How can you Lower your Blood Sugar Levels?


Blood sugar levels are a primary concern for people with diabetes. High blood sugar, known as hyperglycemia, occurs when a person’s blood sugar is over 180 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

High blood sugar levels can be dangerous if not promptly managed and lead to both short-term and long-term problems.

In this article, we look at some different ways to help people lower their blood sugar levels. These steps include lifestyle changes, diet tips, and natural remedies.

Why is managing blood sugar important?

Keeping blood sugars at target levels helps people with diabetes avoid serious complications from the disease. High blood sugar can cause many ill effects, which can be sudden, such as acid buildup in the bloodstream, or occur gradually over time.

Over time, keeping blood sugar at unhealthful levels can damage small and large blood vessels in several organs and systems, leading to serious consequences, such as:

  • vision impairment and blindness
  • foot ulcers, infections, and amputations
  • kidney failure and dialysis
  • heart attacks and strokes
  • peripheral vascular disease, a condition where blood flow to the limbs is reduced
  • damage to the nervous system, leading to pain and weakness

By keeping blood sugar levels under 100 mg/dL before eating and under 180 mg/dL after eating, people with diabetes can significantly reduce their risk of adverse effects from the disease.

How to lower blood sugar levels

Here are 12 ways that a person with diabetes can lower high blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of complications.

1. Monitor blood sugar levels closely

High blood sugar levels often do not cause symptoms until they run well over 200 mg/dL. As such, it is essential for a person with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar several times a day. Doing so will mean that blood sugar levels never get that high.

A person with diabetes can use a home glucose monitor to check blood sugar levels.

Recommendations for how frequently to check glucose levels during the day will vary from person to person. A doctor can make the best recommendations regarding blood sugar monitoring to a person with diabetes.

2. Reduce carbohydrate intake

Researchers have carried out studies showing that eating a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet reduces blood sugar levels.

The body breaks down carbohydrates into sugar that the body uses as energy. Some carbs are necessary in the diet. However, for people with diabetes, eating too many carbohydrates can cause blood sugar to spike too high.

Reducing the amounts of carbohydrates a person eats reduces the amount a person’s blood sugar spikes.

3. Eat the right carbohydrates

The two main kinds of carbohydrates — simple and complex — affect blood sugar levels differently.

Simple carbohydrates are mainly made up of one kind of sugar. They are found in foods, such as white bread, pasta, and candy. The body breaks these carbohydrates down into sugar very quickly, which causes blood sugar levels to rise rapidly.

Complex carbohydrates are made up of three or more sugars that are linked together. Because the chemical makeup of these kinds of carbohydrates is complicated, it takes the body longer to break them down.

As a result, sugar is released into the body more gradually, meaning that blood sugar levels do not rapidly rise after eating them. Examples of complex carbohydrates include whole grain oats and sweet potatoes.

4. Choose low glycemic index foods

The glycemic index measures and ranks various foods by how much they cause blood sugar levels to rise. Research shows that following a low glycemic index diet decreases fasting blood sugar levels.

Low glycemic index foods are those that score below 55 on the glycemic index. Examples of low glycemic foods include:

  • sweet potatoes
  • quinoa
  • legumes
  • low-fat milk
  • leafy greens
  • non-starchy vegetables
  • nuts and seeds
  • meats
  • fish

5. Increase dietary fiber intake

Fiber plays a significant role in blood sugar management by slowing down the rate that carbohydrates break down, and the rate that the body absorbs the resulting sugars.

The two types of fiber are soluble and insoluble fiber. Of the two types, soluble fiber is the most helpful in controlling blood sugar.

Soluble fiber is in the following foods:

  • vegetables
  • legumes
  • whole grains
  • fruit

6. Maintain a healthy weight

Losing weight helps control blood sugar levels. Being overweight is linked to increased incidents of diabetes and greater occurrences of insulin resistance.

Studies show that reducing weight by even only 7 percent can reduce the chances of developing diabetes by 58 percent.

It is important to note that a person does not need to achieve ideal body weight to benefit from losing 10–20 pounds and keeping it off. Doing so will also improve cholesterol, reduce the risk of complications, and improve a person’s general sense of well-being.

Eating a healthful diet full of fruits and vegetables and getting enough exercise can help a person lose weight or maintain their currently healthy weight.

7. Control portion size

At most meals, a person should follow portion guidelines provided by a doctor or nutritionist. Overeating at a sitting can cause a spike in blood sugar.

Although simple carbohydrates are typically associated with elevated blood sugar levels, all food causes blood sugar levels to rise. Careful control of portions can keep blood sugar levels more controlled.

8. Exercise regularly

Exercise has many benefits for people with diabetes, including weight loss and increased insulin sensitivity.

Insulin is a hormone that helps people break down sugar in the body. People with diabetes either do not make enough or any insulin in their body or are resistant to the insulin the body does produce.

Exercise also helps to lower blood sugar levels by encouraging the body’s muscles to use sugar for energy.

9. Hydrate

Proper hydration is key to a healthful lifestyle. For people worried about lowering high blood sugar, it is crucial.

Drinking enough water prevents dehydration and also helps the kidneys remove extra sugar from the body in the urine.

Those looking to reduce blood sugar levels should reach for water and avoid all sugary drinks, such as fruit juice or soda, which may raise blood sugar levels instead.

People with diabetes should reduce alcohol intake to the equivalent of one drink per day for women and two for men unless other restrictions apply.


10. Try herbal extracts

Herbal extracts may have a positive effect on treating and controlling blood sugar levels.

Most people should attempt to gain nutrients from the foods they eat. However, supplements are often helpful for people who do not get enough of the nutrients from natural sources.

Most doctors do not consider supplements as a treatment by themselves. A person should consult their doctor before taking any supplement, as they may interfere with any prescribed medications.

Some supplements a person may want to try are available for purchase online, including:

  • green tea
  • American ginseng
  • bitter melon
  • Aloe vera
  • fenugreek
  • chromium

11. Manage stress

Stress has a significant impact on blood sugar levels. The body gives off stress hormones when under tension, and these hormones raise blood sugar levels.

Research shows that managing stress through meditation and exercise can also help to lower blood sugar levels.

12. Get enough sleep

Sleep helps a person reduce the amount of sugar in their blood. Getting adequate sleep each night is an excellent way to help keep blood sugar levels at a normal level.

Blood sugar levels tend to surge in the early morning hours. In most people, insulin will tell the body what to do with the excess sugar, which keeps the blood sugar levels normal.

Lack of sleep can have a similar effect to insulin resistance, meaning that a person’s blood sugar level could spike significantly from lack of sleep.


Managing high blood sugar is key to avoiding serious complications from diabetes.

There is a range of lifestyle interventions that can help a person struggling with high blood sugar to lower their glucose levels.

A person should always follow their doctor’s advice for lowering high blood sugar.

Diabetes and Yogurt: The Do’s and Don’ts

One glance at the supermarket’s miles-long yogurt aisle tells you all you need to know about yogurt’s popularity. But has yogurt really earned its reputation as a healthy superfood?

It’s complicated. Yogurt is absolutely good for you, says registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD. But not all yogurt is created equal, and some choices are definitely better than others.

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Tart, sweet, thick, thin: Here’s what you should know about yogurt’s good side and how to pick a winner.

Is yogurt healthy?

