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Diet and exercises for diabetics: Your ultimate guide

Diet and exercise are essential components of a healthy lifestyle, especially for people with diabetes. A healthy diet and exercise have numerous health benefits, like controlling blood glucose levels and ensuring that they are within the target range. To keep the blood glucose levels in control, one must consistently eat a well-balanced diet and exercise regularly.

“People with diabetes often find it challenging to exercise regularly and to consume a diabetic-friendly diet. Still, by making small changes in the diet and including physical activity, one can manage their blood sugar levels. By eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, people with diabetes can see a positive change in their blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels too,” said Dr Santosh B, MBBS, MD General Medicine, DNB Endocrinology, Bangalore Baptist Hospital, Bengaluru

What foods can people with diabetes eat?

A healthy diet consists of food from all food groups in moderate amounts. People with diabetes can include the following food groups in their diet:
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Vegetable: Broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes
Fruits: Oranges, melon, berries, apples, and papaya
Grains: Whole grains, like wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, and quinoa.
Protein: Chicken, fish, lean meat, nuts and peanuts, eggs, beans, dried beans like chickpeas, and tofu.
Non-fat dairy products: Oats milk, Almond milk, yogurt, low-fat milk, and cheese.

What food and drinks should people with diabetes avoid?

“People with diabetes should limit their consumption of fried foods, food rich in trans fat or saturated fats, and salts like pickles, papad, or excessive sugar like candies, baked goodies, or ice cream. Besides these foods, people with diabetes should avoid consuming drinks that have high sugar content,” Dr Santosh added.

Why is exercise necessary for people with diabetes?

Exercise plays a crucial role in the prevention and management of diabetes. Exercise also prevents depression. People with diabetes must walk at least for about 30 minutes every day and consistently do moderate-intensity exercise. Alternately people with diabetes can also include some yoga exercises in their exercise regime, he said as he quoted the study ‘The Role of Exercise in Diabetes’.

How can people with diabetes be physically active safely?

While it is essential for people with diabetes to stay physically active, here are few tips to ensure that you stay safe while indulging in physical activity:

*Keep yourself well-hydrated
*Protect yourself from developing hypoglycemia as physical activity lowers blood glucose levels. Avoid indulging in long, intense workouts as it may cause hypoglycemia.
*Wear comfortable and supportive shoes while exercising to prevent developing any diabetic foot-related complications.

“By eating healthy and exercising regularly, people with diabetes can improve their insulin sensitivity and glycemic control and reduce their dependence on medicines or insulin injection. Regular moderate-intensity exercise is recommended for people with diabetes, along with a healthy diet,” he concluded.

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