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Diabetes and Your Nutrition

Diabetes is a serious disease in which the body is unable to properly use and store glucose, a form of sugar. As a result, this sugar accumulates in the bloodstream and causes one’s blood sugar level to rise to unusually high levels. Dr. Lorena Castaneda of Optomedica Eye Consultants cautions, “Regulating your diabetes properly is essential to preventing diabetes related complications, including glaucoma, cataracts and an eye condition known as diabetic retinopathy. Without proper care, these conditions may ultimately lead to blindness. One of the most important ways to regulate your blood sugar and prevent complications is to adapt to a diabetes friendly nutritional lifestyle.” Below are some tips from health care experts to help you avoid diabetes related eye conditions:

Make A Plan

There is no magical “diabetes diet” out there. The nutritional needs of a person with diabetes are very similar to those for people without. The big difference is that a person with diabetes needs to be extra careful not only about what he eats, but also when and how much. If possible you should work with a registered dietitian to design a diabetes friendly meal plan to advise you about what kinds of food you should eat for snacks and meals and recommend proper timing and portion for these meals. In general diabetic friendly foods should have low levels of salt, cholesterol, and sugar. This will keep blood sugar and blood pressure down and keep your risk for complications low.

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

The fresh produce section of your local grocery store is one of the most important places for those seeking to reduce the chances of diabetes related problems. Dr. Castaneda explains, “Adding a healthy dose of fruits and vegetables to your diet can significantly lower your risk of diabetes related eye problems like glaucoma and cataracts. Your fruits and vegetables should always be fresh rather than canned or packaged because companies that package their foods often add sugars or syrups to make their product sweeter for consumers. This extra sugar or may spike your blood glucose level and possibly cause weight gain, which can increase your risk for complications significantly.”

Sugary foods are dessert, not a stand alone snack

Avoiding eating excessively sugary foods such as cookies, cakes and ice cream as stand alone snacks is a good way to keep your blood sugar down. These foods are heavy in sugars and absorb very quickly into the blood stream, causing your blood glucose level to rise rapidly. You can still have your cake and eat it to, though. You can enjoy a small piece of cake or scoop of ice cream, so long as it is part of a larger meal, which will allow the sweet foods to be absorbed over a longer period of time. This avoids the dangers of a quick rise and fall of glucose in your blood.

Have your healthy fats

You do need fatty foods as part of your diet, but only sparingly. Concentrating on omega-3 helps fulfill this need in a healthy way. Omega-3 fatty acids are a very important element for preventing complications linked to diabetes and have also been linked to a reduced risk of glaucoma and cataracts. Good sources for omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna, and flax seeds.

Get your exercise

An active lifestyle is essential for many reasons related to staying healthy with diabetes. Exercise relieves tension and helps take away stress, which keeps your blood pressure down. It also helps maintain a healthy weight and make your cells more receptive to glucose. Be sure to avoid any exercise which may cause you to strain, like weight lifting, and high impact exercise, like football, since these kinds of exercises may put strain on the blood vessels in your eyes and damage them.

These tips and others are essential parts of keeping yourself healthy and risk free when dealing with diabetes. For more tips and information about maintaining a healthy diabetic lifestyle, consult your health care professional today.

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