10 Foods That Help Ease Your Joint Pain

ginger and tumeric roots ease arthritis pain

Food is medicine. If you’re struggling with pain from arthritis, eating foods that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties — along with any drugs or other treatments your doctor recommends — may help.

“Research is ongoing, but scientists already have found that certain foods may reduce arthritis-related inflammation and pain,” says registered dietitian Andrea Dunn, RD, LD, CDE.

Here are 10 foods that Dunn recommends for a diet that may help ease your arthritis pain and improve your heart health:

1. Green tea

Green tea is known to be high in nutrients and antioxidants and has the ability to reduce inflammation, says Dunn. Studies performed on animals also found that it can help reduce the incidence and severity of rheumatoid arthritis.

“To reap the benefits, aim for two servings a day, either hot or cold,” Dunn notes. “Be sure to use tea bags and not the powdered tea mixes, which are more processed. If you drink the decaffeinated variety, make sure the process is all natural.”

2. Salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel

These fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which studies have found can decrease inflammation. According to the Arthritis Foundation, eating a 3 to 4 ounce serving of these fish two or more times a week is recommended for protecting the heart and reducing inflammation.

While fresh fish can get pricey quickly, one tip to make it more affordable is by looking in the freezer section or buying canned sardines, salmon or tuna. Be sure to choose lower sodium options when purchasing canned items if you need to keep your sodium in check.

3. Berries, apples and pomegranates

Berries are rich in antioxidants and the Arthritis Foundation notes that blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries and boysenberries all provide arthritis-fighting power. You’ll get health benefits no matter if you eat them frozen, fresh or dehydrated (without added sugar), so be sure to eat a variety of berries throughout the week.

Apples are also high in antioxidants and a good source of fiber. Plus, they provide crunch and can help curb your appetite for unhealthy snacks, Dunn says.

Pomegranates, which are classified as berry fruits, are rich in tannins which can fight the inflammation of arthritis. Add these to a salad or stir into plain yogurt for some added benefits.

4. Vegetables

Take it a step further and include anti-inflammatory vegetables in your daily diet such as cauliflower, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts and broccoli in either frozen or fresh form. Add them into your stir-fry, salads or as healthy side dishes.

While making big changes to your diet won’t happen overnight, adding a variety of arthritis-friendly foods little by little will help you with your overall health and how well you manage your arthritis pain.

5. Canola and olive oils

Skip the vegetable oil or corn oil and reach for these two varieties, which have a good balance of the omega-3 and omega-6 acids, both of which are essential fatty acids. Studies have found that a component in olive oil called oleocanthal has anti-inflammatory properties and is known to be especially good for heart health, too, Dunn says.

6. Ginger and turmeric

Thanks to the chemicals in these plants, ginger and turmeric are also known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Both are widely used in Chinese and Indian cuisine.

The scientific data on recommended daily or weekly intakes of ginger or turmeric are mainly with supplemented doses, but a healthy sprinkling of these spices on foods or in beverages could bring limited health benefits, Dunn says. They’ll even add a little kick to your favorite dishes. Moreover, small amounts of ginger can help settle an upset stomach.

7. Nuts

All nuts are high in protein, low in saturated fats and contain no cholesterol, unlike animal proteins. Eat them alone or add them to your favorite yogurt, salad or healthy dish for an extra boost of protein.

“By replacing a serving of meat with just a quarter cup of nuts can help you avoid the inflammation you may experience when eating red meat,” Dunn notes. “Unlike meat, nuts also are a good source of fiber. Choose unsalted nuts to limit the amount of sodium in your diet.”

8. Whole grains

Whole grains don’t have to be boring. From quinoa to farro to bulgur, there’s plenty of variety to choose from and incorporate into your diet. These varieties add extra nutrients and fiber that only whole grains can offer naturally. To reap the benefits, the Arthritis Foundation recommends eating between three and six ounces of grains a day.

Try them as side dishes instead of more common choices, such as white rice, Dunn says. Some more diverse whole grain options include freekeh, a Middle Eastern cuisine staple, or teff, used to make Ethiopian flatbread.

9. Salsa

Mixing salsa into your daily diet is a great way to increase your intake of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants, thanks to its rich mix of tomatoes, onions, and other vegetables. Dunn recommends using it for a vegetable dip in place of high calorie dressings commonly found in the grocery store.

10. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is a classic favorite but large-scale random control studies have not been done to recommend dark chocolate candy in any quantity to ease inflammation. If you enjoy dark chocolate, look at least 70% or higher cocoa content (the higher the cocoa content, the lower the amount of sugar in the chocolate).

“Just keep portions small to limit the saturated fat and calories,” says Dunn. “For example, a half-ounce of dark chocolate daily goes a long way for intense flavor and chocolate enjoyment.”

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

When Is the Best Time to Weigh Yourself?

If you’re trying to lose weight, the scale can be a double-edged sword. When you’re slaying your diet and exercise goals, stepping on it brings a wave of joy. But when you hit a slump or plateau, you might have the urge to throw it out the window.

Your scale can be a useful tool in your health journey. But you need to know when and how to weigh yourself to get accurate and helpful info from it. Registered dietitian Chelsey Ludwiczak, RD, shares her expertise on how to use your scale to reach your health goals.

Should you weigh yourself regularly?

Your weight is just one piece of your overall health picture. So do you really need to weigh yourself?

“Regularly weighing yourself can help you stay on track with your weight loss or weight maintenance goals,” says Ludwiczak. “It’s like having a weekly budget. If you go over your budget one week, you want to know so you can fix it. If you don’t realize you’re overspending every week, it adds up.”

The scale helps you keep track of your own weight so that you can change behaviors before 1 pound of weight gain becomes 5 or 10.

