Empowering Choices: Navigating Diabetes Through Lifestyle, Mindful Eating & Supplements

  • Diabetes
  • diabetes - Lifestyle - supplements
  • January 5, 2024

A diabetes diagnosis can be difficult, but with the proper lifestyle, diet, and supplements, the disease can be well controlled.

Differentiating Diabetes Types

There are several types of diabetes, but most people primarily focus on two main forms: type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease that typically develops in childhood and involves the pancreas’s inability to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes (T2D) occurs when the body produces some insulin but the insulin is not effectively utilized. Another variant of diabetes is type 1.5, also known as latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA). People diagnosed with LADA usually require insulin treatment earlier than those with type 2 diabetes. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include being overweight, physical inactivity, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and gestational diabetes during pregnancy.


Using supplements

Supplements can play a supportive role in managing diabetes, but should not replace conventional treatment methods. Certain supplements have shown promise in helping to control blood sugar levels. For instance, chromium picolinate may enhance insulin sensitivity and improve glucose metabolism. Additionally, alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) has been found to reduce oxidative stress and potentially improve insulin resistance. Other supplements such as cinnamon, magnesium and vitamin D have also been studied for potential benefits in diabetes management. Consult with an endocrinologist before incorporating any supplements as many caninteract with medications. A holistic approach that combines supplements with lifestyle modifications and regular medical care is often the most effective way to manage some forms of diabetes.

Mindful eating

A diabetes-friendly diet should involve a healthy mixture of vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins, and nonfat or low-fat dairy. Foods with heart-healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, and oils, are also beneficial. People with type 2 diabetes should avoid or limit fried food and foods high in salt or added sugar. Consistent meals and healthy snacks should also be a focus to ensure blood sugar does not drop throughout the day. Focus on meals that promote a feeling of fullness for longer and drink lots of water.

Get moving

Another essential aspect of diabetes management is exercise. Sedentary people should start slow and incorporate just 5-10 minutes of added movement into the day. A quick walk around the neighborhood, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and chores around the house can all add up. Over time, people can aim for longer and more intense workouts. Dancing, swimming, biking, and strength training are all excellent exercises. Like the general population, people with diabetes should aim for the recommended 150 minutes of exercise every week.

What about supplements?

Many people can benefit from a daily multivitamin to meet recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for all vitamins and minerals. However, studies are lacking on whether higher doses of vitamins or herbal supplements can truly benefit people with diabetes. Some people may be inclined to try vitamins E, D, B12, and niacin. Herbs such as St John’s wort, bitter melon, and cinnamon may also help control blood sugar. Although getting vitamins from the diet is preferred, in some cases, a patient may benefit from taking a supplement. Before starting any new regimen, always talk to the healthcare provider about the risks, benefits, and potential medication interactions.

Healthier lifestyles

Making lifestyle changes is crucial for effective diabetes management. Firstly, adopting a nutritious and balanced diet is essential. Focus on consuming whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains while limiting processed and sugary foods. Regular physical activity is also vital to help control blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, managing stress levels, getting enough sleep, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption are essential for overall diabetes management. Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels and working closely with an endocrinologist are key components of successful diabetes management.

A diabetes-friendly regiment

Lifestyle changes such as a better diet and more exercise can help people with diabetes. A combined approach can lower blood sugar, blood pressure (BP), and cholesterol. Choosing healthy foods and getting daily movement can also help people maintain a healthy weight. Always discuss a diabetes management plan, which may include medication or supplements, with a healthcare provider.

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