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Diabetes Education

One out of every 12 Americans have diabetes.

When patients are diagnosed with prediabetes, making simple lifestyle changes may prevent the progression of Type 2 Diabetes, or even help them revert back to normal glucose tolerance. These lifestyle changes include reducing dietary intake of saturated fats, and walking 30 to 45 minutes daily. Diabetes can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Therefore, proper diet is crucial in prevention of diabetes progression, as well as development of other serious health issues.

Recommended foods:

  • Healthy carbohydrates: Your body breaks down sugars and starches into blood glucose. You should aim to eat healthier carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Fiber-rich foods: Fiber can decrease the risk of heart disease and help control blood sugar levels. High fiber foods include vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and whole-wheat flour and wheat bran.
  • Heart-healthy fish. Eat heart-healthy fish at least twice a week. Fish can be a good alternative to high-fat meats. For example, cod, tuna and halibut have less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than do meat and poultry. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and bluefish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health by lowering blood fats called triglycerides. However, avoid fried fish and fish with high levels of mercury, such as tilefish, swordfish and king mackerel.
  • ‘Good’ fats. Foods containing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — such as avocados, almonds, pecans, walnuts, olives, and canola, olive and peanut oils — can help lower your cholesterol levels. Eat them sparingly, however, as all fats are high in calories.

Foods to avoid:

Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease and stroke by accelerating the development of clogged and hardened arteries. Foods containing the following can work against your goal of a heart-healthy diet.

  • Saturated fats. High-fat dairy products and animal proteins such as beef, hot dogs, sausage and bacon contain saturated fats. Get no more than 7 percent of your daily calories from saturated fat.
  • Trans fats. These types of fats are found in processed snacks, baked goods, shortening and stick margarines and should be avoided completely.
  • Cholesterol. Sources of cholesterol include high-fat dairy products and high-fat animal proteins, egg yolks, shellfish, liver, and other organ meats. Aim for no more than 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day.
  • Sodium. Aim for less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day.

Content adapted from Mayo Clinic.

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