Take Control of Your Diabetes

Four easy ways to be well and feel your best

mom checking daughters blood glucose

When you first get a diagnosis of diabetes, it may feel like you’ve lost control of your health. But there are four easy ways to stay in the driver’s seat with diabetes. Here’s how:

Eat healthy foods
Feed your body the nutrients and fiber it needs to keep your blood sugar levels where they should be. Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, peppers, turnips, and cauliflower. Choose lean proteins, and eat seafood twice a week. You need healthy fats, too, like those found in olive oil, salmon, nuts, and avocados. Complex carbs such as whole-grain bread provide fiber, which steadies blood sugar. Each person has different needs, but aim for 45 to 60 grams of carbs at each meal. Healthy eating also helps maintain a healthy weight.

Be as active as you can
Daily physical activity can lead to weight loss and improve how your body handles insulin. Things like walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, and biking can also help you manage stress levels and sleep better. Cleaning the house, playing with your kids, and doing yard work also count. Since exercise can lower your blood sugar levels for up to 24 hours, be sure to test yourself before and after activity. Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Take your medicine
Most people with diabetes are prescribed insulin or oral medication to manage blood sugar. If your physician prescribes one of these medications, follow the instructions you’re given. Also, update your doctor on any new medications you take. According to the American Association of Diabetes Educators, some over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and natural remedies can interfere with prescribed medicines.

Test your blood sugar
Checking your blood sugar every day is key to staying in control. By tracking your test results on paper or with a smartphone app, you may notice patterns in how certain foods and activities affect your blood sugar levels. Take note of things such as stress, a cold, or weight loss, all which can affect blood sugar. If you notice your numbers are off for a few days in a row, check with your doctor.