How to keep your type 2 diabetes under control
With type 2 diabetes, the body isn’t able to produce enough insulin to process blood sugar. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include frequent urination, increased thirst, hunger, fatigue and more. If you’ve just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it can be overwhelming to find the best ways to keep it under control.
While it may be a challenge in the beginning, you’ll soon start to feel better and have more energy. Before you know it, the tips below will end up becoming part of your lifestyle. By keeping your type 2 diabetes at bay, you’ll also reduce the risk of problems such as heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and more.
Here, we’ve listed some tips on helping to keep your type 2 diabetes under control.
Do a spot check on your blood sugar levels
While you should be having a set schedule with your doctor as to when to test your blood sugar levels, there’s no harm adding an additional check on top of that. After you’ve had one of your meals (either breakfast, lunch or dinner), just go ahead and check your blood sugar levels.
By spot checking on your blood sugar levels, you’ll have a better sense of how your levels are doing and will be more aware of what you’re eating. While spot checking is helpful, make sure you’re not obsessively checking your blood sugar levels either.
Make changes to your diet
An important aspect of maintaining your blood sugar levels is to be aware of your diet. You should avoid consuming processed foods as they have a tendency to have a larger amount of sugar. Instead, focus on consuming lower glycaemic index foods especially non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, brown rice, and leafy greens. While fruits do have sugar in them, you can consume those with low GI such as berries, apples, and pears.
It can be difficult to make a complete switch in the beginning. Start off by reducing the portions of starchy or unhealthy foods before transitioning to fresh fruits and vegetables. Try to also avoid fast food as they’re relatively processed and contains trans fats, refined carbohydrates, and a high amount of sodium. Instead, try to pack your meals and snacks ahead of time so that it’s just a grab and go affair. Having small snacks during the course of the day will also help to regulate your blood sugar levels. Some snacks that you can have on the go include a piece of fruit, a handful of almonds, and yogurt.
Below is a sample list of some delicious foods that you can incorporate into your diet.
Non-starchy vegetables such as:
- Asparagus, broccoli, carrot, cucumber, salad greens, squash and tomatoes
Fruits such as:
- Berries and citrus fruits
Whole grains such as:
- Brown rice, bulgur, millet, quinoa, steel cut oatmeal, and whole wheat
Others such as:
- Beans, lean meat, low-fat or non-fat dairy products, nuts, fish, sweet potatoes, and tofu
Develop an exercise regime that works for you
Shedding some pounds can help with improving your blood sugar levels, and keeping your type 2 diabetes under control. Just losing about 4-5kg can already make a significant impact on your glucose levels. If you have a tendency to carry fat around your belly, you’d also be more prone to type 2 diabetes than those that carry it around the thigh, hip, and buttocks area. Partaking in some exercise activities such as brisk walking and aerobics can help with reducing belly fat.
Doing physical activity also helps with keeping type 2 diabetes under control as the muscle contractions from walking can help push glucose out of the blood into your cells. High-intensity interval training, also known as (HIIT) is also beneficial as it alternates between short bursts of increased intensity exercise and rest.
While cardio is an integral part of an exercise regime, remember to also add in regular weightlifting sessions to keep blood sugar levels steady. You should aim to at least do some form of physical activity – such as brisk walking, for at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week.
Manage your stress levels
While managing your diet and having an exercise routine is important, it’s also important to control your stress levels. Having poorly maintained stress levels can result in blood sugar levels being harder to control. It’s important to incorporate some relaxation time for yourself, which can include yoga, meditation, massage, and more.
Relieving stress would also help you to sleep better at night, which is great at managing type 2 diabetes. Not getting enough sleep, on the other hand, could have a negative effect. To reduce stress and sleep better at night, try to relax and practice mindfulness or meditation before bed. Maintain your room at a comfortable temperature, block out any light or noise, and try to go to bed at the same time to establish a regular sleeping schedule. Try to also avoid consuming spicy foods or caffeine before bedtime.
Quit Smoking and reduce your alcohol intake
Smoking can lead to serious health complications, and the risk is higher for those with type 2 diabetes. Some problems include heart disease, kidney disease, and an eye disease called Retinopathy that causes blindness. It’s recommended that you kick the habit of smoking to better control your blood glucose levels.
Similar to smoking, reducing alcohol consumption would greatly aid type 2 diabetes. Drinking alcohol can drop your blood sugar to dangerous levels as the liver has to remove the alcohol from your blood instead of focusing on the regulation of blood sugar. If you need to have a drink, try to limit it to no more than one a day. If you’re having a mixed drink, opt for no-calorie mixers instead.
Drink Water and Stay Hydrated
While it’s a relatively simple thing to do, most of us forget to drink enough water to stay hydrated. Drinking enough water will help to keep your blood sugar levels within healthy limits. Either than preventing dehydration, it’ll also help your kidneys to flush out any excess blood sugar.
Drinking water will help to rehydrate the blood, which in turn lowers blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of diabetes. Try to also stick with water and non-caloric beverages as sweetened drinks would end up raising glucose levels instead.
Bottom Line of controlling Type 2 Diabetes
Just implementing the strategies above will help to make a significant impact on your blood sugar levels, as well as in regulating type 2 diabetes. While it might take some time, it’s certainly beneficial to incorporate these strategies into your day-to-day life.