As far as nutrients go, yogurt has a lot going for it. It’s full of:

  • Protein: Greek yogurt has about twice as much protein as traditional yogurt.
  • Calcium: You need calcium for strong bones and teeth. Your muscles and nerves also rely on this mineral to function properly.
  • Probiotics: These beneficial bacteria are important for your health. The helpful microbes may improve gut health and boost immunity. But only yogurts stamped with the “Live & Active Cultures” seal contain probiotics, and the type and amount can vary by brand. So check before you buy.

Those nutrients are good for head-to-toe health. But there’s also research suggesting that yogurt is specifically good for heart health: Yogurt has been linked to healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. And some research shows that eating yogurt as part of a healthy diet can help prevent long-term weight gain, which is good for the heart.

Beware of sweetened yogurts

While yogurt has a lot going for it, not all yogurt is a healthy choice. Some flavored yogurts — even those made with real fruit — can be more like junk food in disguise.

That strawberry swirl fruit-on-the-bottom or chocolate chip crunch topping can pack a sugary punch. Some flavored yogurts contain more sugar in one serving than the daily recommended amount. (The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams for women and 36 grams for men.)

What about sugar-free flavors? Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners may not be any healthier than real sugar. And eating super-sweet artificial sweeteners can set up your taste buds to crave more sweet stuff throughout the day.

Your best bet is to avoid flavored yogurt and reach for the plain variety. “Plain, nonfat yogurt is best,” says Zumpano. “Both original and Greek-style are excellent sources of protein, calcium and probiotics.”

Yogurt shopping 101: What to know before you buy

What should you know before you hit that overwhelming dairy aisle? Here’s a rundown of your yogurt options.

  • Greek-style yogurt: Greek yogurt is strained to create a rich, creamy texture — and has twice as much protein as regular yogurt. “For managing your weight, try Greek yogurt,” Zumpano says. “It has more protein, which can help you feel fuller longer.”
  • Traditional yogurt: Regular old yogurt is also a good source of protein and other nutrients, though it doesn’t pack quite the same protein punch as Greek yogurt. But some people prefer its milder taste and thinner texture, so it’s worth a try.
  • Flavored yogurt: Fruity picks and other flavored yogurts can contain a lot of sugar, but the amount varies by brand. If you can’t resist, try to pick a flavor with less than 120 calories per container and no more than 12-13 grams of sugar.
  • Whole-milk yogurt: This extra-creamy option is a good choice for growing babies, toddlers and children, who need the extra fat for growth and development. But it’s high in saturated fat, so it may not be the best pick for older kids and adults. If you’re looking for something a little creamier, choose a 2% milk fat instead of full fat.
  • Nondairy yogurts: Yogurts made from soy, almond or coconut milk are good options if you have a dairy sensitivity or eat a vegan diet. They can be a good source of protein and heart-healthy fats. But some are high in sugar, so read labels carefully. Coconut milk yogurt is also high in saturated fat, so watch your portions accordingly.

Dress your yogurt for success

Unsweetened yogurt gets two thumbs up from many dietitians. But some people are put off by its tart taste. If you’re still getting used to plain yogurt, try these tricks until your taste buds adapt:

  • Dress up plain yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit, vanilla extract or a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Swap in Greek yogurt to replace some of the sour cream or mayonnaise in dips, dressings and soups. You’ll get the benefits of yogurt and cut some saturated fats from your diet.
  • Add Greek yogurt to fruit smoothies for an extra boost of protein and creamy texture.

Once you start adding a dollop of yogurt here and there, you’ll discover all sorts of ways to enjoy this versatile food.

Can you Eat Sugar-Free Candy if You Have Diabetes?

If you have diabetes you may feel like sugar is your enemy. But when you have a hankering for something sweet, is sugar-free candy a healthy option?

In this Q and A, registered dietitian Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD, CDE,answers our questions and discusses what you need to know about sugary treats and other foods that use sugar substitutes.

Q: Should people with diabetes eat candy with or without sugar?

A: About 90 percent of your diet should focus on healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, poultry and fish. There is wiggle room in a healthful diet for treats like sweets whether you have diabetes or not. That is where candy would fit.

You should enjoy your food — and food also has social, emotional and physical health benefits. Built into the recommended dietary guidelines is room for getting up to 10 percent of your calories from sugar every day.

Treats affect your blood sugar. So if you have diabetes, it’s important to focus on portion control and moderation when you select these foods.

In other words, you can eat treats even if you have diabetes. But you need to account for the carbohydrate and calorie content they provide in your diet whether they are sugar-free or not.

Q: How much sugar should you allow in your daily diet?

A: Everyone with diabetes is different, but here’s what the American Heart Association recommends:

  • No more than 25 grams of added sugar (about six teaspoons or 100 calories) daily for women
  • No more than 36 grams (about nine teaspoons or 150 calories) of added sugar per day for menThese Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Q: How does sugar-free candy affect your body?

A: Some sugar substitutes contain carbohydrates, while others do not. All carbohydrates turn into sugar in the body, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. You have to read the nutrition facts label to know whether a product contains carbohydrates.

It’s true that sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, xylitol, and mannitol, don’t affect blood sugars as dramatically as other carbohydrates do. So sugar-free candy with most of the total carbs coming from these alcohols will typically have less impact on your blood sugar.

Many of those who have type 2 diabetes do well with an intake of 30 grams to 45 grams of carbs per meal (for women) and 45 to 60 grams per meal (for men), and snacks with no more than 20 grams of carbs. See a registered dietitian for individualized recommendations.

Q: What are some misunderstandings that surround sugar-free candy?

A: There are several, including:

  • Sugar-free means unlimited. Sugar-free candies and other treats may still contain carbohydrates. In addition, some sugar-free candy contains significant calories and is high in saturated or trans fats. Pay attention to serving sizes, strictly avoid trans fats and limit saturated fat to 6 percent (fewer than 13 grams) of total calories per day. For a 2,000 calorie per day diet, this would be about 13 grams.
  • Sugar-free means healthy. Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are examples of healthy foods. Candy doesn’t count as healthy, even if it is sugar-free. If you eat a lot of candy and aren’t ready to cut back, however, switching to sugar-free candy may help you better control your carbohydrate intake. The long-term goal, though, is to cut down on all candy.
  • It is only for people with diabetes. Those who have diabetes can eat sugar as part of their overall carbohydrate budget. Both kinds of candy can increase blood sugars, especially if portion and carbohydrate content are not considered. In addition, people with or without diabetes may choose sugar-free candy if they are trying to lower calories or decrease sugar intake.

Q: Are there benefits to choosing sugar-free candy?

A: There are several possible benefits, including:

  • When eaten in moderation, sugar alcohols don’t dramatically increase blood sugars.
  • It may contain fewer total carbohydrates than regular candy.
  • It obviously has less added sugar than regular candy.
  • It may have fewer calories than regular candy.

Q: Are there any problems with sugar-free candy?

A: Sugar alcohols can cause adverse gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, gas and diarrhea. So it’s a good idea to stick to the serving size recommendations.

Some studies suggest that certain zero-calorie sweeteners may also stimulate appetite, which can be counterproductive for someone who is trying to watch their weight.

The bottom line: Most people can enjoy treats — with or without sugar — as part of a healthy diet. If you have questions about sugar or carbohydrate intake, consult your doctor or a dietitian.


These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

15 Cooking and Eating Tips If You Have Diabetes

For most of us, dialing back on sugar and simple carbs is an effective way to fast-track the weight loss process. However, for those living with diabetes, adhering to this diet strategy can be a matter of life and death.

Diabetics are two to four times more likely than people without diabetes to die of heart disease or experience a life-threatening stroke, according to the American Heart Association. And for those who don’t properly control their condition, the odds of health issues—which range from cardiovascular trouble to nerve damage and kidney disease—increase exponentially.