But there’s an exception to the weigh-in habit. “If you have a history of eating disorders or anxiety about the scale, avoid weighing yourself for now,” Ludwiczak says. “Speak with a psychologist or mental health professional about these concerns.”

How often to weigh yourself

It’s not how often you weigh yourself, but how you do it, Ludwiczak says. The key is consistency.

“It should always be on the same scale, at the same time and wearing the same thing or without clothes,” she explains.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes If you want to step on the scale weekly, for example, do it on the same day each week. “Your weight won’t be consistent if you weigh yourself on Friday and Monday,” she says. “Many people have a different routine on the weekends. They might eat out more, drink alcohol or snack more. Compare that to Friday, if you’ve been eating consistently for five days, and you’ll see a big difference.”

You’ll also get a more reliable result if you weigh yourself first thing in the morning, as food and drink can change what the scale says for a few hours.

The best day to weigh yourself

Some research says you should weigh yourself on Wednesdays because it’s the middle of the week. Ludwiczak says Wednesdays are good, but you’re not tied to that day.

“Many people like to see what they weigh on Friday because they’ve had a consistent routine throughout the week,” she explains. “You see where your weight is after you’ve held a routine for five days. Then you can adjust your routine if you’re not seeing results.”

Reasons for “overnight” weight gain

Certain things may cause a rapid change on the scale, sending you into a panic. But take a breath — overnight weight gain is not a thing. “Some people ask why they seemingly gained five pounds overnight,” Ludwiczak says. “We know that 3,500 calories equals one pound of weight gain. If you’ve gained five pounds overnight, it’s unlikely that you ate 17,500 calories. It’s probably due to other factors.”

Water retention is a major cause of an overnight change on the scale. You might be retaining more water if you:

  • Ate high-sodium foods.
  • Drank alcohol.
  • Traveled, including flying or long drives.
  • Have premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or started your menstrual cycle.

If you’re retaining water without an obvious reason, see your doctor.

Maybe you’re not bloated, but your weight still went up overnight. In those cases, think about the last time you went to the bathroom. Constipation is another reason people see a rapid weight increase.

When the scale won’t budge

Even the most dedicated person can hit a weight-loss plateau, which is oh-so frustrating. But the number on the scale is a piece of your overall health, not the whole picture.

“During any health journey, there’s more than one way to measure success,” Ludwiczak says. “The scale is just one factor. You can also take body measurements once a week, such as your waist or thighs. Those measurements may show that you’re losing inches instead of pounds, suggesting you’re losing fat mass and gaining muscle, since muscle weighs more than fat.”

Look in your closet for another way to check in on your health goals. “Maybe your favorite pair of jeans fits better, even though you haven’t lost much weight,” Ludwiczak says. “This could be a sign that your body composition is changing, even though the scale isn’t reflecting that.”

Your weight doesn’t define you

Maybe you’ve got a number in mind, but your scale taunts you with another one. Don’t give up. It’s time to take some power away from the scale.

“You’re more than that number,” Ludwiczak says. “Your scale isn’t going to reflect all the positive changes you make. Think about how your food choices are making you healthier. Focus on the amazing mental and physical benefits of regular exercise. Maybe you have more energy to play with your kids. So many victories are not scale-related.”

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

4 Health Benefits of Black Garlic

black garlic, garlic benefits

On its own, raw garlic is a pungent, powerful vegetable that can impact the flavor profile of any dish while also providing an abundance of health benefits. Many of those same health benefits are further amplified when you consider incorporating black garlic into your diet, according to registered dietitian Beth Czerwony, MS, RD, CSOWM, LD.

What is black garlic?

Black garlic is created through an extensive fermentation and aging process in which raw, white garlic bulbs are kept between 140 and 190 F (60 to 87 C) at high humidity for long periods — sometimes up to a month. This process causes the color, texture and taste of the entire bulb to change.

“This helps the bulb become tender and turn into this funky, black color,” says Czerwony.

First-timers may expect black garlic to taste like roasted garlic, but their flavor profiles are quite different: Rather than caramelizing its sugars at high heat like roasted garlic, black garlic is held at a consistent temperature for long periods, a “low and slow” process that gives it a molasses-like, subtly sweet flavor profile and a sticky texture.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

 

Is black garlic healthy?

Due to the fermentation and aging process, Czerwony says garlic’s inherent health benefits are simply amplified and improved from their original state. However, Czerwony warns that patients who are on blood thinners may want to remain cautious when considering incorporating black garlic into their diet.

“If you’re on blood thinners, garlic does tend to thin the blood a little bit more. But if you’re not allergic to it and you don’t have any kind of blood clotting disorders, those are the only things I’ve found as potential cons,” says Czerwony.

The health benefits of black garlic are wide-ranging.

Improves brain health

Black garlic is a natural anti-inflammatory, and since we know that inflammation in the brain can impair memory or worsen brain function over time, black garlic can help with overall brain health. “There is a compound that some scientists found that is related to Alzheimer’s disease, and they’re thinking that if we could have less brain inflammation, then this compound will be less prevalent and decrease chances of people getting Alzheimer’s,” says Czerwony.

Contains more antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that protect your cells from free radicals (molecules that play a role in many conditions like heart disease or cancer). Black garlic contains two to three times more antioxidants than raw garlic as a result of the fermentation process. “When we’re looking at antioxidants, that’s going to help protect your cells from oxidative damage,” says Czerwony. “There are even some studies that suggest it has anti-cancer properties and that it could protect your liver from damage.”

Helps regulate blood sugar

Having high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can cause severe complications like heart disease, kidney failure and nerve damage, while having low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can cause seizures, fainting and death. Irregular blood sugar levels can lead to or cause further complications with diabetes, but studies suggest black garlic helps regulate blood sugar levels. “Some black garlic has this probiotic that helps prevent the development of gestational diabetes,” says Czerwony.  “Maybe this helps pull back on your appetite a little bit and reduce your blood sugar levels. When you have lower blood sugar, then the chances of having complications from diabetes decreases.”

