Managing Blood Sugar
Managing blood sugar levels can be difficult if you insist on eating your favorite foods. While lean meats, fresh produce and whole-grain breads aren’t likely to have as much impact on blood glucose levels, some of life’s sweeter treats can cause your blood sugar to skyrocket. Unfortunately, this is often a slipping point for people with diabetes who have long-term treatment plans. However, new medications and other lifestyle choices allow people with blood sugar issues to continue enjoying their favorite dishes. That’s right - no food is off limits! Read more about these treatment options for managing blood sugar levels that can help you maintain a flavorful diet.
The first thing to consider when talking to your doctor about treating high blood sugar levels is that discipline is everything. People with diabetes must get in the habit of monitoring their blood glucose levels regularly, and keeping a journal of meals, snacks and blood sugar levels can help people understand points in their diets when glucose levels get out of hand. In addition to monitoring, people must also be disciplined with their food portion sizes. People who’ve lived years with diabetes can still eat cake, ice cream and other sugary sweets, but it’s all about controlling blood sugar levels and enjoying sugary treats in moderation. No foods are completely off limits for people who are careful about managing their blood sugar levels.
Dieting is the key to regulating blood sugar. The best foods for people with diabetes and high blood sugar are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. Healthy fats are important to include, but saturated fats and sugars found in fast food or processed foods should be avoided. Beans are great sources of protein, and fish such as salmon and tuna are also good protein sources that also include omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts such as almonds provide protein while reducing high cholesterol, which is important because high blood sugar over time can increase the risk of heart disease. People with high blood sugar issues generally shouldn’t load up on fruits, but occasional berries contain cancer-fighting antioxidants that are good for overall health. Fresh produce such as kale, lettuce and broccoli are great for providing fiber, iron and other nutrients, and whole grain products also contain good fiber while providing the body with energy.
The next most important aspect of most people’s treatment is the use of insulin. The body naturally produces insulin to break down sugar in the bloodstream. However, diabetes can cause the pancreas to stop producing insulin, or it causes the body to become resistant to insulin. When the issue is one of insulin production - as is the case with most patients - then insulin injections administered at different times of day can help most people maintain normal, healthy blood sugar levels. Insulin is most effective in people who exercise regularly and are careful with their diets.
Medications are also essential in helping some people with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels. Sulfonylureas are inexpensive medications that help the pancreas produce more insulin, and biguanides work by reducing the amount of glucose the liver releases into the bloodstream. Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors slow the absorption of glucose into the digestive tract, and thiazolidinediones increase the amount of blood sugar that gets absorbed by muscle and fat cells. There are several other medications, many of which combine several of the aforementioned methods of reducing blood glucose levels. Although many people with diabetes never need medication, these drugs are helpful for people who can’t control their blood sugar through insulin alone.