It is common knowledge people with diabetes should minimize their sugar intake. It is also important to cut the salt and fat in your diet. Find out simple ways to get rid of salty, fatty foods without compromising flavor.
- Excessive salt in your diet may lead to high blood pressure, heart disease or stroke. The average person in the United States has over 1 tablespoon of salt daily, which exceeds the amount we need. According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council, we need 1 teaspoon (2,200 mg) of salt daily. A person with diabetes should limit their sodium intake to 1500 mg per day due to other compounding risk factors. Lower your salt intake but do not eliminate salt from your diet. Salt and potassium help to balance the water in your body.
- Look for the salt content on the labels of packaged foods. Choose reduced salt and no salt versions. Check to see if low salt foods have added sugars which are also a problem. Ask restaurant owners to prepare your meal with less salt or MSG; many are willing to do this for their customers. Roasted or grilled entrees and steamed vegetables are usually your best options. Moderate your intake of naturally salty foods such as canned tuna and dill pickles. Rinse canned foods to wash off some of the salt. Eat unsalted nuts and pretzels.
- Cook food without adding salt. Instead use spices to enhance the flavor of foods. You will soon find few foods need added salt, especially when you include healthy spices in your recipes. Add a dash of garlic, parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, marjoram, mint, paprika, cinnamon or turmeric. Cook from scratch to help you cut the fat in your diet. Bake, grill, broil or boil rather than frying. Use heart-healthy olive oil to prepare foods.
- Help your system to naturally excrete salt by eating potassium-rich foods such as dried peas, bananas and oranges in moderation. Do not take a potassium supplement unless it is prescribed by your doctor as it can cause nausea and irregular heartbeat.
- Ask your local water district about the sodium content in your tap water. If it contains over 45 parts per million, invest in a sodium filter for your faucet. Another option is to drink bottled water that does not contain excessive sodium. Steer clear of soft drinks that contain high levels of sodium. Even natural mineral water may have high amounts of sodium. Tap or flat water hydrates your body and helps to flush out toxins.
- An easy way to cut the salt and fat in your diet is to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Fresh produce typically has little or no sodium. Choose fresh produce over canned fruits and vegetables that might have added salt and sugar. Avoid adding salty and fatty foods to your salads such as bacon bits or mayonnaise. Choose a low-fat, low-salt salad dressing for flavor.
- Studies show a low-fat diet improves glucose tolerance and promotes higher insulin secretion. Limit your daily fat intake to about 20-30 percent. Opt for low-fat dairy items such as low or non-fat yogurt and skim or 1% milk. Make a tasty smoothie with berries to add antioxidants to your diet.
- Choose lean meats such as lean ground round and white meat poultry over ground chuck or dark meat poultry. Pack your plate with fruits and vegetables. Make starchy foods and meat your side dishes. Get no more than 50 percent of your daily intake from carbohydrates. Excessive carbohydrates lead to increased blood glucose that is later transformed into body fat.
- Shed body fat and salt by working up a sweat. Exercise for at least 30 minutes, 5 days per week. Take a long walk, go running or attend a local aerobics class. Mix it up with Zumba dance classes or outdoor activities such as bicycling, skiing and skating. Make exercise fun so you want to fit it into your daily routine. Any movement matters!
It is simple to cut the salt and fat from your daily diet when you know how to approach food. Add spices instead of salt and read the labels of packaged foods carefully. Include plenty of fresh produce in your diet for optimum health and a boost of energy.