Reduces the risk of heart disease

Black garlic can reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol and increase your body’s HDL “good” cholesterol. As a result, this can decrease inflammation in your heart and arteries while increasing blood flow. “Overall, it’s going to help your lipid profile improve,” says Czerwony.

How to use black garlic

Since black garlic is much more pungent than raw, white garlic, Czerwony suggests using black garlic in small and powerful ways to start off.

“It may overwhelm other ingredients,” she says. “I would suggest using it as the central flavor.”

Some popular approaches to incorporating black garlic into your diet may include the following:

  • Mix it with a balsamic vinaigrette and pair it with a salad, grilled fish or red meat.
  • Saute it with a little onion and use it as a garnish.
  • Dice and mix it into an olive tapenade.
  • Mince and blend it with olive oil and sea salt for dipping bread.
  • Mash it into potatoes, hummus or other dips.

For every clove of garlic that a recipe calls for, Czerwony suggests using half that when cooking with black garlic, and then add more as-needed.

“Healthy foods still need to taste good,” says Czerwony. “Garlic is really easy to implement and gives dishes a flavor boost. This will get you to your health goals a little bit faster.”

Where can I buy black garlic?

You can find black garlic — whole bulbs, peeled cloves, purees and more — online, in health food stores and specialty supermarkets. You’ll want to store it at room temperature until you open it, and then you should keep it refrigerated for up to a month.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

5 Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

cayenne, cayenne pepper, spicy foods, diet, nutrition, benefits of spices

Looking to add a little spice to your life — or your diet? Cayenne pepper may be just what the doctor ordered. This popular red pepper adds versatile flavor to your meals and is chock-full of health benefits to boot.

“Cayenne peppers are a great addition to a healthy diet,” says registered dietitian Alexis Supan, RD. Here’s why cayenne pepper deserves a spot in your kitchen cabinet — and how to add it to your dining routine.

What is cayenne pepper?

Cayenne peppers are long, skinny peppers with a glossy, cherry-red hue. Officially known as Capsicum annum, these pungent peppers are members of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, along with their distant cousins, potatoes, eggplants and tomatoes. Cayenne peppers are thought to have originated in South America, but their easygoing spice has made them a popular addition to cuisines around the world.

Cayenne peppers have a hot-but-not-too-hot level of kick. If you’re a spicy food fan, you might be familiar with the Scoville scale. This scale measures the heat of a chili pepper, from unspicy bell peppers at one end to burn-your-face-off ghost peppers and Carolina reapers at the other.

A jalapeño pepper packs about 5,000 Scoville Heat Units, while a cayenne pepper is more like 30,000 to 50,000. “Cayenne peppers are quite a bit hotter than a jalapeño,” Supan says. “Most people wouldn’t go around snacking on raw cayenne peppers.”

Luckily, you can reap the many benefits of cayenne peppers without eating them like apples. Whether you cook with fresh peppers or sprinkle dried and powdered cayenne pepper into your meals, there are good reasons to embrace this special spice.

Is cayenne pepper healthy?

Like most colorful produce, cayenne peppers are a good source of nutrients. In particular, they are rich in:

  • Vitamin C.
  • Vitamin A.
  • Vitamin B6.
  • Vitamin K.

“If you can get your hands on fresh cayenne peppers, you’ll get a lot more vitamins. One fresh pepper has 72% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C and 50% of vitamin A,” Supan says.

The powdered form doesn’t contain quite as many vitamins as the fresh peppers do. Still, dried cayenne powder is a good source of vitamin A, she adds. “In just one teaspoon, you’ll get 15% of your daily vitamin A.”

And vitamin A is an essential nutrient. It plays an important role in:

  • Vision.
  • Reproduction.
  • Immune system health.
  • Proper function of the heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs.
  •  

    These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Cayenne pepper benefits

The health benefits of cayenne peppers go well beyond their vitamin content. Many of their benefits come from capsaicin, the natural compound that gives all peppers their spicy kick.

How, exactly, are cayenne peppers good for your health? Let us count the good things that cayenne can do.

1. Provides beneficial plant compounds

“Cayenne peppers are fantastic sources of antioxidants and other plant compounds that protect our cells and promote health,” says Supan. Antioxidants, along with related compounds like flavonoids and carotenoids, are compounds naturally found in plants.

These compounds protect our cells against damage from harmful substances in the environment. “They fight the processes that age our cells to help keep our cells young,” Supan explains.

A diet rich in antioxidants can help ward off diseases, including heart disease and certain types of cancers. And cayenne peppers are a particularly good source of these superstar compounds. In one study, researchers compared antioxidant levels in 20 different hot peppers. Cayenne peppers came out on top.

2. Protects your heart

Cayenne peppers can protect heart health in several ways. There’s evidence, for instance, that capsaicin can protect against inflammation in your body. Inflammation plays a role in many different diseases, including heart disease. “Cayenne peppers can keep blood vessels healthy and may help lower blood pressure,” Supan adds.

Researchers found that people who regularly ate chili peppers were 13% less likely to die than people who avoided spicy fare. The reason? Spice lovers had a lower risk of heart-related diseases like heart attacks and strokes.

What’s more, researchers found that when people season their meals with cayenne pepper, they’re less likely to reach for the saltshaker. “Salt isn’t so good for heart health, especially in people with high blood pressure,” Supan says. “Increasing the amount of cayenne pepper you eat might help you cut back on salt.”

3. Improves digestion

Lots of people associate spicy foods with heartburn or an upset stomach. But for many people, spice can have the opposite effect. “Cayenne pepper is really helpful for digestion,” Supan explains. “It increases gastric juices and enzyme production in the stomach, which helps us break down food.”

