Having uncontrolled blood sugar is dangerous at any time. But with mounting evidence that shows COVID-19 places people with diabetes at higher risk for severe illness, the need to keep diabetes well-managed has become more important than ever. Westmed’s Diabetes Education Program is patient-centric and built on a team approach. Our Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists, Patricia Talio, RD and Angela Bencivengo, RD provide our patients with the most up-to-date information about diabetes management and treatment and explain the choices they have in their treatment.
For American Diabetes Month (November), our Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists designed a series of free virtual workshops to offer support and provide helpful information for people living with Diabetes. The series, titled Living Your Best Life with Diabetes, has discussed such topics as: the importance of exercise and simple fitness tips, recommended diet and nutrition advice, and the role of medications in managing your diabetes.
One of the most important things those living with diabetes can do is to make sure to incorporate enough fiber in their diet. Not only is fiber good for diabetes management but also for colon and heart health. Fiber is a carbohydrate that cannot be broken down into sugar molecules, and instead it passes through the body undigested. High fiber food can help you feel full longer because it stays in your gut longer than foods without fiber. Adults need at least 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day for good health, but, sadly, most Americans only get about 15 grams a day.
Fiber comes in two varieties: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Both are beneficial to health. Soluble fiber is a fiber that dissolves in water and can help lower glucose levels as well as helping to lower blood cholesterol. Foods with soluble fiber include oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, apples and blueberries. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and can help food move through your digestive system, promoting regularity and helping prevent constipation. Foods with insoluble fibers include wheat, whole wheat bread, whole-grain couscous, brown rice, legumes, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.
If you’d love to introduce more fiber into your diet but you aren’t quite sure how to do that, our specialists suggest to snack on fresh fruit with nuts and seeds. If you eat fruit by itself, it tends to increase your blood sugar after you have it. If you’re going to have a piece of fresh fruit, add a healthy fat or healthy protein to it.
Other suggestions to help you incorporate more fiber into your diet is to try air popped popcorn as a whole grain snack, as opposed to pretzels or potato chips. When baking, swap out a 1/2 cup of white flour for whole wheat flour. And make sure to try and choose 2 servings of fruit and at have at least 2-3 cups of vegetables per day.
You can still take advantage of the Living Your Best Life with Diabetes workshops, which will be taking place on Thursday, December 2 and Thursday, December 9 at noon and 5:30 pm via Zoom. Register for the series here: westmedgroup.com/event/evening-virtual-series-living-your-best-life-with-diabetes/all/.
Westmed’s Endocrinology Department is committed to a comprehensive program of diabetes education. Our goal is to empower our patients to become active participants in their care and the self-management of their diabetes. We work closely and proactively with our ophthalmology and podiatry departments to ensure that our patients are evaluated for the development of ophthalmic and podiatric complications. To learn more about our Diabetes Education Program and to make an appointment with one of our Certified Diabetes Education and Care Specialists, please visit: westmedgroup.com/services/diabetes-education/overview/.