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Diabetes is a chronic illness that is gripping the world tightly and is growing at an alarmingly high rate. It is characterized by high blood sugar levels, also known as hyperglycemia.
This is why it is important to manage diabetes because this condition opens doors to even more issues and puts the person at risk for a lot of complications. However, diabetes is not the end of the world if you keep your health in check and follow the right diet and lifestyle.
Although it can be very annoying to keep a constant check on your blood sugar levels and cut down on a lot of food items, it is important to do these small things to keep your diabetes controlled and avoid further complications. (1)
Know Your Diabetes
The first thing to do is confirm what type of diabetes you have. (2)
1. Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder where your body destroys its own pancreatic cells, which are responsible for producing insulin.
It is not clear what can cause the body to do this, but it is said to be mainly genetic and occurs from a young age. This is why it’s known as young-onset diabetes.
Lifestyle factors do not play a major role here. Insulin injections are the only possible treatment.
2. Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is maturity or adult-onset diabetes that occurs later in life, when you’re an adult.
In this case, even if the body is producing insulin, it is not efficient or sufficient enough for lowering blood sugar levels. This means that, in type 2 diabetes, the insulin level decreases, whereas in type 1 diabetes, there is no production of insulin at all.
The condition can be due to lifestyle factors such as sedentary life, poor diet, or obesity.
3. Gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy because of hormones that block insulin. It is more commonly seen in women who have a family history of diabetes or are already prediabetic.
A majority of women, after pregnancy, can develop type 2 diabetes if they suffered gestational diabetes during pregnancy. While in other cases, the women no longer suffer from diabetes once the child is delivered.
Ways to Take Care of Diabetic People at Home
Here are some things you can do to keep your condition under control.
1. Monitor your blood sugar
It is very important for a diabetic to keep a check on their blood sugar levels. You should monitor it daily very closely.
Monitoring your glucose levels will help you know what important changes or interventions you need to make to control your condition. This will help you reduce the risk of complications that arise from diabetes.
There are various times in a day you can get their blood glucose levels checked. One can be fasting levels that are checked before eating anything, on an empty stomach, in the morning. Another good time to check your sugar reading is 2 hours after a meal, known as postprandial blood sugar levels. (3)
The limits for both fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels are different. According to American Diabetes Association, your fasting sugar levels should be less than 100 mg/dl and your post meal blood sugar levels should ideally be less than 140 mg/dl. (4)
You can either check your blood sugar every day by yourself using the handy glucometers that are available very easily now or take help from family and friends in case you’re not comfortable doing this on your own.
How to use a glucometer to check blood sugar levels?
- Open your glucose monitoring kit and take out the needle that comes with it.
- Load the needle in your pen, which you can then use to prick your finger.
- Make sure you have inserted a new test strip in the glucometer device before you draw fresh blood after pricking the finger.
- Gently squeeze your finger for a drop of blood to fall onto the test strip. In just a few seconds you’ll have your blood glucose readings.
- Compare your readings with the standard limits, and check with the doctor if it’s alarmingly or suddenly too low or too high. (5)
2. Food may help to manage diabetes
If you’re diabetic, your diet should be very healthy. Right food choices are the key to managing diabetes.
Choose foods that are low in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt. Look for foods that are rich in fiber, which can include: (6)
- Whole-grain cereals
- Whole-wheat bread
- Lentil or whole-grain pasta
Other good food choices for diabetics are:
- Low-fat cheese
- Skimmed milk
- Water over soda and sugary drinks
- No alcoholic drinks
3. Go on walks
Exercising regularly is a must for any person, but those who suffer from diabetes should make sure they perform physical activity daily.
Walking daily will make your body to be more sensitive toward insulin. This means that your cells will have an increased uptake of sugar from the blood, which they’ll use to produce energy or store. This causes a dip in blood glucose levels, keeping them well maintained.
Exercising will also cause a surge in energy requirements; hence, more glucose will be absorbed by your muscles for energy conversion.
Out of all possible exercise options, walking is the best. Walking is a form of aerobic activity that diabetes should do every day. Studies have shown that walking after meals has positive impacts on lowering postprandial glucose levels. (7)
4. Include coconut oil in your diet
Extra virgin coconut oil is something that should be on the kitchen shelves of a diabetic person all the time. Coconut oil has been linked to controlling diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels. It improves the secretion of insulin in your body.
