Numerous studies link high blood sugar levels with cardiovascular diseases. It has long been known that diabetics have higher risk of developing “small-vessel” complications such as retinopathy, wherein the small eye vessels are affected.
New studies, however, reveal that chronically high sugar levels also increase the risk of large-vessel disease which leads to strokes and heart attacks.
Thus, it is recommended for diabetics to monitor and control their glucose levels to avoid developing cardiovascular diseases. A diabetic’s before-meal blood glucose should be between 90 and 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) and 180 mg/dL two hours after a meal.
In order to maintain a healthy level of blood sugar or glucose, ask your healthcare team to assist you in making a meal plan suited to your needs. The meal plan should include what kinds of food to eat for meals and snacks, the portions of the food you would consume, and when to eat such meals.
The following are the guidelines for a diabetic’s healthy meal plan:
Eat lots of healthy foods high in protein. Eating protein with low fat content will not only help you control your weight, but also keeps your heart healthy. Food rich in protein include poultry (skinless), low-fat or fat-free dairy products (yogurt, milk and cheese), fish, and plant proteins which include beans, tofu, soymilk and dried peas. Make sure to include a significant amount of protein-rich food in your meals.
Eat fiber-rich foods
Fiber does not add to your blood sugar. Instead, it helps keep your heart and your colons healthy. Fiber-rich sources include bulgur wheat, fruits and vegetables, dried beans and peas, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, and whole-grain breads and cereals. So, before munching on any snack, read the labels first and make sure that it contains high fiber.
Avoid unhealthy fats
Look out for saturated and trans fat because they are unhealthy for the heart. Fatty foods are not only high in calories, but will also make you gain a lot of weight. Limit your intake of oil, cream, cheese, bacon, ice cream, lunch meats, baked sweet goods, butter, and margarine as they contain unhealthy fats that are not good for the heart.