Smart diet critical for proper sugar levels
If you have followed my columns over the years, you may well know I am somewhat of a foodie.
Somewhat you ask? Well, indeed I love whole nutrient-dense food and, if given the opportunity, you know I’ll talk about food and its importance to continue on your life journey.
And then, there is the rise in a number of health-related issues occurring today that food can definitely play a role by improving symptoms and eradicating the diseases that may follow. One of these concerns is diabetes.
Over recent years, many have been diagnosed with “pre-diabetes” as the fasting blood sugar levels rise, giving concern toward full-blown diabetes in years to come.
So what are you to do? Schedule a consultation with a practitioner who not just looks at “numbers” in blood work but also looks toward the root cause of symptoms.
This practitioner will do a complete medical history, ask a variety of questions associated with the systems of the body, review past and present blood values, and delve into your food and lifestyle habits.
By eating whole nutrient-dense foods daily, you will be restoring your immune system and increasing your liver’s ability to cleanse and detoxify protecting cells and tissues.
Eating foods with just one ingredient is the best way to go. For example, broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable, is simply that — broccoli. And then there are carrots, kale, green beans, beets, sprouts, spinach, and celery to name a few — all one ingredient.
Put a number of those “one” ingredients together and you get a delicious meal. Aim to make one half of your plate vegetables in a meal or 8-to-10 servings daily.
Eating vegetables is only one piece of the puzzle to keep you healthy. Swapping out grains and sugar for high-quality sources of clean protein is essential. Fruit should be limited to 2 to 3 servings daily because of the amount of fructose contained in each.
Yes, fruit is excellent for anti-oxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals, but they also contain fructose.
The body is unable to differentiate sugar from a doughnut (pure sugar, flour, flavorings) compared to a banana (7.1 grams of fructose, plus potassium, magnesium, protein, iron, vitamin C and more). The body sees sugar as sugar. The remaining ingredients are added benefits.
Get off the couch
Another important factor in preventing diabetes and protecting your heart is to add in regular exercise. There are varied opinions on the amount of exercise you need, but you need to start somewhere.
If you haven’t exercised in quite a while, check with your health care provider to make sure all is good to go. A consultation with a personal trainer to determine your capabilities may be a good way to get you started.
There are so many ways to get exercise these days. Simply walking out the front door to take your children or dog for a walk burns calories, gets you moving, gives you fresh air and a dose of Vitamin D.
As you improve, add 5 minutes then 10 minutes and so on. Or search out classes of yoga, tai chi, sculpt and stretch, high and low intensity interval training, swimming, running groups, and group sports such as soccer and volleyball.
You don’t like to exercise you say? Experiment and try a variety of different activities. A reasonably priced way is through continuing education at local high schools. But, you need to start somewhere.
By combining nutrition with exercise, two key factors in preventing diabetes and heart disease, you can shed unwanted weight that in turn can reduce the risk of diabetes by nearly 60 percent.
A third factor is stress management. Keeping your emotions in check can be accomplished through meditation (a good app on your phone is “Simple Habit”), yoga, relaxation activities (reading a book, soaking in a bath tub with Epsom salts and therapeutic grade essential oils, taking a walk, talking with a friend, or using emotional freedom techniques.
Stress creates an acidic environment in the body that leads to imbalances causing medical issues such as pre-diabetes, diabetes, and heart disease. Taking care of your body should be your No. 1 job as this is the only place you have to live for your entire life.
“Body Balance Empowering Performance” which I authored contains more in-depth information and can be found at:
• Deborah Dittner is a family nurse practitioner and health consultant. Her mission is to transform as many individuals as possible through nutrition and lifestyle changes. For more information, check out her website at www.debdittner.com or contact her at 518-596-8565.