Poor eating habits may exacerbate the symptoms of heart disease and diabetes as well as lead to other health complications. The food you put in your mouth should nourish your body and please your palate. Consider smart snacking ideas when you have heart disease and diabetes.
- Monitoring the food you consume is an essential part of treating heart disease and diabetes. According to a 2008 article in the “Journal of Cardiac Failure,” about 30 percent of people with heart failure have diabetes. The goal is to maintain a healthy weight and control your blood sugar through dietary management and proper lifestyle habits.
- Over 29 million people in America had diabetes in 2012. Millions of people also suffer from heart disease. Diet is part of managing the symptoms associated with these diseases. Knowing what foods to avoid and the right snacks to choose can make you healthier.
- People with diabetes may have symptoms such as uncontrolled hunger and thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, weight loss and elevated blood glucose levels. When people have heart failure, there can be fluid retention with weight gain, fatigue, difficulty breathing and weakness. These diseases are managed through diet, exercise, weight management and medication.
- An ideal diet includes 3 well-balanced meals and snacks [check if you are taking rapid acting insulin] that fit into your eating plan. Foods to eat include are low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains along with lean meat and fish. Your sodium intake should be less than 2,000 milligrams daily. Diabetic snacks should be low in sugar and sodium with up to 15 grams of carbohydrate per serving.
- Snacks could include fresh fruit such as a cup of strawberries or a medium apple. Try a cup of raw broccoli or carrots with 2 tablespoons of hummus or guacamole. Include protein by choosing a hard-boiled egg, 6 ounces of low-fat yogurt or a handful of unsalted nuts. If you have the urge for something sweet or salty, eat them in small amounts and include them as part of your total carbohydrates. Keep healthy snacks at home, at work and in the car to avoid the temptation to miss a snack and then overeat.
- Cut down on your intake of saturated fat since it can increase your heart risks. A heart-healthy diet includes a minimum of 25-30 grams of fiber each day. High fiber foods that can help lower cholesterol include whole grain breads and cereals, kidney beans, vegetables, fruits and oatmeal. Minimize your cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams daily.
- Another type of fat to watch is trans-fat. Eliminate your intake of trans-fat found in prepared baked goods, cookies, crackers, fried foods and packaged snack foods. Check labels on spreads, margarine and vegetable shortening.
- Learn to read food labels carefully. Check the Nutrition Facts posted on most foods at the grocery store. Meet with a dietitian or a diabetes nurse educator to learn more about the right foods and snacks to eat when you have heart disease and diabetes.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week. Regular physical activity promotes improved cardiovascular health and can help you control blood sugar levels. Try walking with a pedometer to push further each day. Play your favorite sports with your kids such as basketball and volleyball. Invest in exercise equipment for your house, join the gym or put in a workout DVD. Make sure to include stretching in your routine such as resistance training, light weight lifting, tai chi or yoga. Exercise with a friend to encourage you. Always consult with your health care team before starting any diet or exercise routine.
Snacking can be beneficial with diabetes and heart disease. Try making healthy choices and stay away from the unhealthy ones. Wholesome snacks can promote better heart health and help you maintain proper blood sugar levels throughout the day.