she's also an amateur photographer, developing her food photography daily. She's a curious and cheerful girl and proud to be a science geek!

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