Controlling diabetes is closely linked to diet and lifestyle.
- Smart food choices help keep blood sugar, weight, and cholesterol in better control. Focus on eating a variety of healthy foods each day, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and protein foods. Limit the amount of highly processed foods you eat.
- The amounts of fat, carbohydrate (fruits, vegetables, breads and grains) and protein (meat, fish, milk, nuts) you eat depend on your calorie needs and goals for weight control. A healthy diet usually includes eating plenty of vegetables and fruit (about half of your plate), protein foods, and whole grain foods.
- Always read the labels to help guide your choices. Prepare meals and snacks containing little-to-no added sugar, salt, or saturated fat. Try to read the fine print!
- Just one alcoholic beverage on an empty stomach can lower your blood sugar drastically. Sip drinks slowly and always drink alcohol with some carbohydrate containing foods in your stomach. Limit yourself to no more that 2 standard drinks a day for women and 3 standard drinks a day for men. Be careful when consuming liqueurs, coolers, and certain mixes which have high sugar content.
- Enjoy sweets in moderation: People with diabetes don't have to avoid sugar all together. You can still enjoy a cookie, a piece of cake, or chocolate every now and then. Talk to your health care professional about how to safely incorporate sweets into your diet.
- Exercise usually lowers blood sugar. It can improve your blood sugar control and improve your health and energy.
- Ask your doctor about the right kind of exercise for you. Get a check-up if you're starting out, and avoid overdoing it. Gradually increasing your levels of physical activity helps prevent injuries while maintaining your enthusiasm to continue exercising.
- Check blood sugar levels before and after you exercise. This helps avoid low blood sugar. Monitoring your blood sugar can help determine how different types of activities affect sugar levels.
- Try walking, swimming, and light weight-lifting exercises for physical activity.
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