Though the consequences of veering off track from a diabetes-friendly diet can be downright terrifying, that doesn’t mean you have to adhere to a bland, boring diet. In fact, this common misconception is the reason Lori Zanini, RD, CDE, penned the forthcoming Eat What You Love Diabetes Cookbook, which devotes all of its 200+ pages to the art of eating your cake and having it, too.

“After working with thousands of diabetic individuals over the years, I noticed that many asked me the same question at their first appointment. ‘Can I still eat my favorite foods?’ And the answer from me was always ‘Yes!’ It’s the portion sizes and frequency that makes the most difference, in addition to how the food is prepared,” Zanini tells us, adding, “After years of working one on one with newly diagnosed diabetics, I knew there was a need for this book. It makes controlling your blood sugar simple.”


Substitute Your Starches

If you love fried rice, spaghetti and meatballs, and other starchy dishes, swapping in veggies for grains should be your go-to move. “Cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, and spaghetti squash are all easy and delicious ways to lower the amount of carbohydrates in some of your favorite dishes,” says Zanini.


These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes


Focus on Adding Flavor

Despite what you may think, nixing sugar or salt doesn’t have to be synonymous with bland, cardboard-like dishes. “So often, we think about what we can’t eat when we start cutting out sugar. Instead, focus on ways to add more flavor to the foods you are eating,” suggests Zanini. “There are so many great ways to add flavor without adding sugar or salt. Try fresh herbs, freshly squeezed lemon or lime, ginger, garlic, or spice things up with jalapeño or cayenne pepper.”

Did You Know?!

When most people hear the word “diabetes,” they typically think about things like carbs and sugar. But salt plays a role in diabetes health, too. Dialing back on salt can help lower your blood pressure, and in turn, your risk for heart attack or stroke, two diseases commonly associated with diabetes.


Prioritize Protein

Since eating protein helps stabilize blood sugar and keeps us full longer, Zanini stresses the importance of adding a lean protein to every meal. Some of the best sources include beans, hummus, nuts, wild salmon, Albacore tuna, chicken, turkey, flank steak, and pork tenderloin, according to the American Diabetes Association. Remember: While fish, meat, and poultry don’t contain carbs or raise blood glucose levels, that’s not the case with plant-based proteins like beans and hummus, so be sure to read labels carefully before digging in!


Fill Up on Non-Starchy Veggies

Think your new diet will leave your tummy rumbling? Think again. To keep hunger at bay, Zanini suggests building meals and snacks around non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, bell peppers, cucumbers, radishes, and green beans. “These are nutrient dense foods that can be very filling without adding many calories,” Zanini explains.


These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes


Measure Your Plate

While there are many reasons for our nation’s ever-expanding collective waistline, our gigantic dinnerware is definitely playing a role. “Ensuring you have the standard 9-inch dinner plate will help make it easier for you to eat well at home,” Zanini tells us. “If our plates are too large, we tend to serve ourselves portions that are too large as well.” Losing as little as 5 pounds can help control diabetes, so shedding some excess pounds should be among your chief health goals—and this is a super easy way to get the ball rolling.


Keep Snacks On Hand

When you have diabetes, snacks are more than just tasty treats. They’re tools used to aid weight loss and ward off low blood sugar levels. “Always have something with you that can hold you over until your next meal. It will come in handy for those times when you’re stuck in traffic or when your meeting runs late,” says Zanini. “If it’s been more than four or five hours since your last meal, combine a protein with a carb, such as 1/4 cup almonds with a small apple or a tablespoon of almond butter on a slice of whole wheat bread.”


Eat Regularly

If you’re trying to slim down in an attempt to improve your condition, you may be tempted to skip meals. Don’t do that! “Be mindful to not skip meals and try to eat a balanced meal every four to five hours throughout the day,” suggests Zanini, explaining, “This will help keep your blood sugars steady throughout the day, give you more energy, and if you’re on medication or insulin, eating regularly will help these aids be more effective.”


Rethink Your Drink

We know that we promised you a plethora of tips that would allow you to eat whatever you want and still control your diabetes, but there’s one thing you shouldn’t ever keep in your diet whether you’re diabetic or not, and that’s soda and other sugary drinks. “It’s best to choose unsweetened drinks when you are managing your blood sugar. Watch out for your morning coffee drinks with added sweeteners, fruit juices, and even sports drinks,” cautions Zanini.


Know Sugar’s Aliases

When you’re trying to avoid the sweet stuff, it’s important to read labels and be familiar with all of sugar’s aliases. There are over 56 different names for added sugar including high fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, molasses, agave, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, and sucrose. A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything ending in “ose” or “syrup.” “These all add additional carbohydrates to your meals,” notes Zanini.


Stay Hydrated

Staying adequately hydrated can help keep blood sugar levels normal, which is why Zanini suggests always keeping water by your side. Staying hydrated can also help ward off excess munching and aid weight loss efforts by boosting feelings of satiety. If you hate the taste of plain water, consider whipping up a batch of fruit-filled detox water.


Be Portion Savvy

“Knowing how much you are eating may seem like common sense, but we often eat more than we realize,” says Zanini. “For a week, measure out your portions and see what it looks like on your plate at home. You might be surprised, and you will be better prepared to make the better decisions in the future.”


Cook Foods Strategically

“Roasting, baking, grilling, and steaming are all the preferred ways to cook your foods since this will not require much, if any, added fat. Plus, these cooking methods help enhance the natural flavors of food,” Zanini tells us. Why does the amount of fat in your food matter? Some fats like those found in poultry skin, lard, margarine, and shortening can raise blood cholesterol, increasing your risk for heart attack or stroke, two conditions that diabetics have an increased risk of developing. But just to be clear, not all fats are off limits. Monounsaturated fats, which are the kinds found in avocados, almonds, cashews, olive oil, peanut butter, and peanut oil, can actually help lower your cholesterol levels.


Meal Prep

“Planning what you will eat in advance helps everyone adhere to a healthier diet. But when you have diabetes, it is especially important to map out your food—especially the carbohydrates you will be eating, so that your medicine and insulin will work optimally,” says Zanini. At the beginning of each week, sit down with a list of approved foods and whip up a few batches of carb-, protein-, and veggie-based dishes to ensure you have plenty of healthy options available the second hunger strikes.


Use Short-Cuts

Despite conventional wisdom, it’s not mandatory to slave over a stove for hours to get a healthy, home-cooked meal on the table. To save time in the kitchen, Zanini suggests buying frozen or pre-washed and sliced produce and investing in a slow cooker, a large electric pot that cooks everything from stews and oatmeals to entrees and sides super slowly—and safely—while you’re sleeping or away at work.



Stock Your Freezer

“I love to encourage my clients to stock healthy meals in the freezer. This way, if they come home and are too tired to cook or happen to be out of groceries, they always have a homemade meal ready to go,” says Zanini

Is Avocado Good For Diabetics?

avocado, halves, cross section

Millennials get flak for being the avocado toast generation. But they’re definitely on to something. Avocados are as nutritious as they are delicious and they come with some great health benefits.

Registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, says, “Avocados are a great addition to a healthy diet.” Jam-packed with vitamins and nutrients, here are some good reasons to give these wrinkly green fruits a second look and add them to your regular rotation.


One avocado, a ton of nutrients

There are hundreds of avocado varieties, ranging from big to small, wrinkly to smooth. What they have in common: a big round pit, creamy green flesh and a whole lot of nutrients crammed into a handy pear-shaped package.

