High blood sugar? 11 lifestyle changes to prevent or manage diabetes | Health - Hindustan Times
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High blood sugar? 11 lifestyle changes to prevent or manage diabetes

By, New Delhi
Jun 14, 2023 11:34 AM IST

Diabetes can be managed well with suitable lifestyle changes. Here are all the healthy habits people with diabetes should adopt to avoid complications.

Diabetes and other non-communicable diseases have seen a dramatic increase in the recent past. A new study conducted by ICMR which was published in international journal Lancet found out that the number of people living with diabetes have touched a concerning 101 million mark which means 11.4% of India's population is struggling with the disease. Eating a diabetes-friendly diet which includes lots of green vegetables, fruits, proteins, and avoiding sugary and high-glycaemic index foods can help curb the risk of getting the metabolic disorder or manage diabetes if one of already suffering from it. (Also read: Diabetes: 7 high-fibre foods that can prevent blood sugar spikes)

A fasting blood sugar level of 126 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes and you must manage this disease well with appropriate lifestyle changes from diet to physical activity.(Freepik)
A fasting blood sugar level of 126 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes and you must manage this disease well with appropriate lifestyle changes from diet to physical activity.(Freepik)

How to know if you have diabetes

- A fasting blood sugar level of 99 mg/dL or lower is normal and this means you are in a safe zone and do not have diabetes

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-A fasting blood sugar levels of 100 to 125 mg/dL indicates you have prediabetes, which means that you may develop diabetes in coming years and need urgent lifestyle changes.

- A fasting blood sugar level of 126 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes and you must manage this disease well with appropriate lifestyle changes from diet to physical activity.

Lifestyle changes for people with diabetes

Dr V. Mohan - Chairman and Chief Diabetologist of Dr. Mohan's Diabetes Specialities Centre shares lifestyle modifications of those struggling with the metabolic disorder:

1. HEALTHY DIET

A mix of fruits, green vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes and beans is a good choice for people with diabetes(Photo: iStock)
A mix of fruits, green vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes and beans is a good choice for people with diabetes(Photo: iStock)

The first important lifestyle change that people with diabetes must make is their diet. They must fill their plates with low GI foods while keeping at bay foods that can raise their blood sugar levels. Dr Mohan says following a healthy diet with plenty of green leafy vegetables and some fruits can do the trick.

2. REDUCE CARBS

While carbs are an important part of a balanced diet, one must be careful about the quantity and type of carbohydrates they are consuming. Complex carbs like quinoa, whole grains, brown rice, oats must be included in the diet by diabetes while skipping simple carbs like breakfast cereal, baked goods, fruit juices etc. Consuming simple carbs can cause blood sugar spikes and eating them more and doing less physical activity can result in hyperglycaemia. Reduce the amount of carbohydrates in the diet, whether it is rice or wheat or other forms of carbohydrates.

3. SAY NO TO HIGH GI FOODS

High GI foods are those that raise your blood sugar levels quickly(Shutterstock)
High GI foods are those that raise your blood sugar levels quickly(Shutterstock)

As you must be aware that glycaemic index (GI) is a rating system for foods with carbs. High GI foods are those that raise your blood sugar levels quickly while those ranked low in GI are the ones that help stabilise your blood sugar level. While bread, potato, white rice, cookies are high GI and must be eliminated from the diet for diabetes.

4. EAT PROTEIN

Protein takes longer to digest, which means absorption of glucose in the bloodstream is also slow. This ensures that you are able to avoid blood sugar spikes if you have diabetes. Increase the protein content of the diet preferably from vegetable protein like Bengal gram, green gram, black gram, rajma, mushroom and other pulses and lentils.

5. HEALTHY FATS

Use Healthy Fats: When cooking, it is important to use healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil. (Pexels)
Use Healthy Fats: When cooking, it is important to use healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil. (Pexels)

Diabetes should not avoid all fats. They should find out sources of healthy fats for themselves and consume them regularly to stabilise blood sugar levels. Vegetable oil, ghee, nuts, seeds are all sources of healthy fats. Add healthy fats, mono unsaturated fats and poly unsaturated fats and cut down on saturated fats, avoid trans fats. Examples of mono unsaturated fats are nuts, fish, groundnut oil, gingelly oil, mustard oil, olive oil, corn oil etc

6. STAY AWAY FROM PROCESSED FOODS

Our markets and homes are full of ultra-processed foods with huge amount of hidden sugar, fat and calories. One who regularly consumes packaged products is at risk of blood sugar spikes and taking in more calories than required.

Avoid ultra-processed foods as they are usually high in sugar, fat and calories besides being deficient in essential nutrients.

7. EXERCISE

Brisk walking, jogging, stationary cycling and treadmill are some of the most commonly undertaken physical activities.(Pixabay)
Brisk walking, jogging, stationary cycling and treadmill are some of the most commonly undertaken physical activities.(Pixabay)

Walking, jogging, cycling and other such physical activities can keep you healthy and your blood sugar in control. One must develop an exercise routine and walk at least 7000 steps per day. However, more than 10,000 steps would be ideal.

8. BEAT STRESS

Increased stress levels can play havoc with your blood sugar levels. Apart from good diet, exercise routine, one should also take out time for Yoga, meditation and other relaxation activities that can reduce stress and tension from the body.

9. YOGA

People with diabetes should include Yoga in their routine.(Unsplash)
People with diabetes should include Yoga in their routine.(Unsplash)

Yoga is good not only physically but also helps to achieve mental balance and prevents diabetes and other conditions.

10. REGULAR CHECK-UP

Go for regular check-ups with your doctor. Diagnosing early stages of the pre-diabetes will help to reverse the condition and prevent progressing to fully-grown diabetes.

11. REDUCE WEIGHT

If overweight or obese, try to reduce weight by diet, exercise and self-discipline.

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