by Antonela Riva, Italian Nutritionist & Guest Blogger

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body cannot regulate the amount of glucose in the blood and this level gets too high.  Having too much “blood sugar” for long time can affect many important parts of your body and can lead to serious problems such blindness, foot and leg infections, kidney failure and increased chance to have heart attack and stroke. A diabetic should monitor their blood sugar, blood pressure, and check their feet for cuts and blisters daily. He/she should also brush and floss regularly and be sure to take medications as directed. 

Good news! You can control diabetes!

To successfully manage diabetes and keep the glucose in a safe range, you need to understand how food affects your body. 

The keys of a healthy eating plan are:

  • Eat balanced meals with a good source of carbohydrate, protein and fat.
  • Good carbohydrate choices include: whole grains, fruit, vegetable, legumes and low fat dairy products.
  • Eat less fat, choosing the good ones that you can find in avocado, almonds, walnuts, olives and coconut oil. 
  • Eat heart healthy fish such as tuna, cod, halibut, salmon, mackerel, sardine and blue fish.
  • Eat small meals and snack regularly (5-6 mini-meals/snacks).
  • Watch portions and manage your calorie intake to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Reduce intake of salt and salty foods to control blood pressure.
  • Bake, broil, grill and steam foods instead of frying.
  • Avoid foods high in sugar such as fruit flavored drinks, sodas, tea or coffee sweetened with sugar.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation or avoid all together.

If you have a family history of diabetes, you might be at risk and that risk increases if you are overweight, 45 years or older, fairly inactive or if you had diabetes when you were pregnant.  

According to the Diabetes Prevention Program study (DPP), diabetes is a preventable and controllable disease. The study suggests :

  • Lose 5-7% of weight if you are overweight or obese.
  • Maintain weight loss with healthy diet and get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five day a week.

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