Whether you’re adding a slice to a salad or sandwich or using them as an ingredient in a more complicated recipe, avocados have a lot going for them, health-wise, Zumpano says. Here are some of the many nutrients and vitamins packed into just a single avocado.

  • Monounsaturated fats: Avocados are rich in these heart-healthy fats, which help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Low LDL levels reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Folate (B-9): Avocados contain a significant amount of folate, which is important for normal cell function and tissue growth
  • Vitamin K-1: Vitamin K-1 is important for blood clotting and may have benefits for bone health
  • Potassium: This is an essential mineral that is beneficial for blood pressure control and heart health. Avocados contain more potassium than bananas.
  • Copper: Copper is low in a standard American diet. Copper plays a role in iron metabolism
  • Vitamin C: Aids in immune function and skin health.
  • Vitamin E: This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that prevents cells from damage.
  • Vitamin B-6: B vitamins help convert food into energy.
  • Fiber: Avocados are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. And fiber can lower cholesterol and blood sugar, keep you regular and help you feel full and satisfied after a meal.
  • Low sugar: Compared to most fruits, avocadoes rank VERY low on the sweet scale.

How to enjoy avocados

A perfectly ripe avocado is slightly firm but not rock-hard. Can’t wait to eat it, but it’s not ripe? Store it in a paper bag on the counter until it gives a little when you squeeze it. Once it’s ripe, you can store it in the fridge for a day or two to keep it from going soft too quickly. (Or just dive right in, since a ripe-but-not-too-ripe avocado is a time-limited treasure.)

But don’t go overboard. Avocados are packed with nutrients, but they’re not exactly low in calories. A 50-gram portion — about a third of a medium-sized avocado — has about 75 calories. An entire large avocado can add upward of 400 calories to your daily diet.

Like most things, says Zumpano, moderation is key. “As long as you’re paying attention to portion sizes, avocados are great foods to include in your diet,” she says.

Avocado recipes even skeptics will love

The avocado is an all-ages treat, says Zumpano. Lots of babies love it mashed with banana. For an older palate, there are almost endless ways to use it. Some ideas to get you started:

  • Adorn burgers and burritos with avocado slices.
  • Cook them into quesadillas.
  • Start your day with a delicious combo of veggies, avocado and poached eggs.
  • No time for guacamole? Buy some store-bought salsa and mash avocado into it for a quick guac-hack.
  • Add them to a salad, such as a tomato avocado salad with shallot-lemon dressing or zesty mango, avocado and black bean salad.

You can also use the smooth, creamy fruit to replace the less-healthy fats in your diet, Zumpano says. Here are some additional ways you can add avocado to your diet.

  • Instead of slathering a sandwich with mayonnaise, spread some avocado on the bread.
  • Swap in avocado slices instead of shredded cheese on your salad.
  • Skip the butter on your toast and, yes, embrace avocado toast.
  • Rather than snacking on dips made with cheese or sour cream, dunk your veggies in guacamole.
  • Replace the butter or oil in recipes with mashed avocado (such as in these chocolatey avocado brownie bites).

“If you use avocado to replace other fats, you can enjoy the flavor and nutrients and also cut down on saturated fats,” she says


These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

5 Reasons Why Sugar is Bad for You

Woman pouring sugar into hot drink

Sugars are a type of simple carbohydrate that occurs naturally in some foods and drinks. They are also an additive in certain foods and drinks. Consuming too much sugar can lead to health problems, such as increasing the risk of weight gain, diabetes, tooth cavities, and more.

Many healthful food products, such as dairy products, vegetables, and fruit, naturally contain sugars. The sugar in these foods gives them a sweeter taste.

It is important for people to include these foods in their diet, as they come with a range of other nutrients that provide valuable health benefits.

However, manufacturers tend to add sugar to foods such as cereals and cake and some drinks. It is these added sugars, or free sugars, that cause health problems.

Unlike foods and drinks that naturally contain sugar, those with added sugar provide no nutritional value. They are also a poor energy source, as the body digests added sugar very quickly. Consuming too much may cause health problems over time.

This article discusses five reasons why added sugars are bad for health.


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1. Lack of nutritional value

Sugar is an empty calorie.

Adding it to foods and drinks significantly increases their calorie content without adding any nutritional benefit. The body usually digests these foods and drinks quickly. This means that they are not a good source of energy.

Products that naturally contain sugar are different. For example, fruits and dairy products contain natural sugars. The body digests these foods at a slower rate, making them a lasting source of energy.

Such products also tend to contain other nutrients. For example, they also contain fiber and a range of vitamins and minerals.

The average adult in the United States consumes around 308 calories from added sugars per day. This is a lot more than the American Heart Association’s (AHA) recommendations of 100 calories from added sugars for females and 150 calories for males.

Consuming empty calories undermines the health benefits of consuming other foods and drinks that do have nutritional value. It can also cause imbalances, where nutrient deficits can lead to further health complications.

2. Weight gain

A significant risk of consuming excess dietary sugar is weight gain.

In most cases, sugary foods and drinks are high in calories. Consuming too many of these products will lead to weight gain, even with regular exercise. There is strong evidence showing that excess dietary sugar is a cause of weight gain.

As the body usually digests products containing added sugars more quickly, they do not offset hunger for very long. This can lead to eating more regularly throughout the day and a greater calorie intake overall.

There is also some evidence to suggest that sugar can affect the biological pathways that regulate hunger.

Leptin is a hormone that regulates hunger by determining how much energy the body needs. Disruption to leptin functioning can lead to weight gain and obesity.

A study in rats from 2011 revealed that a diet high in fat and sugar could lead to leptin resistance. Leptin resistance occurs when the body no longer responds to leptin correctly. The study authors found that removing sugar from the diet reversed leptin resistance.

Another study from 2014 found that sugary drinks could be a particular problem for leptin resistance.

It is important to note that sugar does not cause weight gain and obesity by itself. Sugar is one of several causes. Being overweight or obese is the result of a complex interaction between diet, physical activity, genetics, and social and environmental factors.

However, limiting the amount of sugar in a diet is one of the simplest ways to prevent weight gain.

3. Diabetes

There is a link between consuming sugary drinks and developing type 2 diabetes.

It is not true that sugar causes diabetes. A high-calorie diet of any kind can lead to type 2 diabetes.

However, in most cases, diets high in sugar are high in calories. This can increase the risk of diabetes.

Sugary drinks are particularly problematic.

A meta-analysis of data from 310,819 people found that those with a high consumption of sugary drinks had a 26 percent greater risk of type 2 diabetes than those with a low consumption. The study defined “high consumption” as between one and two sugary drinks per day.

The American Diabetes Association recommends avoiding sugary drinks to prevent type 2 diabetes.

For more science-backed resources on nutrition, visit our dedicated hub.


4. Tooth cavities

Sugar consumption can cause tooth decay, which may lead to the development of cavities.

After eating sugar, bacteria in the mouth form a thin layer of plaque over the teeth. These bacteria react with the sugars present in foods and drinks. This reaction triggers the release of an acid that damages teeth.

It is possible for the body to repair some of this damage itself. Over time, however, a diet high in sugar will cause lasting damage. This can lead to tooth cavities. Cavities are permeant holes that form on teeth.

Limiting the intake of foods high in sugar is one effective way to prevent tooth cavities.

5. Heart disease

High-sugar diets may increase the risk of heart disease.

The results of a 15-year study suggest that people with a lot of added sugar in their diet are significantly more likely to die from heart disease than people with minimal amounts of added sugar in their diet.