There’s also evidence that spicy foods like cayenne peppers can boost the good bacteria in your gut. The microbiome is a community of bacteria in your gut that are important for a healthy immune system. Capsaicin may help promote a healthy microbiome.

Of course, spicy fare can trigger heartburn in some people. If cayenne pepper doesn’t agree with you, don’t force it. “If your body doesn’t like it, you’ll know,” she says.

4. Maintain a healthy weight

Cayenne peppers and other capsaicin-containing spicy foods may help with weight loss. Spicy foods can rev up the metabolism a bit, helping burn calories. It can also help you feel fuller after eating.

“The effect isn’t enough to overcome an unhealthy diet,” Supan warns, “but as part of a nutritious eating plan, spicy foods may suppress appetite and help with weight loss.”

What’s more, a spicy, flavorful diet tends to be more satisfying. And when you’re satisfied, you’re less likely to reach for not-so-healthy foods and snacks. “People who use strong flavors and add a lot of spices like cayenne are often happier with their diets,” Supan says. “People who enjoy these flavorful herbs and spices typically eat well overall.”

5. Ease pain and clear congestion

Some evidence suggests that spicy peppers are good for an achy (or stuffy) head. “When you’re stuffed up, spicy foods can help clear the congestion,” Supan says. And if your head is pounding, spicy chili or tacos may help. “Cayenne peppers have also been shown to help relieve headaches,” she says.

Capsaicin is also used in topical form to treat pain. Creams made from the potent spice can be rubbed on your skin to treat arthritis pain.

How to use cayenne pepper

Fresh or powdered, cayenne pepper is a super addition to your diet, Supan says. “One of the great things about cayenne is that, unlike a lot of spices, it seems to blend with every type of cuisine,” she says. “It’s used in dishes from just about every country in the world.”

That makes it a great choice for spice novices who are just dipping their toe into the world of hot peppers. Wondering where to start? Grab a pinch and get creative, Supan says. “You can sprinkle a bit of the powdered spice into just about any food. Just experiment until you find the balance you like best.”

Once you’ve developed a taste for the punchy pepper, there are lots of creative ways to use it.

  • Mexican hot chocolate: Stir powdered cayenne into hot cocoa for a sweet-and-spicy kick that will warm you up on the coldest of days.
  • Boost your coffee: Supan likes to sprinkle just a bit of the spice into her coffee for a kicky pick-me-up.
  • Grab a pan: If you’re trying fresh cayenne peppers for the first time, sauteing is the most user-friendly way to prepare them, Supan says. “Chop them up, sauté them and add them to a stir fry,” she suggests.
  • Go brave with raw peppers: Raw, fresh cayenne peppers pack the most punch. If you want to fully embrace their spicy power, try chopping them into small pieces and adding them to homemade salsa. They also make a great addition to meat marinades.

One word of warning: As your palate adjusts to cayenne peppers, you might find you like your foods hotter and hotter. But with all the potential health benefits of a spicy diet, that’s a very good thing indeed.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

5 Tips To Help You Snack Healthier at Work

healthy snacks at work

Eating healthy doesn’t apply solely to what you consume for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That is, unless the only time you eat is at mealtimes.

Most of us, however, like to have a couple of snacks during the day. The right snacks can help us to focus mentally by taking the edge off our hunger and can provide a much-needed energy boost until the next meal.

It’s important to choose wisely when selecting your snacks. You may eat the healthiest lunches in the office, but all of those salad greens and turkey sandwiches on whole-grain breads won’t amount to much if you’re noshing on junk between meals.

Junk food such as candy bars, soda and potato chips won’t help to power you through the afternoon — and consistent consumption of junk foods can harm your body over the long run by boosting your risk for disease.

One strategy to make sure you’re eating the most nutritious snacks is to plan ahead, says dietitian Beth Czerwony, MS, RD, CSOWM, LD. This way you avoid deciding while standing in front of the vending machine (or your fridge) at 3 p.m. with your stomach growling.

Here are five tips help make you snack savvy:

1. Plan your snacks for the work week and make them at home on Sunday night

Put your snacks in serving-size bags or containers so all you have to do is grab a couple on your way out of the door in the morning (or can easily grab one between Zoom meetings).

Czerwony suggests making up individual containers of juicy watermelon or other fruit. Or cut up crunchy celery into sticks that you can munch on at your desk. The point is to plan healthy and plan ahead.

“It makes it much easier when you feel overworked, overstressed and overscheduled,” she says.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

2. Considering adding a little protein to keep hunger at bay

Pair a handful of heart-healthy nuts to accompany the fruit or a tablespoon of peanut butter for your celery.

3. Snack on fruits with the skin on them

Don’t peel your fruit. The skins on apples, peaches or plums provide extra fiber and will help you to feel fuller for a longer period of time. Whole fruits are delicious and portable, easily stored at work or eaten without plates or utensils when you’re on the go. Wash the fruit at home so you can eat them immediately at work.

4. Pack snacks that won’t spoil quickly

Consider high-fiber health bars or a cup or two of a nutritious dry cereal. Czerwony suggests keeping a pre-seasoned pack of tuna at your desk that you can easily open and eat with a fork.

“Right there you have a lunch if you get stuck at your desk unexpectedly for the day,” Czerwony says. “You don’t want to skip eating. That’s another bad thing to do when you’re trying to maintain your weight.”

5. Try drinking a glass of water or decaffeinated tea with your snack

Liquids can help you to feel full and are good for you too. Research suggests that adequate hydration increases cell metabolism, allows the muscles to work harder by providing oxygen and promotes the body’s elimination of waste.

These Seeds can Lower Blood Sugar levels by 35%

variety of assorted-color beans

Diabetes – much like heart disease – is becoming more prevalent every passing year. Diabetes in every form refers to the body’s inability to produce or respond to insulin – a hormone secreted by the pancreas that converts sugar into energy. Insulin resistance triggered by diabetes – type-1 diabetes, type-2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes – results in spiking blood sugar levels which can be detrimental for health if not managed timely.

