In the last 30 years, the number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes has more than tripled, from 5.6 million to 18.8 million. The good news is that you may be able to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes if you eat a healthy diet, stay active and manage your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
If you already have the disease, those very same things can keep you healthy. Unmanaged diabetes can lead to serious complications like glaucoma, neuropathy, hearing loss, peripheral arterial disease, kidney failure and stroke.
|Jenny explains how small changes in your diet can make a big difference in your overall health.|
Beaufort Memorial’s Diabetes Educator Jenny Craft counsels patients on healthy eating. “Change is never easy so start small,” she says. “Take the stairs to your office instead of the elevator. Park at the far end of the lot and walk the extra steps. Every bit of movement helps. Your diet also will need some adjustments. Cut out sugary drinks like sodas and sweet tea. Try to eat leaner meats and more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.”
You don’t have to give up all the foods you like—just moderate your portions. Don’t skip a meal. If you’re hungry, you’re likely to eat more. “It’s best to have a snack—a piece of fruit, low-fat yogurt or nuts—every four hours” Craft says. “And drink plenty of water during the day. Read food labels to make sure you’re eating the appropriate serving size. We have biggie-sized our portions in America to the point where we’re eating enough for three people.”
Diabetes may not be curable, but it is controllable. If you make the effort to eat more nutritious foods and participate in some kind of physical activity each day, you’ll see a positive change in your health.