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People with type 2 diabetes are faced with enormous challenges. Having diabetes sets you up for more serious health conditions, including diabetic heart disease (DHD). The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute defines DHD as heart disease that develops in people who have diabetes, which may include coronary heart disease and heart failure. Compared with people who don’t have diabetes, those who do:
While diabetes puts you at a greater risk, you can take control of the situation to protect yourself and your heart. Diabetes doesn’t need to control you. You can lower your risk of DHD by making lifestyle changes and taking prescribed medicines that can help you prevent or control many risk factors.
So what type of lifestyle changes really make a difference?
Eating healthy is key.
A diet that is balanced in carbohydrates and lean protein, high in fiber, and low in saturated fat from animals encourages healthy weight management and normal blood glucose levels. The higher a person’s blood sugar level is, the higher the risk for diabetic heart disease. Small healthy changes over a long period of time can lead to large improvements in your health.
Gradually work towards a more nutritious and balanced diet by making one healthy change today. Start by having a protein-fortified smoothie that includes fruits and vegetables every day as a way to increase your fiber, vitamins, and minerals intake. It’ll also help decrease your appetite for empty calories that sabotage a healthy meal plan. If you’ve been skipping meals, drink these smoothies to help make up for the nutrients that you’re missing out on. Sneak in some freshly ground flaxseeds and other nutrient-dense superfoods for additional health benefits. Choose from the hundreds of NutriBlast smoothie recipes and make it your own! Look for recipes that have 45g or less of carbohydrates.
On top of drinking smoothies daily, start adding more vegetables onto your plates. Vegetables should be the star of your meal, with protein being a side portion to enhance them. Have 2 to 4 servings of vegetables for each meal. Even without a starch or a dairy, your body will still have all the nutrients it needs from the vegetables, protein, and fruit. A plate with only meat and starch lacks a tremendous number of vitamins, minerals, fibers, enzymes, antioxidants, and many more.
Missing essential nutrients is detrimental to your health, especially when your body relies on so many vitamins and minerals to keep diseases at bay. There are countless ways to add more fiber into your diet, from the thousands of recipes by the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association to the hundreds of recipes right here on NutriLiving. Eating a balanced diet that is high in fiber and low in saturated animal fat, combined with regular exercise and other healthy habits, can help you better manage your blood sugar levels. And when you have better control over your blood sugar levels, diabetes will have less control over your life.
Jeannene Davis graduated from The University of Texas Houston Health Science Center with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition & Dietetics and followed the degree with a Certification in Adult Weight Management and Diabetes Education. She provides in-house support to physician offices and large scale support to corporations and small businesses to ensure their employees have the most current information about nutrition and wellness.
She's worked in hospitals, outpatient radiation clinics, gene therapy centers, and even insurance companies, focusing on health and wellness, diabetes, and herb and supplement education, as well as renal nutrition support to pre-dialysis, dialysis, and renal transplant patients for a variety of companies since 1993.