Diabetes risk and management depend on a diet – studies stress on a high-protein and low-carbohydrate diet for better blood glucose levels. However, there are some foods that can particularly add the wow factor to blood sugar management in diabetes patients. Keep reading to find out the one food item which can help lower blood sugar spikes by 35 percent.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Are seeds the answer to diabetes prevention?

For a diabetes patient, managing blood sugar levels is imperative; and according to Healthline, the same can be achieved with pumpkin seeds. Although high in carbohydrates, pumpkin seeds played a promising role in regulating sugar levels as per several studies.

According to the health body, patients who received treatment with pumpkin seeds and their extracts showed better blood sugar level management. The seeds are rich in antioxidants, proteins, and healthy fats that support post-meal blood sugar management.

How to consume pumpkin seeds for blood sugar management?

A 2018 study shared tips on pumpkin seeds intake for diabetes patients – two ounces of the same can help prevent blood sugar spikes by 35 percent. This effect is credited to the magnesium content of these seeds – research validates how sticking to a diet rich in magnesium lowers the risk of diabetes. The study also recommends including grains, nuts, and green leafy vegetables in the diet to mitigate long-term risk.

The nutrition profile of pumpkin seeds

Besides magnesium, pumpkin seeds are rich in the following nutrients that help stabilize blood sugar levels:

  1. Fibre that slows down blood sugar absorption in the body
  2. Vitamin E and carotenoids that reduce inflammation
  3. Protein
  4. Healthy fats

These nutrients collectively help keep your heart healthy. Whole pumpkin seeds and oil prove effective in cholesterol and hypertension management.

What does a healthy blood sugar score look like?

As per Mayo Clinic, normal blood sugar levels are anything below 140 mg/dL. Anything over 200 mg/dL after a two-hour window indicates diabetes. And anything between 140 and 199 mg/dL hints at the pre-diabetes stage.

Stick to a diet rich in food that has a low glycemic score, dodge added refined sugars, saturated fats, and processed foods. Additionally, exercise can have a positive impact on blood sugar; therefore, get plenty of workouts every week.

 

15 Cooking and Eating Tips If You Have Diabetes

person slicing green vegetable in front of round ceramic plates with assorted sliced vegetables during daytime

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—increases 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 it’s 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.”

Zanini’s book will hit stands November 1st, but we couldn’t wait to share some of her amazing tips that will totally change living with diabetes as you know it! Read on to get in the know and while you’ve got your condition in the forefront of your mind, don’t miss these 30 Easy Ways to Stop Eating So Much Sugar for additional ways to keep your blood sugar under control.

1

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. Not sure how to make these veggie-centric dishes? Check out these 21 Mouthwatering Spiralizer Recipes or pick up a copy of Zanini’s cookbook (link to purchase is above), which has recipes for each of these low carb options.

2

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. In addition to veering away from a high-sodium fare, you’ll also want to nix these 30 Foods That Can Cause Heart Disease from your daily diet.

3

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!

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

4

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. For some veggie-centric recipe inspo, don’t miss these 30 Salad Recipes for Weight Loss!

5

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. After you’ve traded in your plates for smaller ones, try incorporating some of these 50 Best-Ever Weight Loss Tips, too!

6

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.”

7

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.”

8

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.

An easier way is to use a natural sugar suppressant like Sweet Defeat. It is available as chewing gum, oral spray, and lozenges and acts by binding to the sweet taste receptors on your tongue to block sweet taste while simultaneously stopping the cravings.

 

9

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.

10

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.

11

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.”

12

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. A bit confused about all the different types of dietary fats? Our guide Your Definitive Guide to All the Tyles of Fat in Food can help!

13

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. Never meal prepped before? Fear not! Our exclusive report, 25 Ways to Cook Once and Eat for a Week can help.

14

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.

15

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.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

6 Ways to Fight Your Sweet and Salty Cravings

6 Ways to Fight Your Sweet and Salty Cravings

Are you forever trying to give up sweets or salty snacks? If you think cravings are the reason the number on your scale won’t budge, take heart.

It is possible to lose your cravings. If you’re like most people, you’re just not going about it the right way. These tips for success from our dietitians should help:

1. Keep your body well-fueled all day

Forget about dieting. “Focus on building healthy, portion-controlled meals from foods bursting with nutrients, then taper your calories throughout the day,” advises Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD.  “And never, ever skip meals.”

Eating regularly throughout the day helps control cravings. “Keep meal and snack times consistent,” advises Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD. “Eat breakfast within one or two hours of waking up, and allow no more than four to six hours between meals.”

Adds Jennifer Willoughby, RD, CSP, LD, “Include a protein source in every meal and snack. This helps aid satiety to curb your cravings.”

Crave something sweet or salty? Choose foods with nutritional value: whole grain crackers, nuts, fresh fruit, plain yogurt topped with fruit, dark chocolate that’s over 70 percent cacao.

And be prepared:

  • Stash healthy snacks in your purse, desk or messenger bag.
  • Plan dinners ahead of time so your mind, and not your stomach, decides the menu.

Finally, avoid being too restrictive. “Enjoying appropriate portions of sweet treats from time to time can help keep you on track,” says Ms. Willoughby.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

2. Don’t rely on diet soda

Are you trying to satisfy your sweet tooth with diet soda? Drinking artificially sweetened beverages has no effect on weight, studies show. If anything, diet beverages are more likely to expand your waistline.

“Artificial sweeteners tend to make us overeat,” explains Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD. “Eventually, they encourage many of us to turn to the real thing: sugar.”

Some animal studies also suggest that artificial sweeteners make our bodies resist insulin. This may increase the likelihood that we’ll develop prediabetes or diabetes, and could increase the risk of heart disease.

