Live Better With Diabetes – 10 Essential Steps

A diabetic woman testing her blood glucose level(BlackDoctor.org) — Diabetes success is measured by how well you can control your blood sugar. There are 3.2 million Blacks living with diabetes, and one of the major challenges they face is managing their disease with proper diet, regular exercise, and medication.

However, many factors can affect blood sugar besides diet and activity, and employing some simple steps and strategies in your everyday routine can help not only live a better life, but possibly avoid a trip to the emergency room.

Do a Quick Body Scan

As you dry off from your shower each day, inspect your body head to toe. Look for dry, red, or sore spots that could become infected. Don’t forget the places where moisture can hide and bacteria can grow. Check under your arms and breasts, and between your legs and toes. Pay special attention to your feet. Use a mirror to help you see all over and treat injuries quickly.

Make Insulin Work for Your Lifestyle

If your schedule is fast-paced and meal times are unpredictable, ask your doctor about rapid-acting or fast-acting insulin. It may be a convenient addition to your current therapy. These rapidly acting insulins can be taken just before eating and have an effect on your blood sugars within 30 minutes.

Power Up Your Diet

Print the American Diabetes Association’s list of 10 super foods. They have a low glycemic index, meaning they aren’t likely to cause a spike in blood sugar. They are also packed with important nutrients. Post the list on your refrigerator so it’s at the ready when you make your shopping list, plan meals, or look in the refrigerator for something to eat.

Take a 2-Minute Test

Put your glucose monitor on your nightstand to remind you to check blood sugar first thing in the morning and before bedtime, if your doctor advises. Target range before meals is between 90 and 130 mg/dL. Before bedtime, between 110 and 150 mg/dL.

Put Your Shoes by the Door

Take a minute to put a pair of slip-on shoes and socks near the door so you aren’t tempted to go outside barefoot. Make sure your slippers or house shoes are in a handy location too, so you’ll remember to wear them inside to avoid injury.

Prepare Emergency Snack Packs

Put a few glucose tablets or five or six pieces of hard candy into baggies. Always carry a few with you when you go out in case hypoglycemia — low blood sugar — strikes. It’s hypoglycemia when blood sugar drops below 70 milligrams mg/dL.  You may feel, dizzy, hungry, or shaky. Skipping a meal, taking too much diabetes medication, and exercising harder than usual without eating can trigger it.

Put a Tag on Your Gym Bag

Does your doctor recommend you check your glucose levels? Make a reminder for yourself. Checking before and after exercise can help you learn how it affects your levels and it may help you avoid dangerous drops in blood sugar levels.

Drink Some Water

High glucose causes your body to lose fluid, and your skin can get dry. It may get itchy or crack, and that can lead to infection. Drink plenty of water and other fluids to help your skin stay moisturized and healthy.

Remember Your Medical Alert Bracelet

Put your medical alert bracelet or pendant near your watch, rings, or other jewelry you wear every day. This may help you remember to wear it. Or keep it near your toothbrush or keys. In an emergency where you’re confused or unable to speak, it can save critical time by letting others know about your diabetes.

Exercise in Spurts

Exercising 30 minutes a day is an important part of managing your diabetes. But it can be difficult to fit into a busy lifestyle, so try breaking it up into three 10-minute spurts instead, if need be. Try 10 minutes of strength training in the morning. Play an active game with the family during the day or take a brisk stroll at lunchtime. Then, walk with the dog in the evening.

Diabetes complications can turn minor injury into a major problem. Take a few minutes to gather these supplies:

• hydrogen peroxide for cleaning wounds
• triple-antibiotic cream for dressing cuts and scrapes
• sterile gauze for covering wounds

If you have circulation problems or peripheral neuropathy, you may need to see a doctor or wound care center. Be sure to keep the phone number handy.

Remember that, if you have diabetes, you should talk to your doctor and get their advice about making lifestyle adjustments that are right for you.

The 5 Snacks You Should Eat Every Day

bran flakes cerealJust yesterday you complained to a colleague at work “I eat healthy, and I don’t snack between meals, so why can’t I lose any weight?” And more than likely, there’s at least one person in your office who eats all the time, and never seems to gain any weight.

But guess what? You may not be losing weight because you don’t snack. Not snacking is actually the wrong thing to do…as long as you do it right, that is.

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Why Is Snacking So Important?