Again, research suggests that sugary drinks may be particularly problematic for increasing the risk of heart disease. This association may be because sugary drinks are high in calories, do not affect hunger, and provide an insufficient amount of energy.

Although there is a clear link, more research will be necessary to better understand the relationship between sugar and heart disease.

Added sugars to look out for

Added sugars can appear in many surprising products. Checking the contents of food before buying it is one way to avoid added sugar.

However, some food labels make it difficult to tell whether they contain added sugar, as there are many different names for it.

Some examples of other names for added sugar include:

  • dextrose
  • sucrose
  • agave nectar
  • maltose
  • molasses
  • honey
  • high-fructose corn syrup
  • corn sweetener
  • crystalline fructose
  • evaporated cane juice

To maintain a healthful diet, it is best for males to consume no more than 36 grams (g) of added sugar per day, and for females to consume no more than 25 g per day.

This is the recommendation from the AHA. Currently, the average person in the U.S. consumes far more than these limits.


Sugar is not unhealthful in itself. However, consuming a natural source of sugar is better for health than consuming added sugars.

Having excess sugar in the diet can cause a range of conditions, including heart disease, weight gain, and diabetes.

To be aware of added sugars in food products, it is important to read labels carefully.


17 Best and Worst Fruits for Diabetics

blueberries on white ceramic container

Diabetes is a challenging condition that affects approximately 11% of the American population[^1^]. Managing diabetes requires careful consideration of one’s diet and regular exercise. While it is important for everyone to consume fruits as part of a balanced diet, individuals with diabetes often struggle to find diabetes-friendly fruits that won’t cause spikes in blood sugar levels. In this article, we will explore the best and worst fruits for individuals with diabetes, providing valuable insights and guidance for making informed dietary choices.

The Best Fruits for Diabetics

Blueberries: Tiny Tangy Superfoods

Blueberries are a true powerhouse for diabetics. These tiny tangy fruits are loaded with vitamins, essential minerals, and a plethora of antioxidants[^2^]. Incorporating blueberries into your diet promotes overall health and helps combat free radicals. For long-term diabetics, a bowl of purple salad consisting of blueberries, purple cabbage, and feta cheese can increase insulin sensitivity and improve glucose processing[^2^]. With a glycemic index of 53, blueberries and other berries are an excellent addition to parfaits, yogurts, or even enjoyed on their own for a refreshing start to your day[^2^].

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Peaches: Summer’s Delight

Peaches, synonymous with summer, are a nutritious addition to a diabetic’s daily diet. Low in calories and high in fiber, potassium, and vitamins A and C, peaches satisfy sweet tooth cravings and aid in weight loss[^3^]. Whether enjoyed in smoothies or salads, peaches offer antioxidants and vitamin C, promoting healthier skin and hair[^3^].

Apricots: Sweet and Nutrient-Packed

Apricots, known for their sweet flavor, pack an impressive nutrient punch. Loaded with vitamins A, C, potassium, copper, and manganese, apricots contribute to maintaining stable blood sugar levels[^4^]. Unlike commercial sweets and chocolates that contain processed carbohydrates, dried and fresh apricots are a wholesome choice for diabetics. Thinly sliced apricots on peanut butter toast make for a satisfying and nourishing meal[^4^].

Apple: An Apple a Day…

Apples, often considered a quintessential fruit for good health, can also be enjoyed by individuals with diabetes. While apples do contain carbs, their high fiber content helps neutralize the impact on blood sugar levels[^5^]. The fiber slows down digestion, resulting in a gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream, making them a favorable choice for diabetics[^5^].

Oranges: More Than Just Vitamin C

Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes offer more than just vitamin C. These fruits are rich in nutrients such as vitamin A and iron, reducing inflammation and protecting the heart[^6^]. The folate and potassium present in citrus fruits contribute to diabetes control. To maximize the benefits, it is recommended to consume oranges in their whole form rather than as juice, as the fiber content aids in slow digestion and glucose release[^6^].

Kiwi: A Flavorful Immunity Booster

Kiwi, known for its delicious taste, is an excellent choice for individuals with diabetes. Packed with antioxidants, kiwi aids in maintaining a healthy immune system and contains a low glycemic index, making it suitable for a diabetic meal plan[^7^].

Pear: Tasty and Diabetes-Friendly

Pears offer both taste and diabetes management benefits. With a low glycemic index, pears have a minimal impact on blood glucose levels, making them a safe choice for diabetics[^8^]. Pears are also dense in nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants that contribute to fighting inflammation and aiding digestion. To reap the maximum nutritional benefits, it is recommended to consume a whole pear with the skin intact, as the majority of its nutritional goodness is found in the fruit jacket[^8^].

Cherry: A Sweet Antioxidant Powerhouse

Cherries, beyond their delightful taste, offer incredible health benefits. With inflammation-fighting properties, one cup of cherries contains only 52 calories and approximately 12 grams of carbs[^9^]. These red gems are packed with antioxidants and have a low glycemic index, which helps maintain stable blood sugar levels. Additionally, cherries contribute to heart health, making them a valuable addition to a diabetic diet.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Strawberries: Nutrient-Rich Berry Delights

Strawberries, known for their vibrant color and sweet taste, are a nutritional powerhouse for individuals with diabetes. Surprisingly, one cup of strawberries contains more vitamin C than a whole orange[^10^]. With a low glycemic index and a range of beneficial nutrients such as antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C, strawberries are a safe and delicious choice for satisfying sweet cravings. Moreover, strawberries possess detox properties that support a strong immune system[^10^].

The Fruits to Avoid for Diabetics

While many fruits offer health benefits, there are some that individuals with diabetes should consume in moderation or avoid altogether due to their impact on blood sugar levels.

Pineapple: High Sugar Content

Pineapple, recognized as one of the healthiest fruits, is rich in vitamin C, manganese, and antioxidants[^11^]. However, it ranks high on the glycemic index and contains a significant amount of sugar, leading to spikes in blood sugar levels. If you still wish to enjoy pineapple, it is recommended to consume it in conjunction with low-carbohydrate foods and monitor your total carbohydrate intake for a balanced diabetic diet.

Mango: Tropical Delight with Caution

Referred to as the “king of fruits,” mangoes are a tropical delight packed with essential vitamins and minerals. However, they also contain a high level of calories, sugar, and carbs, which can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar[^12^]. If you choose to indulge in mangoes, opt for firm varieties rather than pulpy ones to minimize the impact on blood sugar levels.

Watermelon: Hydrating, but High in Sugar

Watermelon, a refreshing and hydrating fruit, offers various minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants such as vitamins A, B, and C, along with folate, fiber, and magnesium[^13^]. Despite its hydrating properties, watermelon has a high sugar content, which can result in elevated blood sugar levels when consumed in large quantities. It is advisable for individuals with diabetes to enjoy watermelon in moderation or to exercise portion control.

Banana: Energy Boost with Caution

Bananas are commonly associated with providing an energy boost and are a popular choice for breakfast. However, diabetics should exercise caution when consuming bananas due to their high carb, sugar, and calorie content[^14^]. While bananas do contain fiber, even a medium-sized banana contains approximately 14 grams of sugar, which can lead to blood sugar spikes. Therefore, individuals with diabetes are generally advised to limit their banana consumption.

