Posted Feb 5, 2023 by Erica Parker
In honor of American Heart Month, here are three things you can do to protect your heart if you have diabetes or prediabetes.
- Drink less sugary beverages.
- Why? Drinks with added sugar or natural sugars, like juice, tend to raise blood sugar, which may be harmful if you have diabetes or prediabetes, since your body is struggling to make enough insulin or use insulin effectively to lower blood sugar. Chronically elevated blood sugar is known to damage the heart and increase the chance of heart diseases, including stroke and heart attack.
- How? Water is a great choice! Other tasty alternatives include, sparkling flavored waters, water flavored with mint or citrus, coffee and unsweetened tea. If you really enjoy the sweetness of your current beverage, try gradually diluting it with an unsweetened version of the same drink until you become used to less sweetness. This really works!
- Do more aerobic activity.
- Why? Aerobic activity (think cardio) lowers the risk of heart diseases in diabetes. Physical activity or exercise also increases your body’s ability to use insulin, so blood sugar is better managed.
- How? Even 10 minutes of aerobic exercise, like walking, running, swimming, biking, soccer or any physical activity that increases heart rate, is beneficial. Try to get a total of 20-30 minutes daily for more benefit.
- Eat more fiber.
- Why? Fiber helps to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, which may help prevent heart diseases. It also helps keep blood sugar in a more normal range.
- How? Eating more fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains, like oats. Tip: Slowly add extra fiber to your diet to give your gut time to get used to it and reduce chances of gas and discomfort. Make sure you drink enough water or other low-sugar beverages.
- BONUS TIP! Consider getting support from a dietitian in managing your diabetes or prediabetes.
- Why? Dietitians are experts in nutrition and some specialize in helping people with diabetes achieve more normal blood sugars, blood pressure and levels of fat in the blood. They can support you in making behavior changes that may lower your risk of getting sick and needing hospitalization.
- How? Schedule a free discovery call today to learn more or book a consultation. Or look for dietitians in your area by clicking here.
Below are two calculators you can use to estimate your risk of getting heart disease. They are not substitutes for medical care or treatment. If you don’t know your numbers or haven’t been to the doctor in over a year, it may be time to get a check-up. REMINDER- Blood sugar that is too low is also dangerous. Please do not make any changes to your diabetes care routine without talking with your doctor or your health provider first to make sure you are also protected from low blood sugar.
- American Journal of Physiology
- American Diabetes Association
- Diabetes Care Journal
- Cleveland Clinic
- Food & Function Journal
Disclaimer– The information included on this page and website is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Please talk to your primary health provider before following any advice you read on this website or the Internet in general.