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Diabetes: What is a healthy diet?

The U. S. News and World Reports recently released the “best diet” rankings for 2018. This year, the Mediterranean diet tied with the DASH diet (dietary approaches to stop hypertension), for first place. More importantly, the Mediterranean diet ranked #1 for diabetic diet options. According to the report, people living in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and suffer less than their American counterparts with respect to cancer and cardiovascular ailments.

An active lifestyle, weight control, and a diet that is low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat, and high in produce, nuts and other healthier food options may bring many benefits to persons with diabetes. Please take note that this “diet’ is more so a way of eating, so you will still probably need to calculate your specific intake of calories or other diet parameters (such as sodium, cholesterol).

The basis of the diet involves whole grains, fruits and vegetables, beans, and healthy fats. Fish is encouraged at least twice a week and dairy foods (yogurt, cheese) are also encouraged in moderate portions. Red meats and sugary sweets (food and drinks) are rarely eaten. There are many similarities between this dietary lifestyle and those used to treat prediabetes/diabetes. Collaboration with your healthcare team, especially your dietitian/nutritionist will help ensure your daily intake meets all the recommended nutrients for optimal health and well-being.

On a related note, March 27, 2018 is American Diabetes Alert Day. It is a day dedicated to exploring the high rates of type 2 diabetes. There is a quick online questionnaire for people to fill out to assess their risk for diabetes. It is estimated that 9 out of 10 Americans most at risk for type 2 diabetes don’t know it, according to the American Diabetes Association. Check the link below, take the online questionnaire, and learn ways to reduce your risk of diabetes. Simple lifestyle changes in diet and activity levels can positively impact your overall health, reverse a prediabetic state of health and, prevent diabetic related complications. Knowledge is power, so take the online questionnaire (free of charge) and take control of your personal health. As of 2017, the CDC’s report, the National Diabetes Statistics Report, estimates over 30 million persons with diabetes. Don’t become an unnecessary statistic, when simple lifestyle changes are available.

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