Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to regulate the amount of glucose in the blood. Glucose, or blood sugar, is an important energy source that is obtained from the food one eats; it helps the body to function effectively. It is essential for it to be in moderate levels. Higher or lower levels of glucose are considered to be unhealthy. When the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient insulin, it affects the regulation of glucose levels. A person is said to have diabetes if their body does not produce any or produces very little insulin and there is more or less glucose than necessary. If a person’s blood sugar or glucose level is around 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) in a blood test the first thing in the morning (before meals), they are said to have diabetes. There are two types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes: The body produces no insulin and hence one would need medication and insulin injections to regulate blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes: The body produces insulin; but it is either not sufficient to regulate blood sugar or the body becomes resistant to the insulin produced. The blood sugar, hence, does not enter the cells and gets converted to energy.
Diabetes can lead to complications such as chronic kidney failure, blindness, and amputation of extremities. People with diabetes are at risk for many other diseases and ailments. However, this condition can be very effectively managed with the help of a healthy diet, physical activities, medications, and insulin injections.
Eating healthy is important to manage diabetes
The awareness of what and how much one eats is key to control both types of diabetes. All that is needed is a strong will and dedication. Diabetes can be caused by other reasons as well but diet and lifestyle factors are some of the most common causes. Along with consuming diabetes-friendly foods, it is important to portion the meals as well.
Lower intake of carbohydrates: They are the biggest contributor to high blood sugar. Tracking the intake of carbs is very crucial so that one can calculate the dosage of medications or injections that they would need to take. Without this, a high dose of medication or insulin can cause more harm than good.
Balanced meals: Along with low amounts of carbs and starch, it is important to ensure that every meal has a combination of fruits, vegetables, and protein. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are low in carbohydrates and are a better option as they contain fiber as well. For protein requirements, one can increase the intake of fish and poultry over red meat.
Drinks: It is essential to check the labels of various drinks to know how much calories, sugar, salt, or fat one may inadvertently consume. Some of the best choices can include unflavored water or flavored sparkling water, unsweetened tea, light beer, small amounts of wine, or non-fruity mixed drinks, espresso coffee with added low-fat milk or sugar substitute. However, some of the bad choices for drinks may include sodas, fruity mixed drinks, dessert wines, sweetened tea, flavored coffees and chocolate drinks, and even energy drinks.
The role of a nutritionist is crucial here. They can help with the right things to eat and avoid so that the level of glucose remains at manageable levels. Although it may seem difficult, a healthy diet paves the way for a healthy body.