Grapes: Sweet, but High in Sugar

Grapes offer essential nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber, contributing to immune system support, brain health, and improved appearance of hair and skin[^15^]. However, grapes contain around 23 grams of sugar per cup, which can pose challenges for individuals with diabetes. It is crucial to be mindful of portion sizes and monitor blood sugar levels when consuming grapes to avoid any adverse effects.

Raisins: Concentrated Sugar Source

Raisins, often hailed asa healthy snack, have gained popularity as a superfood in recent years. They are packed with antioxidants, low in calories, and contain fiber that promotes a feeling of fullness. However, for individuals with diabetes, raisins should be consumed in moderation.

Despite their health benefits, raisins are high in sugar and carbohydrates. When released into the bloodstream, these carbs are converted into sugar, potentially causing a spike in blood sugar levels[^16^]. Therefore, it is important to exercise portion control and monitor blood sugar levels when enjoying raisins.

Lychee: Proceed with Caution

Lychee, a tropical fruit known for its sweet taste and distinctive texture, offers a range of nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, copper, and manganese. It is also a good source of fiber, making it beneficial for weight management[^17^]. However, individuals with diabetes should approach lychees with caution.

Lychees contain a different type of sugar that may adversely affect people with diabetes[^17^]. Moreover, their high sugar content, combined with the lack of fiber, can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. It is particularly important for individuals with gestational diabetes to avoid lychees, as each piece contains a significant amount of sugar[^17^].

Dates: Proceed with Caution

Dates have become a popular alternative to sugar in recent years. These dried fruits are often used as a natural sweetener and as a binding agent in homemade granola bars. However, individuals with diabetes should exercise caution when consuming dates.

Despite their natural sweetness, dates are highly concentrated with calories and sugar. Just 1/4th cup of dates contains approximately 100 calories[^18^]. If blood sugar levels are not properly controlled, it is best to avoid dates altogether.


In conclusion, maintaining a balanced and diabetes-friendly diet is essential for individuals with diabetes. While fruits offer a multitude of health benefits, it is crucial to make informed choices based on their impact on blood sugar levels. Fruits such as blueberries, peaches, apricots, apples, oranges, kiwis, pears, cherries, and strawberries are considered safe and beneficial for individuals with diabetes. These fruits are low in sugar, have a low glycemic index, and offer various nutrients that support overall health.

On the other hand, fruits such as pineapple, mango, watermelon, banana, grapes, raisins, lychees, and dates should be consumed in moderation or avoided due to their high sugar and/or carbohydrate content. These fruits have the potential to cause spikes in blood sugar levels and may disrupt blood glucose control.

As with any dietary recommendations, it is crucial for individuals with diabetes to consult with their healthcare providers or registered dietitians to develop a personalized meal plan that meets their specific needs. By making mindful choices and incorporating diabetes-friendly fruits into their diet, individuals with diabetes can enjoy a variety of delicious and nutritious options while maintaining stable blood sugar levels and overall well-being.

Remember, managing diabetes is a journey, and with the right knowledge and support, individuals can lead a fulfilling and healthy life.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

15 Diet Tips for People with Type 2 Diabetes

If you have Type 2 diabetes, your doctors have likely advised you to watch your sugar levels and carb intake. But there are other ways to keep your blood glucose, or sugar, levels in check as well.

Some 90-95 percent of all diabetes cases in the United States are Type II. In fact, statistics say that 1 in 8 Americans are diagnosed with it. It’s time to get this disease under control.


Reduce Your Portion Sizes

Ah, a simple pro-tip! It is crucial to reduce your portion sizes in order to keep your blood levels at a happy balance. Think about it this way: If you eat too much at once (particularly a dish high in carbs) your blood sugar may spike which will put you in a hyperglycemic state. Not ideal! Conversely, if you eat too little, your body may go into a hypoglycemic state, which means you don’t have enough blood sugar. So where’s the happy medium? Make sure to eat three solid meals per day with lunch and dinner looking something like this: ½ of the plate should include non-starchy vegetables and fruit, ¼ grains, and ¼ protein. For breakfast, kickstart the day with a bowl of oatmeal and a ¼ cup of berries for a boost in antioxidants.


These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes


Limit Your Protein Intake

When you have Type 2 diabetes, it’s very important to moderate your consumption of protein because you want to reduce the risk of developing a particular microvascular issue called nephropathy. Nephropathy is scientific lingo for kidney damage or kidney disease, and a diet that’s moderate to low in protein helps avoid the onset of these issues. A diet low in protein doesn’t stress the kidneys nearly as much as one that’s high in protein does. Stick to one 3-4 ounce serving of meat per day at most to promote the longevity of your kidneys!


Reduce Sugar Intake

This is pretty obvious, but it’s essential to at least mention it. We’re not going to tell you to eat a certain number of grams of sugar per day because, honestly, that’s a bit unrealistic. However, something that is realistic is the fact that you can control how much-added sugar you put into your body. Limit yourself to a maximum of one sugary treat a day—two or three squares of dark chocolate would absolutely suffice. This way you still get to quench that sweet tooth without over-indulging and causing your blood sugar levels to skyrocket!


Start Counting Carbs

Low carb this, a low carb that. Are you sick of hearing it? Well, think about it this way, you can count carbs by calculating carb choices. One serving of carbs, or one carb choice, is equivalent to 15 grams of carbs. Women should aim to have 3-4 carb choices for lunch and for dinner, which is somewhere between 45-60 grams of carbs per meal. Men, on the other hand, should have 4-5 carb choices per lunch and dinner, which yields 60-75 grams of carbs. For breakfast and snacks, stick to 1-2 choices per meal. You’re probably wondering how you even go about counting carbs, and lucky for you numbers 8 and 9 in this article will help you do just that! Keep reading for some helpful tools.


Monitor Your Blood Glucose

Acquiring a blood glucose meter, a lancet device with lancets, and test strips are key to making sure your blood glucose levels are at a stable range. For example, before meals your blood glucose levels should be 95 mg/dL or lower. One hour after eating, your levels should be at 130 mg/dL or lower and two hours after eating your levels should be at 120 mg/dL or lower. A good time to check your blood sugar would be when you have an a heightened feeling of thirst, headache, difficulty paying attention, or feel weak and fatigued. However, you’ll want to get an idea on where your body’s levels are at specific times throughout the day, so you know what to expect when you prick your finger. For five days, try taking your blood glucose levels three times a day at either one of the following times: before breakfast, before lunch/dinner, two hours after a meal, before intense exercise, when you are not feeling well, and before bed. Make sure to record in a journal so you can have these numbers for reference!


These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes


Learn About Glycemic Index

This is super important! The glycemic index is a system that ranks foods on a scale from 1 to 100 based on the impact they have on blood sugar levels. Foods that are low in glycemic index are the ones you want to have comprising a majority of your diet! Fill up on non-starchy veggies like broccoli, kale, spinach, and just about any leafy green or fruit you can think of, and limit your intake of things like potatoes, meat, and dairy products. Make sure to steer clear of high glycemic index foods like white bread, white rice, and soda.



Whether you prefer aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, swimming and biking or anaerobic exercises like lifting and interval circuits, both will help you manage your Type 2 diabetes. Why? When your muscles require glucose (blood sugar), they contract and push that glucose out of your blood and into your cells. As a result, this helps balance your blood glucose levels. So slip on a pair of sneakers and hit the trail or gym!


Download This App

Of course there’s an app to help you monitor your blood glucose levels! Sugar Sense is an excellent app that you can download for free on your smartphone that will help you keep track of your blood glucose levels, carb count, monitor your weight, and more. Download ASAP for immediate relief!