Want to quench your thirst? “Try seltzer water with natural flavoring or add lemon, cucumber or berries to your water,” she advises.

3. Reprogram your taste buds

How do you retrain your taste buds? “Crowd out the addictive sweet and salty foods with real foods. It’s difficult to overeat foods that come from the earth,” says Brigid Titgemeier, MS, RDN, LD.

Instead of pretzels and chips, enjoy air-popped popcorn, popcorn made with extra virgin olive oil, or unsalted mixed nuts.

Try replacing sugary treats with berries and dark chocolate (over 70 percent). Add a bit of nut butter for protein and healthy fat. “I like to snack on a piece of dark chocolate with cashew butter. The fat from the cashew butter helps turn off some of those sweet cravings,” she says.

Other options include berry herbal teas, frozen berries, and homemade nut balls sweetened with two to three medjool dates.

Adds Ms. Taylor, “With patience and practice, what used to taste sweet to you will start tasting too sweet. Juicy, fresh blueberries can be enough to satisfy a sweet tooth once you stop bombarding your taste buds with candy, sweet drinks and foods sweetened with hidden sugars.”

Similarly, after eating less salt for several weeks — by cutting down on processed foods, convenience foods, restaurant foods and the salt shaker — a little salt will start tasting like a lot of salt. And you’ll need less to satisfy your salt craving.

4. Find support for the cause

A strong support system is one of the secrets to controlling cravings. Adults often find support from fellow participants in a weight-loss program.

For kids, “parents can help by not buying sweet and salty snacks on a regular basis,” says Ms. Willoughby. “And grandparents can encourage whole, natural foods instead of desserts.”

“Also, most children (and adults) benefit from seeing a dietitian to learn how to make appropriate yet satisfying food substitutions.”

If emotional eating is involved, a behavioral health specialist or psychologist can help develop strategies to keep weight loss on track. 

5. Consider intermittent fasting

“Intermittent fasting can help with the overall reduction of hunger and cravings,” says Ms. Kirkpatrick.

You won’t starve on a fasting diet. Instead, you’ll cut back on calories, eating only 500 to 600 on fast days and the normal amount on “off days.” Over time, you’ll find yourself feeling satisfied with smaller portions.

The intermittent rhythm will also lessen your sweet and salty cravings. Best of all, “intermittent fasting has helped lots of people lose a significant amount of weight,” she says. 

6. Pay attention to your body

Are you overeating because of stress? That’s often when cravings for sugar or salt surface. “Try meditation, exercise or reading to settle yourself,” says Ms. Patton.

She also recommends keeping a water bottle at your desk, in your car or in your purse to avoid dehydration.

If you have diabetes, you may crave something sweet even when your blood sugar is normal.

“Add a small amount of whip cream or dairy-free whip to berries or fruit,” advises Dawn Noe, RD, LD, CDE. “For a quick, healthy, warm dessert, mix ½ cup steel cut oats, 1 small apple, diced, and some cinnamon. Heat in the microwave for a minute or so, and you have a healthy, tasty alternative to apple crisp.”

If you have diabetes and your blood sugar is low when cravings hit, eat 15 grams of carbohydrate (three to four glucose tablets or 4 ounces of 100 percent fruit juice) to normalize it. “But avoid chocolate; it takes too long to digest and won’t raise blood sugar as quickly,” she cautions.

These tips should help you find success in controlling the cravings that lead to weight gain. They’ll also help you lower your risk for health problems like diabetes and hypertension.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Which Sugar Substitutes Are Good for Diabetes?

Low-calorie sweeteners, or sugar substitutes, can allow people with diabetes to enjoy sweet foods and drinks that do not affect their blood sugar levels. A range of sweeteners is available, each of which has different pros and cons.

People with diabetes must take special care to avoid blood sugar spikes. Controlling blood sugar is important for avoiding the more severe complications of diabetes, including nerve damage and cardiovascular disease.

Choosing alternative sweeteners is one way of maintaining sweetness in food and drink. However, not all alternative sweeteners are good options for people with diabetes. Agave syrup, for example, provides more calories than table sugar.

In this article, we look at seven of the best low-calorie sweeteners for people with diabetes.

1. Stevia

Sugar and sweeteners on wooden table and wooden spoons with leaves

Stevia is a natural sweetener that comes from the Stevia rebaudiana plant.

To make stevia, manufacturers extract chemical compounds called steviol glycosides from the leaves of the plant.

This highly-processed and purified product is around 300 times sweeter than sucrose, or table sugar, and it is available under different brand names, including Truvia, SweetLeaf, and Sun Crystals.

Stevia has several pros and cons that people with diabetes will need to weigh up. This sweetener is calorie-free and does not raise blood sugar levels. However, it is often more expensive than other sugar substitutes on the market.

Stevia also has a bitter aftertaste that many people may find unpleasant. For this reason, some manufacturers add other sugars and ingredients to balance the taste. This can reduce the nutritional benefit of pure stevia.

Some people report nausea, bloating, and stomach upset after consuming stevia.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classify sweeteners made from high-purity steviol glycosides to be “generally recognized as safe,” or GRAS. However, they do not consider stevia leaf or crude stevia extracts to be safe. It is illegal to sell them or import them into the U.S.

According to the FDA, the acceptable daily intake (ADI) of stevia is 4 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of a person’s body weight. Accordingly, a person who weighs 60 kg, or 132 pounds (lb), can safely consume 9 packets of the tabletop sweetener version of stevia.

Various stevia products are available to purchase online. Click here to check them in Amazon

 

2. Tagatose

Tagatose is a form of fructose that is around 90 percent sweeter than sucrose.

Although it is rare, some fruits, such as apples, oranges, and pineapples, naturally provide tagatose. Manufacturers use tagatose in foods as a low-calorie sweetener, texturizer, and stabilizer.

