Being diagnosed with something like diabetes can be scary, and if you’re already dealing with other chronic issues or diseases, it can be really overwhelming to know what to do and what to eat. It’s important to remember that diabetes often requires several different lifestyle changes like eating healthy and exercising, and it may also include medications. This helpful article offers a helpful guide for seniors with diabetes.
Why is it important to eat healthy with diabetes?
When you have diabetes, it means your body is not able to properly manage your blood sugar levels. When you eat certain foods, your blood sugar levels can rise more than they should, and if your blood sugar levels are not managed, you can experience health risks like a diabetic coma, kidney disease, eye disease, and heart attacks.
How does diabetes impact senior nutritional needs?
When you have diabetes, you need a diet of high-fiber carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats to help you maintain stable blood sugar levels and limit dangerous fluctuations. This means a diet made up of lots of fruits and vegetables, beans and lentils, whole-grain breads and pasta, nuts, lean protein (such as poultry, skinless fish, lean cuts of beef, tofu, eggs, etc.), and healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and seeds.
What foods should you avoid or limit with diabetes?
Unfortunately, there are things that are important to limit when you have diabetes. One of the most important things is sugar, whether that’s table sugar, sugary drinks, sweets, and even artificial sweeteners. Additionally, it’s a good idea to limit these foods as well:
- Refined carbs, which have been stripped of their fiber content and other key nutrients. These are things like white bread, and you can swap them for whole grains instead.
- High-fat dairy and animal products like bacon, sausage, and butter as these can cause clogged arteries and heart disease. Swap these with leaner options like poultry and swap butter for an olive oil spread.
- Deep fried foods can be very tasty, but they’re often cooked in unhealthy oils and coasted in breading, which just isn’t good for anyone, especially someone with diabetes. Choose foods that are baked, broiled, or roasted instead.
- Processed foods like TV dinners, cookies, frozen pizza, and other prepackaged foods are high in sugar, sodium, and unhealthy fats. If you struggle to make healthy meals on your own, enlist the help of a friend or family member or check out our Senior Center Without Walls program.
- Alcoholic beverages can have a negative interaction with your medications, which can lead to low blood sugar. They’re also often high in empty calories and can lead to overeating as well as liver damage and other health complications.