Coconut oil is also a good prophylactic as it will reduce your risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes. This is because coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids that prevent obesity and help overcome insulin resistance. (8)
Note: Make sure to consume only a little coconut oil in your daily diet – 2 tablespoons are good enough. Taking any more than this can increase the risk of heart problems.
5. Consume lemon water
Studies suggest that lemon, being a rich source of vitamin C, is a very good antioxidant that will fight free radicals. These free radicals cause cellular damage, making it very hard for you to maintain good blood sugar levels and worsening diabetic complications. (9)
Lemon is also abundant in soluble fiber, which will further reduce your blood sugar levels and help fight other health issues such as hypertension and high cholesterol levels.
How to have lemon water for diabetes?
- Cut a lemon and squeeze half of it into a glass of lukewarm water.
- You can add very little honey for taste and other benefits that honey may provide.
- Drink it every morning on an empty stomach.
6. Drink cinnamon tea
Cinnamon tea has been proven to be good for diabetics. Cinnamon promotes the proper metabolism of glucose in the body; it will also make your body respond better to insulin which will further control your blood sugar levels.
There have been studies that show consuming cinnamon every day reduces triglyceride and bad cholesterol levels in the body. So, including cinnamon in your diabetic diet will also cut your chances of complications that may arise from diabetes. (10)
How to make cinnamon tea for diabetes?
- Add a cinnamon stick to water and steep it for 10 minutes to make cinnamon tea.
- You can add very little honey for taste.
- Drink this tea while it’s warm every day.
Additional Tips for Diabetes Management
- Get in touch with your doctor to help you manage diabetes and other important vitals such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Make sure your HbA1C levels (a measure of blood glucose in the hemoglobin that gives a long-term picture of blood sugar levels) are well managed. This will help prevent future complications such as heart issues. (11)
- Stress is known to cause hypertension. So, do your best to de-stress as diabetes can increase the chances of heart issues and increased blood pressure. Try to meditate, journal, walk, do a hobby, exercise, or listen to music to relax. (12)
- Make sure that you’re taking your medicine on time. Do not change the dose or cut off medications without talking to a medical professional even if you feel better. If you experience any side effects, share them with your doctor immediately. (13)
- Check your body for cuts, blisters, spots, or swelling. If you see any, get medical assistance immediately. (14)
- Diabetes can make you prone to oral issues, so maintain good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth regularly to keep your gums and mouth clean. (15)
- Quit smoking as soon as possible. Smoking only worsens the conditions associated with diabetes. (16)
- Remain physically active and strengthen your muscles. You can do so by doing yoga or by using stretch bands every day. Push-ups are also a good way to train your muscles. (17)
- Maintain a healthy weight by following a good lifestyle and the right diet. (18)
ALSO READ: 18 Best Diabetes Blogs to Help Manage Diabetes
Most-Asked Questions About Diabetes
Why is oil pulling good for diabetics?
Diabetes can cause oral health issues, which can include: (15)
- Gingival hyperplasia
- Dental decay
- Bad breath
- Dry mouth
These dental problems can bug diabetics a lot, which is why oil pulling can be helpful for them. Oil pulling is good for overall health and wellness while providing good oral hygiene.
How to perform oil pulling if I have diabetes?
- Put 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around your oral cavity for around 15 minutes.
- Do not take it in; instead, spit it out.
- Brush your teeth like you usually do every morning.
- Do not gargle or swallow it. (19)
Is bitter gourd juice helpful for diabetes?
Drinking a glass of bitter gourd juice every day has been proven to be effective for controlling blood sugar levels in diabetes. This is because bitter gourd is rich in polypeptide-p and Vicente, which are known for their antidiabetic properties.
Drinking half a cup of bitter gourd juice daily is good enough for those who suffer from diabetes. (20)
Does taking garlic daily help with diabetes?
Garlic is a great ingredient to have in your diet. It is not only good for your heart, but studies have shown it may be helpful in reducing blood sugar levels. Garlic can also be beneficial in controlling and managing complications that arise if you have type 2 diabetes. (21)
Diabetes is becoming more and more common nowadays. It not only affects the elderly, but youngsters can also suffer from this chronic illness. The problems stem from a poor lifestyle and a bad diet.
So, the key to dealing with diabetes is to ensure healthy changes in your daily routine to manage your blood sugar levels.
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