Not only do the FDA class tagatose as GRAS, but scientists are interested in its potential to help manage type 2 diabetes.

Some studies indicate that tagatose has a low glycemic index (GI) and may support the treatment of obesity. GI is a ranking system that measures the speed at which a type of food increases a person’s blood sugar levels.

Tagatose may be particularly beneficial for people with diabetes who are following a low-GI diet. However, this sugar substitute is more expensive than other low-calorie sweeteners and may be harder to find in stores.

Tagatose products are available to purchase online. Click here to check them in Amazon

3. Sucralose

Top down view of woman sprinkling sugar or coconut into bowl of flour while baking

Sucralose, available under the brand name Splenda, is an artificial sweetener made from sucrose.

This sweetener is about 600 times sweeter than table sugar but contains very few calories.

Sucralose is one of the most popular artificial sweeteners, and it is widely available. Manufacturers add it to a range of products from chewing gum to baked goods.

This alternative sweetener is heat-stable, whereas many other artificial sweeteners lose their flavor at high temperatures. This makes sucralose a popular choice for sugar-free baking and sweetening hot drinks.

The FDA have approved sucralose as a general-purpose sweetener and set an ADI of 5 mg/kg of body weight. A person weighing 60 kg, or 132 lb, can safely consume 23 packets of a tabletop sweetener version of sucralose in a day.

However, recent studies have raised some health concerns. A 2016 study found that male mice that consumed sucralose were more likely to develop malignant tumors. The researchers note that more studies are necessary to confirm the safety of sucralose.

A range of sucralose products is available to purchase online. Click here to check them in Amazon

4. Aspartame

Aspartame is a very common artificial sweetener that has been available in the U.S. since the 1980s.

It is around 200 times sweeter than sugar, and manufacturers add it to a wide variety of food products, including diet soda. Aspartame is available in grocery stores under the brand names Nutrasweet and Equal.

Unlike sucralose, aspartame is not a good sugar substitute for baking. Aspartame breaks down at high temperatures, so people generally only use it as a tabletop sweetener.

Aspartame is also not safe for people with a rare genetic disorder known as phenylketonuria.

The FDA considers aspartame to be safe at an ADI of 50 mg/kg of body weight. Therefore, a person who weighs 60 kg, or 132 lb, could consume 75 packets of aspartame in the form of a tabletop sweetener.

Many different aspartame products are available to purchase online. Click here to check them in Amazon

5. Acesulfame potassium

Acesulfame potassium, also known as acesulfame K and Ace-K, is an artificial sweetener that is around 200 times sweeter than sugar.

Manufacturers often combine acesulfame potassium with other sweeteners to combat its bitter aftertaste. It is available under the brand names Sunett and Sweet One.

The FDA have approved acesulfame potassium as a low-calorie sweetener and state that the results of more than 90 studies support its safety.

They have set an ADI for acesulfame potassium of 15 mg/kg of body weight. This is equivalent to a 60 kg, or 132 lb, person consuming 23 packets of a tabletop sweetener version of acesulfame potassium.

A 2017 study in mice has suggested a possible association between acesulfame potassium and weight gain, but further research in humans is necessary to confirm this link.

6. Saccharin

Sweeteners in individual packets in tray

 

Saccharin is another widely available artificial sweetener.

There are several different brands of saccharin, including Sweet Twin, Sweet’N Low, and Necta Sweet. Saccharin is a zero-calorie sweetener that is 200–700 times sweeter than table sugar.

According to the FDA, there were safety concerns in the 1970s after research found a link between saccharin and bladder cancer in laboratory rats.

However, more than 30 human studies now support the safety of saccharin, and the National Institutes of Health no longer consider this sweetener to have the potential to cause cancer.

The FDA have determined the ADI of saccharin to be 15 mg/kg of body weight, which means that a 60 kg, or 132 lb, person can consume 45 packets of a tabletop sweetener version of it.

People can purchase a range of saccharin products online. Click here to check them in Amazon

7. Neotame

Neotame is a low-calorie artificial sweetener that is about 7,000–13,000 times sweeter than table sugar. This sweetener can tolerate high temperatures, making it suitable for baking. It is available under the brand name Newtame.

The FDA approved neotame in 2002 as a general-purpose sweetener and flavor enhancer for all foods except for meat and poultry. They state that more than 113 animal and human studies support the safety of neotame and have set an ADI for neotame of 0.3 mg/kg of body weight.

This is equivalent to a 60-kg, or 132-lb, person consuming 23 packets of a tabletop sweetener version of neotame.

Considerations

When choosing a low-calorie sweetener, some general considerations include:

  • Intended use. Many sugar substitutes do not withstand high temperatures, so they would make poor choices for baking.
  • Cost. Some sugar substitutes are expensive, whereas others have a cost closer to that of table sugar.
  • Availability. Some sugar substitutes are easier to find in stores than others.
  • Taste. Some sugar substitutes, such as stevia, have a bitter aftertaste that many people may find unpleasant. Make sure that the manufacturers have not added chemicals or other sweeteners that reduce the nutritional benefit.
  • Natural versus artificial. Some people prefer using natural sweeteners, such as stevia, rather than artificial sugar substitutes. However, natural does not always mean lower-calorie or more healthful.
  • Add fruit instead of sweetener: Where possible, add a sweet fruit to a meal instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners. Options include strawberry, blueberry, and mango.

 

Summary

Many people with diabetes need to avoid or limit sugary foods.

Low-calorie sweeteners can allow those with the condition to enjoy a sweet treat without affecting their blood sugar levels.

Although the FDA generally consider these sugar substitutes to be safe, it is still best to consume them in moderation

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

How does Diabetes affect Wound Healing?

