As you prepare for the holidays with their festive meals, remember that overeating can exacerbate your diabetes especially if you indulge in starchy or sweet foods. You can still enjoy the holidays while keeping your blood sugar in check if you merely make some common sense choices. Eat nutritiously and in moderation, and take some time to burn a few calories—you’ll find time with your loved ones that much more enjoyable if you feel healthier.
It is appropriate that November—the start of the traditional holiday season—is American Diabetes Month. Almost 30 million Americans have diabetes, and 86 million others have prediabetes. There is a growing epidemic of diabetes in the U.S., with almost a third of all American adults expected to develop diabetes by 2050.
There are a host of risk factors that elevate the likelihood that you might develop diabetes including smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. This disease inhibits the ability maintain normal blood sugar and may lead to a number of debilitating and painful conditions including neuropathy, which can produce pain due to damaged nerve fibers. Diabetes is currently the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and, on average, costs sufferers $13,700 in health care expenses annually.
Enjoy the Holidays by Eating Healthy
Even if you have stayed on your diet all year, you may be tempted to over-indulge during the holidays. While a little nibble here or there may not be a serious health concern, completely ignoring your doctor’s orders could lead to a health crisis down the road. If you fail to moderate the amount of sugar in your system, you may experience a health emergency like ketoacidosis which prevents sugar from properly entering your cells, or hyperosmolar syndrome which leads to excessive dehydration. Without medical intervention, these conditions could lead to coma or death.
There are some ways you can avoid these health crises:
- Take your medications—it is easy to forget your medications during the holidays especially if you are traveling or busy with activities, but remaining on your medication regime can greatly assist in maintaining a low blood glucose level. Also remember to monitor your glucose, especially after big meals.
- Eat nutritiously—it can be tempting to eat starchy foods, but substituting common holiday dishes with more nutritious alternatives can produce a similar level of satiation without compromising your health. If you can’t do that, fill up on healthier choices like beans, nuts, and fruits.
- Limit salt intake—the optimal daily salt intake for diabetics is 1,500 milligrams.
- Cut fat—try to avoid saturated and trans fats including margarine, cream or cheese. If you have a choice, select leaner meats like poultry or seafood.
- Take a walk—especially if you have eaten a large meal, take a break and do some light exercise. Not only will it help lower your blood glucose, but it should energize your metabolism and help burn off some of the calories you just consumed.
Article written by: Dr. Robert Moghim – CEO/Founder Colorado Pain Care
M.D. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal views of Robert Moghim, M.D. and do not necessarily represent and are not intended to represent the views of the company or its employees.