Visit This Website

Cronometer is another excellent online tool that enables you to record meals, log exercise and biometrics, and more. Sign up for free!


Join a Support Group

No scientific study is needed to stress how vital it is to talk to other people who are also enduring similar struggles. Hop online and see what groups you can join in your area, you may even meet new friends, workout buddies, and dinner pals who understand what you’re going through. You are strong and you deserve to have people to vent to and bounce ideas off!


Reduce Stress

Did you know that stress can actually elevate your blood glucose levels? Keep your mind quiet and free of stress by taking a break at work and going for a walk and engaging in some deep breathing. Your health is your number one priority, updating that excel sheet or balancing that checkbook can wait!


Practice Yoga

This goes hand-in-hand with reducing stress. Inhaling positive energy and exhaling negative energy including, worries, stress, and feelings of sadness and fueling that breath through movement is incredibly beneficial to the mind and body.


Do Not Eat Fast Food

Drop that McDonald’s breakfast McMuffin because you’re on the one-way road to better health! In a 15-year study consisting of 3,000 adults, it was found that those who ate fast food more than twice a week developed insulin resistance at twice the rate as those who didn’t consume fast food. And for those with diabetes, eating highly processed, refined food can increase the risk of developing those dangerous complications previously mentioned.


Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

Contrary to popular belief, these fake sweeteners, called non-nutritive sweeteners or NNS, are not healthy for people with diabetes to consume. According to a study conducted by Harvard’s School of Public Health, consuming artificially sweetened drinks contributed to a 47 percent increase in BMI. The study finished in 2013 after monitoring 3,682 individuals for 7-8 years. So why would this happen if these sweeteners do not even contain regular table sugar (sucrose) which is thought to be one of the leading causes of visceral fat, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes? The answer is quite simple, artificial sweeteners are anywhere from 180-20,000 times sweeter than table sugar. Frequent consumption can cause an alteration in your taste buds, which makes vegetables and even fruits taste more bitter than they actually are. This causes you to neglect those foods and go after foods that satisfy that desire for sweetness. Yikes!



Shed a Few Pounds!

With all of these factors, it’s no doubt that you will lose a couple of pounds. Shedding just 10-15 pounds can significantly help balance your blood glucose levels, so get off the couch and get cracking because there’s no time to waste.

What To Do After a Heart Attack?

red vehicle in timelapse photography

The phrase “serious as a heart attack” exists for a reason: Heart attacks are a medical emergency that can impact your entire life — and can be deadly. But by adopting healthy lifestyle changes and closely following your doctor’s guidance, you can play an enormous role in your recovery and help prevent future heart attacks.

Interventional cardiologists Leslie Cho, MD, and Grant Reed, MD, talk about what to expect after a heart attack, including after-effects, lifestyle changes, mental health and more.

What does life look like after a heart attack?

“A heart attack should be treated like a life-changing experience,” Dr. Reed says, “and taking an active role in your health can help aid your recovery.”

According to the American Heart Association, 1 in 5 people who has a heart attack is readmitted to the hospital for a second one within five years. But with proper self-care and a focus on your health, you can lower your risk of recurrence.

“Following a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle, taking your medications as prescribed, stopping tobacco use, and participating in cardiac rehabilitation can maximize your chances for recovery after a heart attack,” he says.

How long it takes to recover from a heart attack

Most people can return to work or resume their usual activities two weeks to three months after a heart attack. But your individual recovery time is dependent on a number of factors, including:

  • How early your heart attack is caught and treated.
  • The size and severity of your heart attack.
  • Your pre-heart attack health and habits.
  • The lifestyle changes you make following your heart attack.

“The most common reason for a heart attack is a sudden blockage of a heart artery,” Dr. Reed explains. “The effects that the heart attack has on your heart generally depend on how large of a vessel is blocked and for how long.”

Patients who are treated quickly and properly may have fewer symptoms and long-term consequences, which is why it’s so important to know the signs of a heart attack and to seek immediate medical attention if you think you’re having one.


These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

What happens immediately after a heart attack

Once doctors have confirmed that you’re having (or have had) a heart attack, you’ll be taken to the cardiac catheterization laboratory.

“The most effective treatment for a heart attack is a heart catheterization, at which time the blocked blood vessel can be opened with a balloon and a stent placed to keep the artery open permanently,” Dr. Reed says. “The sooner this happens, the better your overall prognosis.”

The lingering effects of a heart attack

In the hours after a heart attack, you may experience:

  • Chest discomfort.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Tiredness/fatigue.

These symptoms usually improve within the first day but can last longer if heart failure — a weakness of the heart muscle or valves — develops.

It’s also common for survivors to experience mental health struggles in the wake of their heart attack. (More on that in a moment.)

How to recover from a heart attack

Barring complications, most people spend two days to one week in the hospital afterward. But your recovery is just beginning.

In the days and weeks following your heart attack, you’ll be under careful observation by your healthcare providers, who want to make sure you’re recovering and adopting heart-healthy habits that will lessen your likelihood of a future heart attack.

“A heart attack is a serious event, but most patients can return to a good quality of life afterward,” Dr. Reed says. “It may take a few weeks for you to feel like yourself again, though.”

After a heart attack comes cardiac rehab

Upon leaving the hospital, you’ll be enrolled in a cardiac rehabilitation program, designed to get you on the road to heart health through weight management, nutrition, exercise and risk reduction.

“Studies show that patients who participate in cardiac rehab tend to have a better quality of life and live longer after having a heart attack,” Dr. Reed says.

Cardiac rehabilitation, which is typically 36 sessions long, is an outpatient program of supervised exercise, guided by an exercise physiologist. In cardiac rehab, you’ll learn a variety of heart-healthy habits.

1. Get enough exercise

Exercise is a critical element of heart attack recovery and living a heart-healthy life. In cardiac rehab, you’ll be monitored for symptoms and heart rhythm changes during your exercise, and you’ll track your progress over time.

First, you’ll determine your functional capacity (your ability to perform daily activities that require you to physically exert yourself), which is compromised after a heart attack.

“You’ll get on a treadmill so medical professionals can see what your functional capacity is, and then you’ll try to increase that number by about 20%,” Dr. Cho explains. “By the end of cardiac rehab, we want you to be exercising most days of the week for at least 30 minutes a day.”

2. Eat a heart-healthy diet

“Dietary changes to minimize saturated fats and cholesterol and to reduce salt intake are essential,” Dr. Reed says. The Mediterranean Diet, which is considered the heart-healthiest style of eating, promotes:

  • Eating mostly fruits, vegetables, grains, olive oil and nuts.
  • Incorporating some fish and poultry while limiting red and processed meats.
  • Consuming minimal dairy and sweets.

3. Lower your blood pressure

Chronically high blood pressure is directly linked to cardiovascular disease, but weight loss, exercise, lowered salt intake and prescription medications can all help lower your blood pressure.

“Getting your blood pressure to a goal of <130/80 mmHg can help reduce stress on the heart and the future risk of a heart attack and stroke in the future,” Dr. Reed says.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes


4. Reach a healthy weight

Eating a healthy diet and exercising more may help you to lose weight, which is also associated with a healthier heart.

“Weight loss to a goal BMI target under 25 kg/m2 may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular events and improve quality of life,” Dr. Reed says.

5. Focus on your mental health

“People underestimate the amount of mental trauma that a heart attack causes,” Dr. Cho says. “It’s a lot for patients and their families to deal with.”

Studies show that people who have heart disease are more likely to develop depression than those who don’t, which makes it all the more crucial to protect your mental health after a heart attack.

