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The more you know about good, basic nutrition, the more you follow the general guidelines for wholesome, well-balanced meals and snacks - the healthier you'll be. In fact, people living with diabetes often have better insights into a diet that provides well-being than people who don't have to be quite so vigilant about their nutritional needs. The American Diabetes Association - perhaps the most trusted resource for information about diabetes - points out that managing diabetes is a matter of carefully balancing diet, medication and exercise. If you manage all three, you should do well.

Listen to your body

You need to eat well

Listen to your body  

People report to us that diabetes has made them experts on their own sense of well-being. They're more attuned to what works to keep them feeling well and get very sensitive to what doesn't work for them.

  • Exercise: Aerobically. Regularly.
    Again, you don't need to go to extremes. A brisk walk everyday. Adding some stretching makes daily life go more comfortably. Just taking a few extra steps as part of your routine can keep your heart healthier. Good common sense: Don't overdo. Do what you can. Then add a little more.
  • Control your weight.
    Your blood sugar - and your knees - will thank you. Everyone benefits from maintaining a healthy weight for their height and age - diabetes makes that even more critical. But again, use moderation. Fit weight loss or weight control into a plan that includes the nutrition you need and foods you especially enjoy in the proper proportions.
  • Eat at regular times.
    Your body prefers a reliable meal schedule for a stable glucose balance.
  • Be sensible with your medication.
    Use it with care, in response to testing and your own awareness of your body's needs.

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You need to eat well  

Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, lean meats, fish, poultry, dried beans and nuts. These wholesome, appetizing, fiber-rich foods nurture your body and delight your taste buds. The good news is that, given what doctors today understand, having diabetes doesn't mean you can't enjoy your favorite treats. The secret, as you probably have guessed, is balance. Choose foods from the four main food groups - it's good to have some from each, every day. Just follow the proportional guidelines in the famous nutrition pyramid as much as you can.

  • You need them all:
    carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Every diet, every body depends on these nutritional elements to grow up, to grow healthy, to grow older with vitality.
  • Focus on fiber.
    No kidding. We are coming to understand that fiber is a major player in all kinds of health issues. Not the least - it's being advocated (25 - 30 grams a day) as a way to lower blood glucose and bad cholesterol. In any case the fiber foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, bran cereals, dried beans and peas and nutty-flavored wholegrain breads are the staples of good eating.
  • Cut out some salt.
    If you gradually use less, you'll find you don't miss it. Let the true flavor of the food show through.
  • Watch out for sugar.
    You know. There are many low-sugar, high-flavor choices. Pick them as much as you can.
  • Water. Water. Everywhere.
    Drink lots. Take it with you. It beats every other beverage for health and genuine hydration and refreshment for you body.
  • Fat is not all bad.
    Experts are finding that fat is an important factor in whether or not you feel full and stay satisfied longer after a meal. The key is amounts.
  • A tip - not a rule.
    At the supermarket, try to limit foods that come wrapped in cellophane. Think about it. Chips, snacks, cookies, convenience foods are often high in calories, saturated fats, preservatives - and they're often more expensive, too. Choose fresh whenever you can.
  • Read the labels.
    Nutritional facts and figures are surprising sometimes. You may find that some foods you like a lot may have hundreds of calories less than foods you don't care that much about. And, in any case, managing a healthy diet means being aware of and responsible for what you eat every day.

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