My Healthcare Authority

Diabetes: Diet

Along with medical treatment, an individual with diabetes must spend a lot of time focusing on their diet and monitoring their food consumption. This should not be viewed as a burden, but rather a great opportunity to increase your general health!

A healthy diet and exercise can certainly help you better manage your diabetes. Just because you have diabetes does not mean that you need to feel deprived of great tasting food, however. While it's important to avoid starchy foods, there are still plenty of delicious options.

Many of the 'superfoods' that we commonly hear about, and most North American diets lack, are precisely what you want to focus your diet around. Substitute sweet potatoes for normal potatoes and you'll decrease your unhealthy starch intake and increase your consumption of vitamin A and fiber.

The following table shows a few of the very important nutrients you require and an example of where to get them:

Nutrient Food
Fiber & Magnesium Oatmeal
Calcium Yogurt
Potassium Pearled Barley
Vitamin C Oranges & grapefruit
Vitamins A & E Tomatoes

While it is important for everyone to have a well-rounded diet containing whole grains, healthy fats and plenty of fruits and vegetables -- it is doubly important for diabetic patients.

You should also aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day. This does not need to be a burden. Choose something you naturally enjoy! Walk through a local preserve, head to the beach and take a stroll, go for a swim or sign up for a yoga class. All exercise helps!

Ask your doctor for advice prior to starting an exercise routine and keep in mind that physical activity lowers blood glucose levels.

Some individuals with Type 2 can maintain their blood sugar levels with diet and exercise alone and do not even require medication!