Expert diet and exercise tips to manage diabetes (World Diabetes Day 2014)

Expert diet and exercise tips to manage diabetes (World Diabetes Day 2014)

By Neha Ranglani  on: 12 December 2014
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Diabetes does not mean the end of a good life. It just means that it is time to change your lifestyle for the better. Though diabetes is a rising health concern for most Indians today, but if taken good care of, one can live a normal life as before. Here are some lifestyle, diet and exercise related dos and don’ts by noted Nutritionist Neha Chandna that diabetics should follow to live well with diabetes.

General guidelines

It is essential that diabetics keep a constant tab on their blood sugar levels for better health and to avoid complications. Follow these tips:

  • Get your blood sugar levels and HBA1C checked in a laboratory every 3 months if you are above 30 years of age.
  • Check your blood sugar with a blood glucose monitor in the morning, after lunch and after dinner, every 2 days if you are a diabetic.
  • Keep a check on blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels as a diabetic generally tends to have high BP and cholesterol.
  • If you are on insulin, check your blood sugar before all the major meals to modulate the food intake.
  • Check your toes and legs for any hurt or wound and don’t delay the treatment.
  • If obese, try to lose weight and maintain it.

Diet guidelines

Monitoring your diet is highly vital as the food you eat directly affects your blood sugar levels and weight. In order to make sure you are eating healthy, follow these tips:

  • Eat every 2-3 hours in small quantities rather than eating 3 large meals.
  • Include complex carbs in every meal – whole wheat, ragi, jowar, brown rice, oats, etc.
  • Avoid refined cereal products like bread, noodles, polished rice, etc. as they can raise blood sugar levels.
  • Choose fibre-rich foods like vegetables, whole grains, etc. You should aim for 25-25g of fibre/day through diet to maintain blood glucose levels.
  • Low-fat milk products like curd, paneer and egg whites, lean chicken and fish are great protein sources which can prove helpful in diabetes management.
  • If you are a vegetarian, whole pulses and dals can provide little protein and good amounts of fibre.
  • You can enjoy all vegetables especially green, leafy ones. Limit your intake of potatoes.
  • Depending on your blood sugar, don’t have more than 2 fruits/day and if you are fond of mango/banana, opt for these early in the morning.
  • Reduce butter, ghee or oil intake. Also, avoid processed foods like cakes, biscuits, ready-to-eat foods as they are loaded with fats. Salt and sugar and can aggravate complications like blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Sugary foods are a complete no-no. You can use artificial sweeteners occasionally, but avoid overdependence on them.
  • Always carry a snack with you when travelling to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and dizziness.

Exercise guidelines

Only monitoring your diet won’t work, you also need to get a fair share of physical exercise to maintain normal levels but there are certain guidelines diabetics need to follow:

  • Make sure you exercise at least 4-5 times/week to help you get your blood sugar in control.
  • You can choose moderate exercises like aerobics, brisk walking, weight training, swimming, dancing, etc.
  • Check your blood sugar at home before and after exercise. Avoid exercise if your blood sugar levels are too high or too low. If you are on insulin, modify your carb intake before and after exercise depending on your sugar levels.
  • Eat a complex carb snack like sandwich, wrap, oats an hour before you do any activity.
  • Eat immediately after exercise to avoid fall in blood sugar.
  • Carry sugar tablets or glucose water with you in case of an emergency hypoglycemia situation.
  • Avoid exercise in case of severe complications like kidney problems, nerve problems or wounds.

These guidelines will help you lead a normal life even with your existing diabetes condition and also make your lifestyle a healthier one preventing other heath complications.



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Recently, a study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute linking omega-3 fatty acids to a high risk of prostate cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids are usually found in fish, flaxseeds, etc and are considered good for health especially the heart as they lower cholesterol levels. They are generally recommended by doctors and dieticians as part of a healthy and well-balanced meal. But according to the trial conducted by these researchers, those who had higher concentrations of omega-3 in their blood were 46% more likely to get prostate cancer than the others. We asked Nutritionist Neha Chandna about the possibilities of such a health risk and how much omega-3 do we really need in our diet.  Do you think omega-3 fatty acids can lead to serious ailments like cancer? I wouldn’t completely agree with the study as it has many shortcomings. It does not consider the source of omega-3 whether it is coming from pills or diet, does not take into account the subject’s health status before the study. Cancer is a result of various factors like smoking, nutrition, exercise, environmental toxicity, stress and none of these things were taken into account. So, it is very irrational to conclude that omega-3 increases the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, populations with the largest intake of omega-3 (from fish) such as the Japanese, Eskimo and the Inuit of Greenland have some of the lowest rates of prostate cancer. There are also a couple of studies which have proven that eating fish regularly reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Why do we need omega-3? Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid which is not manufactured by the body. But it is needed by one and all as it has great health benefits like: Reducing triglyceride Decreasing blood pressure Improving brain communication and memory Controlling hormone production Reducing inflammation Improving skin appearance Supporting proper vision Protecting against cancer What are the best sources of omega-3? The best source of omega-3 is fish and vegetarian sources are flaxseeds and walnuts. How much of omega-3 do we really need? A healthy individual without any heart or health issues can eat fish 2-3 times/week or take 500 mg of EPA + DHA through fish oil supplements/day i.e. 2 capsules of 1000 mg/day. Someone with a heart problem can have 2-4 capsules daily after consulting their doctor.  Can too much of omega-3 be harmful? Avoid taking excessive omega-3 through supplements (more than 4 capsules/day) as it can increase the risk of bleeding, can cause gas, bloating, diarrhoea. Diabetics should take fish oil capsules under a doctor’s supervision as they may experience a rise in blood sugar levels after taking them. Is it best to get one’s intake from natural sources instead of capsules? Natural sources are always the best. Get it from your diet such as eating fish 3 times/week or having 2-4 tablespoons of flaxseeds daily.  But if you cannot then opt for fish oil supplements. There are various genuine brands available these days in the market that sell fish oil capsules.
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Dietitian Neha Chandna (Ranglani) has 8 years of experience in the field. Food and Health is the matter of interest for most of the people today and realizing the need to create awareness and spread the right information to the society, Neha decided to extensively educate herself in the field of nutrition. As a known fact that diet and exercise go hand in hand, She went a step ahead to certify herself as a REEBOK Aerobic instructor. One of the Most Famous & Online Nutritionists Dietitians in Mumbai (Khar west).Neha Chandna, a dietitian in Mumbai, is a university topper in Dietetics from S.V.T. She has worked as a nutritionist for reputed gyms and fitness trainers and as a consultant with doctors and physiotherapists. She deals with sportsmen, individuals who are obese or victims of lifestyle issues- to name a few- diabetes, thyroid, osteoporosis, PCOS etc. and active/exercising sector of society. She educates and conducts seminar/workshops for corporates like banks (HDFC & Standard Chartered Bank), BPOs and MNCs on the Right ways of eating and living. She also takes workshops on Nutrition in Pregnancy and Lactation. Neha Chandna also writes articles for magazines and newspapers like New Woman, Beauty and salon, Hello Mumbai, the afternoon etc. She has also done a couple of interviews for TV9 channel. She is an online consultant for a health social networking website www.ihealthu.com. Dietician Neha Chandna is one of the Best Dietician / nutritionist in Khar west , Mumbai.Neha Chandna is a Famous Nutritionist in Khar west & a famous nutritionist in Mumbai for weight loss diet chart and for other diet plan services. Popular dietcian in Mumbai. Consult her for best online Diet charts in Mumbai. 
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