American Diabetes Month

diabetes-veggiesNovember is American Diabetes Month, a time in which Americans are called to focus attention on the increasing prevalence of this disease, and how a healthy lifestyle can help. Making healthy food choices, incorporating various fruits and vegetables, as well as controlling portion sizes and reading food labels is essential in maintaining a proper body weight for preventing or managing diabetes. [1]

When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should, or both. This causes sugars to build up too high in your blood. [2] Lifestyle changes including managing your weight by eating healthy foods and increasing physical activity can reduce one’s risk for the progression of diabetes, and is also important for those living with the disease to control it. A healthy lifestyle and balanced diet can also help minimize the risk of heart disease and other illnesses.

As part of a healthy lifestyle, it is important to limit food and beverages high in calories and low in nutrients, including limiting foods high in fat and sodium. Individuals with prediabetes or diabetes have additional food considerations, especially limiting simple carbohydrates, which are found in foods like table sugar, cake, soda, candy, and jellies, which cause an increase in blood sugar. [1]

The American heart association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume, as added sugar contributes zero nutrients and many add calories that can lead to extra pounds. A balanced diet that can help prevent diabetes includes nutritious choices and substitutions such as fiber-rich whole grains in place of sweets and added sugars, fish and lean, skinless poultry instead of fatty meats like beef and pork, and of course a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to get all the nutrients your body needs! These healthy substitutions can help you cut down on saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, and sugar.

Visit the American Heart Association’s online Nutrition Center to find out how small changes in your diet can put you and your family on the road to healthier hearts and longer lives.

[1] Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes

[2] What is Diabetes and How Can I Manage It?

 

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