Don’t ignore changes in your mood, and be on the lookout for symptoms of depression, including:

  • Sadness.
  • Tiredness and fatigue.
  • A loss of interest or pleasure in activities.

If you start to experience these feelings, reach out to your healthcare provider to discuss them.

6. Manage your stress

Cardiac rehab will also teach you stress reduction techniques to try to improve your mental and emotional wellness and lessen your chances of a future heart attack.

“You’ll learn behavior modification techniques, including how to breathe and how to manage your stress and your anger,” Dr. Cho says. “That’s one of the reasons why study after study shows that people in cardiac rehab live longer after a heart attack than people who don’t do cardiac rehab.”

7. Quit smoking

The facts don’t lie: It’s vital to quit smoking after you’ve had a heart attack. Seek help from your healthcare provider if you need help kicking the habit.

People who smoke are four times more likely to die of heart disease than non-smokers, and studies show that smokers who resume the habit after a heart attack are three times more likely to die than those who quit.

Be sure to take your medications as directed

After a heart attack, you can expect to be put on a number of medications to maximize your heart function and minimize the chance of a future heart attack. These may also include cholesterol-lowering medications such as statins or PCSK9 inhibitors.

And while it’s common for heart attack patients to feel upset about suddenly being on multiple medications, try to focus on the overall objective — your health.

“Sometimes people fixate on the number of medications they’re on, comparing themselves to people they know who aren’t on any,” Dr. Cho says. “But it’s not about how many medications you’re on. It’s about doing what you need to do to live a long, high-quality life.”

Stay in close touch with your doctor

When you’re recovering from a heart attack, it’s important that you follow your healthcare providers’ instructions and not skip any appointments. Your doctor will monitor your progress to determine how often you need to return to the office.

“After finishing cardiac rehab, most people are seen by their cardiologist every three months for the first year, and then every six months, and then eventually you’ll get down to once a year,” Dr. Cho says.

Have faith in your ability to recover

With improved prevention and rehabilitation, as well as advances in treatments, you can recover from a heart attack and go on to live a healthy, happy and fulfilled life for many years to come.

“Heart attacks used to be a death sentence, but they’re not anymore — not if you take good care of yourself,” Dr. Cho says. “A heart attack doesn’t have to mean the end. It could mean a new beginning.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

7 Carbs Causing Chaos on Your Blood Sugar

Nearly 1 out of 2 adults in the United States experience consistently high blood sugar levels, or hypertension, according to research conducted by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association. This condition puts one at risk of heart disease and stroke. And one of the most influential foods when it comes to unsteady blood sugar levels is carbohydrates.

There are two types of carbohydrates: simple carbs and complex carbs. “When you hear simple carbohydrates, think of foods that have been processed to a point where they no longer contain any fiber or protein,” says Sydney Greene, MS, RD, a registered dietitian on our medical expert board. “When eaten on their own,” she goes on to say, “[simple carbs] will cause a higher spike in blood sugar than more complex carbohydrates because they are quickly digested.”

The CDC recommends that people with diabetes (or prediabetes) should commit only half of their daily calories to carbs, as well as eat the same amount of carbs at each meal to maintain blood sugar consistency.


These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

A lot of the time you don’t have to completely cut out the carbs you love to save your blood sugar levels from experiencing chaos. Instead, adding other components to a carbohydrate food—such as healthy fats or protein—can help balance out a meal. There are also a few easy food swaps for refined, processed carbs that will offer up more whole grains and fiber to get you on your way to controlling your blood sugar.

According to dietitians, these are the seven worst carbs that may be spiking your blood sugar levels.


White bread

white bread

White bread is a common household staple. Many people use it to start the day off by throwing a few slices in the toaster or to get through lunchtime by building a sandwich. However, because of its high glycemic index (GI)—a measure of how quickly a food spikes your blood sugar—as soon as this carb is digested it can raise blood sugar very quickly. With a GI score of 71 (out of 100), one slice of white bread alone contributes a significant amount of glucose (or sugar) to the body’s bloodstream.

No need to toss out the loaf in your pantry quite yet. In fact, a simple addition of some healthy fats and fibers, like one’s found in avocados for example, “will slow down the rate at which blood sugar goes up,” says Greene.



chocolate chip muffins

Blueberry, chocolate chip, cinnamon, and so many more. Muffins are sugar-filled pastries that can cause problems if you have high blood sugar. The sweet treat contains many simple carbs, meaning there will be rapid digestion and lots of sugar absorption, explains Greene. “To help regulate the absorption of [the] carbohydrate,” Greene suggests topping your muffin with nut butter to reap the most benefits.

One great example is peanut butter, which not only has a low GI score, but that the spread has healthy oils, protein, and fiber that can support controlled blood sugar levels.


White Rice

white rice brown bowl

Not all forms of rice are bad, but eating too much white rice may be more harmful to some with high blood sugar. The milling process of white rice removes many beneficial nutrients the grain starts with, such as fiber. Research has shown that people who consume high amounts of white rice have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes as the grain has a GI of 66 or higher.

Therefore, if rice is a recurring food in your diet, Greene suggests pairing the carb with a protein—such as salmon or eggs. You can also try switching to brown rice or whole grains (quinoa) to fill in any nutritional gaps, as they are more well-rounded, complex carbohydrates.




You can usually find these crunchy bites on the snack table at a party, but you may want to think about how your blood sugar might fluctuate before you dive right in. On their own, pretzels are considered refined, processed carbs that lack fiber. Eating the salty snack solo will result in unwanted amounts of glucose, and so, “those with high blood sugar [may] have more trouble with keeping blood sugars under control,” explains Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD, another registered dietitian on our medical expert board.

However, combining pretzels with a dip can up the nutritional value in one bite. Made from chickpeas, hummus is a fantastic plant-based protein that contains healthy fats and tons of fiber to help steady digestion and manage blood sugar. One study in the Nutrition Journal found that, in comparison with white bread, hummus raised blood sugar levels four times less and did not drastically change the body’s insulin levels.



plain pasta

Plain pasta is another white, refined flour-based food that can cause a quick influx in the body’s blood sugar levels. Like many others on the list, pasta is high in carbohydrates and low on digestion-slowing nutrients, such as protein and fats.

“Refined starches [that] contain little to no fiber may cause blood sugar spikes,” Hembree says. You can get a more nutritious bang for your buck, by adding vegetables or beans to have equal levels of fiber alongside your carbs, she recommends.




While it may seem simple enough, one of the worst things you can do for your blood sugar is eating food that is mainly sugar. Breakfast cereals—even the ones that say “healthy” on them—contain low amounts of protein, a macronutrient that can not only keep you satisfied but also help stabilize blood sugar levels.

For a better balance of carbohydrates and protein in your breakfast, swap out your sugary cereal for a bowl of oatmeal topped with fruit. This combination of whole grains and berries offers fiber, protein, and a more reasonable amount of carbohydrates that will digest slower and more safely in terms of blood sugar. Plus, with the addition of berries, you won’t have to give up a sweet, flavorful meal.


French Fries


Technically, french fries do come from a vegetable—potatoes—but they are a high-carb food that can cause chaos to one’s blood sugar. French fries can be high on the glycemic index, with a GI as high as 82, forcing your body to absorb the food far too fast and see blood sugar levels sky-rocket, Hembree explains. According to Harvard Health, one cup of potatoes has similar effects on blood sugar as drinking a can of soda. Plus, once they’re boiled, deep-fried, and covered in salt, the damage can extend from your blood sugar to your waistline and even blood pressure.