Think about this – our bodies are evolved to graze; when food gets scarce, we start to retain fat as a way of protecting ourselves from famine…and that’s exactly what happens when you don’t snack between meals. Basically, your body doesn’t know where its next meal is coming from, so it’s afraid to shed the extra pounds. What’s worse is that, when you do finally allow yourself to eat a meal, you may end up eating more than you need to because you’re famished.

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That’s why snacking is so important: In fact, when Penn State researchers fed subjects just one humble apple before mealtime, the subjects consumed nearly 190 fewer calories.

But…exactly what should you be snacking on?

Yogurt

While many African Americans are lactose intolerant, quite a few have discovered that certain types of dairy, including yogurt, are a little more gentle to their digestive system. Yogurt is teeming with calcium, which promotes muscle growth; and probiotic bacteria, which bolsters your immune system. What’s more, study participants who ate yogurt daily lost 81 percent more belly fat than those who didn’t, according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity.  Want to make it even healthier? Add a few berries along with some nuts or seeds.

Best
Fage Total 2% Plain Greek Yogurt (7 oz container)
130 calories
4 g fat (3 g saturated)
17 g protein
8 g sugars

Worst
Dannon Fruit on the Bottom (6 oz container)
150 calories
1.5 g fat (1 g saturated)
6 g protein
26 g sugars

Almonds

Almonds are an excellent source of heart-healthy monosaturated fats, and, pound for pound, a better source of protein than eggs. That’s part of the reason why research published in the journal Obesity demonstrated that people who frequently eat nuts are less likely to gain weight. Just be sure to eat them whole: A study from the Journal of Nutrition found that the flavonoids in the skin combine with the vitamin E in the nut to double the antioxidant dose.

Almonds (1 oz)
163 calories
14 g fat (1 g saturated)
6 g protein
3.5 g fiber

Cereal

Some cereals, like the granola below, look healthy but actually have as much sugar as a candy bar. Kashi’s GoLean lives up to its healthy moniker. This bowl has twice as much fiber as an apple, three times as much protein as a large egg, and even with milk it manages to keep the calorie load below 200 per bowl.

Best
Kashi GoLean Original (1 cup with 1/2 cup of 1% milk, lactose-free milk or low-fat soy milk)
195 calories
2.5 g fat (.5 g saturated)
12 g sugars
17 g protein
10 g fiber

Worst
Kashi Summer Berry Granola (3/4 cup with 1/2 cup 1% milk)
385 calories
10.5 g fat (2 g saturated)
19.5 g sugars

Dip & Veggies

Hummus is composed primarily of chickpeas, which have been shown to help regulate blood sugar—probably due to their salutary balance of protein and fiber. Most of that fiber is insoluble, so it promotes colon health. One study even found that people who added chickpeas to their diet ended up taking in fewer total calories. Add to that a few baby carrots and you get the added benefit of vision-preserving, skin-soothing beta-carotene.

Best
Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (2 Tbsp with 10 baby carrots)
105 calories
6 g fat (1 g saturated)
200 mg sodium
2.5 g protein
4 g fiber

Worst
Lay’s Smooth Ranch Dip (2 tbsp) with Ruffles Loaded Chili & Cheese Potato Chips (1 oz)
220 calories
15 g fat (1 g saturated)
390 mg sodium

Crunchy Snacks

Spelt is a grain related to wheat that packs more fiber and protein—and at 6 calories per pretzel, the dietary bang for your buck is undeniable. Over-saltiness is always a concern with pretzels, but the sodium level in this snack is mild. Combine that with Newman’s Own’s longstanding support for charitable causes—and, in Nell Newman’s Organics company, a robust commitment to sustainable, organic farming—and you’ve got a product you’ll proudly pluck from the shelf. Pair these with a hunk of cheddar to rope even more protein into your snack break.

Best
Newman’s Own Organics Spelt Pretzels (20 pretzels)
120 calories
1 g fat (0 g saturated)
240 mg sodium
4 g protein
4 g fiber

Worst
Newman’s Own Organics Salted Rounds Pretzels (16 pretzels)
220 calories
2 g fat (0 g saturated)
800 mg sodium
4 g protein
0 g fiber

Always remember that the true keys to snacking right is to find snacks that are low in sugar and high in protein…and to make sure you’re not eating for the wrong reasons (i.e. bored, stressed, tired, etc.)

 

Visit the BlackDoctor.org Weight Loss center for more articles and tips.