When a person has diabetes, wounds can take longer to heal, which can increase the risk of infections and other complications developing.

A person who manages their diabetes well can improve the rate at which wounds heal and reduce the chances of developing a severe infection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), around 30.3 million people in the United States have a type of diabetes, and many of these people experience complications caused by infected wounds.

In this article, we look at the effects of diabetes on wound healing and ways to reduce the risk of complications.

Diabetes and wound healing

wound dressing
For people with diabetes, wounds heal more slowly and are prone to infection.

Minor wounds, cuts, and burns are an unfortunate but unavoidable part of life. However, for people with diabetes, these injuries can lead to serious health issues.

Many people with diabetes develop wounds that are slow to heal, do not heal well, or never heal. Sometimes, an infection might develop.

An infection can spread to tissue and bone near the wound or more distant areas of the body. In some cases, and without emergency care, an infection can be life-threatening or may even be fatal.

Even when an infection does not develop in a wound, slow healing can adversely affect a person’s overall health and quality of life. Cuts or injuries on the feet or legs can make walking difficult or exercise painful.

It is essential that people who have diabetes keep their blood sugar levels under control to reduce the risk of slow-healing wounds and complications, including foot ulcers.

According to some reports, foot ulcers will develop in about 1 in 4 people with diabetes. Foot ulcers are painful sores that can ultimately lead to foot amputation.

According to an article in the American Journal of Managed Care (AMJC), about 230 amputations take place every day in the United States as a result of diabetes.

Causes

A 2013 study found a clear correlation between blood glucose and wound healing.

The research revealed that people undergoing surgery for chronic diabetes wounds were more likely to heal fully if they were controlling their blood glucose well at the time of surgery.

Diabetes causes impairment in the body’s production of or sensitivity to insulin, a hormone that allows the cells to take and use glucose from the bloodstream for energy. This disruption to insulin makes it more difficult for the body to manage blood glucose levels.

When blood glucose remains permanently high, it impairs the function of white blood cells. White blood cells are central to the role of the immune system. When white blood cells are unable to function correctly, the body is less able to fight bacteria and close wounds.

People with uncontrolled diabetes may develop poor circulation. As circulation slows down, blood moves more slowly, which makes it more difficult for the body to deliver nutrients to wounds. As a result, the injuries heal slowly, or may not heal at all.

Diabetes can also cause neuropathy (nerve damage), which can also affect wound healing. Uncontrolled blood glucose can damage the nerves, numbing sensations in the area. This may mean that people with diabetes who sustain trauma to their feet might not be aware of the injury.

If a person is not aware of an injury, they might not receive treatment, which might allow the wound to worsen. A combination of slow healing and reduced sensation in the area significantly increases the risk of infection.

People with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing a bacterial infection in the wound.

Factors that may increase this risk include:

  • impaired sweating
  • dry and cracked skin
  • toenail infections
  • foot abnormalities, such as Charcot’s foot

Other ways diabetes might affect wound healing include:

  • reduced production of growth and healing hormones
  • decreased production and repair of new blood vessels
  • a weakened skin barrier
  • reduced collagen production

Complications

amputee laughing

People who experience poor wound healing due to the effects of diabetes on the nerves and blood vessels might also experience other complications. These include heart disease, kidney disease, and eye problems.

If an untreated wound becomes infected, the infection may spread locally to muscle and bone. Doctors call this osteomyelitis.

If an infection develops in the wound and is left untreated, it can progress to the stage of gangrene. Gangrene is a common cause of amputations in people who lose limbs as a result of diabetes.

Sometimes, people with uncontrolled infections develop sepsis, which occurs when an infection spreads into the bloodstream. Sepsis can be life-threatening.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Prevention

People with diabetes can use specific strategies to improve the time it takes for a wound to heal. These include managing blood glucose, thorough foot care, and treating wounds as they occur.

Foot care for diabetes

Appropriate foot care includes:

  • washing feet daily
  • patting the skin dry before applying moisturizer
  • avoiding walking barefoot
  • carefully trimming toenails
  • wearing comfortable shoes
  • inspecting feet and looking inside shoes daily
  • having a doctor check the feet at each visit

Wound treatment

It is essential that people with diabetes carefully monitor their wounds. While wounds might heal slowly, it is not normal for them to remain open for several weeks, to spread, ooze, or become extremely painful.

While an infection might not develop in every ulcer or wound, the first step to preventing it is to clean the wound and cover it with a clean bandage. Repeat this daily.

It might be a good idea for people with diabetes to wear shoes and socks when walking around, especially if a wound has developed. Being barefoot increases the risk of infection.

People who have any type of diabetes should seek treatment if a wound develops on their foot and does not heal. A person will often need to take antibiotics to combat any infections and might require hospitalization if the wound is severe.

Glucose control

glucose control

People who manage their blood glucose levels are less likely to experience severe wounds that do not heal.

People with type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin for life to control blood sugar. People with type 2 diabetes have more options — as well as taking insulin and other medications, making some lifestyle adjustments, such as a healthful diet, regular exercise, and weight management may substantially improve a person’s blood sugar levels.

These lifestyle changes may even allow a person to manage diabetes without medication.

People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can benefit from a carbohydrate-controlled diet. Talk to a doctor who will individualize a meal plan that includes a specific amount of carbs that a person should eat each day.

Outlook

When a person has diabetes, a wound that does not heal can quickly become life-threatening. A positive outlook for slow-healing wounds depends on prompt treatment and effective glucose management.

People with diabetes should immediately contact a doctor when they develop serious or painful wounds that do not heal after several days, or if an infection seems to have developed.

A combination of aggressive antibiotic treatment, wound cleaning, surgical removal of dead tissue, and more effective glucose control may help. If the wound does not respond to treatment, amputation may be necessary.

People should take preventive steps before wounds develop to reduce the risk of wound healing complications.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes