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It is important to effectively manage diabetes to mitigate the risk of vascular complications. Make these healthier lifestyle choices like a balanced diet with regular physical activity and learn how to maintain optimal blood sugar levels. By taking proactive steps to manage diabetes, individuals can reduce their chances of developing serious vascular conditions.
Dr. Manish Taneja

Vascular Specialist, Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic

Introduction to Diabetes 

Living with diabetes requires a proactive approach to managing your health, and a crucial aspect of this is adopting a balanced and nutritious diet. Whether you’re newly diagnosed or have been living with diabetes for years, understanding the importance of healthy eating and lifestyle choices is key to effectively managing your condition and reducing the risk of complications. Explore the symptoms and types of diabetes, learn about the role of nutrition in managing diabetes, and get practical tips for eating smart so you can feel healthy and vibrant despite your chronic condition.

happy woman eating fresh vegetables

Diabetes Symptoms

Before worrying about dietary considerations, it’s essential to recognize diabetes symptoms, as early detection and intervention are crucial for managing the condition effectively. Common signs of diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, and slow wound healing. If you experience these symptoms, you should consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and diagnosis.

 

Types of Diabetes

There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Each one is treated in slightly different ways and knowing which one you have is important to proper treatment.

 

Type 1

Diabetes type 1, often diagnosed in childhood or adolescence, occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. As a result, individuals with type 1 diabetes require insulin therapy to regulate their blood sugar levels and prevent complications. Even with a healthy diet and regular exercise, these individuals will still need insulin.

 

Type 2

The most common form of diabetes, diabetes type 2, typically develops in adulthood and is often associated with lifestyle factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and obesity. In type 2 diabetes, the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. While lifestyle modifications, including diet and exercise, are essential for managing type 2 diabetes, some individuals may also require oral diabetes medications or insulin therapy. UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine states that with regular exercise, a healthy diet, and carefully managed blood sugars, some people are able to reverse their diabetes. Reversal does not mean the individual is cured. However, it does mean that they have their blood sugar under control to the point that they no longer need medications and they are able to manage their levels purely through diet and exercise.

 

Food and Nutrition for Diabetes Patients

A well-balanced diet plays a significant role in managing diabetes and reducing the risk of complications. Diabetic diets should focus on incorporating nutrient-dense foods that help regulate blood sugar levels, promote heart health, and support overall well-being.

 

Diet for Defense Against Larger Complications

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that foods rich in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, can help stabilize blood sugar levels and improve digestive health. Additionally, lean proteins, such as poultry, fish, tofu, and beans, should be prioritized to support muscle growth and repair. Healthy fats in sources like nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil are also important for heart health and satiety. Milk, yogurt, cheese, and other nonfat or low-fat dairy is also beneficial for diabetics, according to MedlinePlus.

 

Ideal Nutrients

When planning your meals, aim to include a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, and pay attention to portion sizes to avoid overeating. The Mayo Clinic recommends that you be mindful of your carbohydrate intake, focusing less on simple carbohydrates that are mostly sugars and more on complex starchy carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, such as quinoa, sweet potatoes, and lentils, which are digested more slowly and have less impact on blood sugar levels.

Eat fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and good fats like avocado, nuts, and olive oil. But avoid excessive amounts of added fats, sugars, and sodium. Eat salmon, mackerel, or tuna at least twice a week for heart health, but try to avoid frying it or eating ones high in mercury, such as cod.

 

Eat Smart

Making smart food choices is essential for managing diabetes and maintaining overall health, especially if you want to avoid diabetes medication. Here are some guidelines to help you make informed decisions about what to eat.

 

Foods to Avoid for Diabetes

While you may still be able to eat some of these in moderation, there are some foods you will want to avoid most of the time to keep your blood sugar in a healthy range. These foods include:

  • Processed and refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, sugary cereals, and pastries
  • Sugary beverages, including soda, fruit juice, and energy drinks
  • Trans fats and saturated fats found in fried foods, processed snacks, and fatty cuts of meat
  • Excessive salt and sodium, which can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease

 

Foods to Eat for Diabetes

There are still plenty of delicious options to choose from when deciding what to eat. Whole foods are going to be your best options for maintaining a healthy blood sugar, so you’ll want to stick with these foods for diabetics most of the time:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats
  • Lean proteins, including poultry, fish, tofu, and legumes
  • Healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil

 

Healthy Recipes

Incorporating delicious and diabetes-friendly recipes into your meal plan can make healthy eating more enjoyable. Here are three recipes to try.

 

Grilled Salmon with Lemon and Herb Quinoa

This delicious fish recipe comes from Community Health Magazine.

Ingredients:

For the Grilled Salmon:

  • 2 salmon fillets (about 4-6 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • Fresh dill or parsley for garnish (optional)

For the Lemon and Herb Quinoa:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water or low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs (such as parsley, basil, or dill)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare the Quinoa: In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed quinoa and water (or broth) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Remove from heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, fresh herbs, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the Grill: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. If you’re using a stovetop grill pan, heat it over medium-high heat.
  3. Prepare the Salmon: Brush the salmon fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place a few slices of lemon on top of each salmon fillet.
  4. Grill the Salmon: Place the salmon fillets on the preheated grill (or grill pan) and cook for about 4-6 minutes per side, or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork and is cooked to your desired level of doneness.
  5. Serve: Divide the lemon and herb quinoa between two plates and top with the grilled salmon fillets. Garnish with additional lemon slices and fresh dill or parsley, if desired.

 

Turkey and Vegetable Stir-Fry

This tummy-tempting stir-fry comes from Pip.

Ingredients:

For the Stir-Fry:

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables (e.g., bell peppers, broccoli, snap peas, carrots)
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced (or use ginger paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to your spice preference)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Brown Rice:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups water

Directions:

  1. Cook the Brown Rice: Rinse the brown rice under cold water until the water runs clear. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 45-50 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let it sit, covered, for 5-10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork.
  2.  Prepare the Stir-Fry: In a large skillet or wok, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Sauté for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add the ground turkey and cook until browned and fully cooked, breaking it into small pieces with a spatula. Add the sliced onions and mixed vegetables to the skillet and stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes until they become tender but still slightly crisp. Pour in the low-sodium soy sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir the mixture well and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
  3. Serve: Plate the stir-fry alongside the cooked brown rice. Garnish with chopped green onions or a sprinkle of sesame seeds if desired.

 

10-Minute Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

The Gestational Diabetic offers this light, refreshing, and quick to make and eat chickpea salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can Chickpeas (canned, low sodium)
  • 1 cup Cucumber (English or Persian; chopped)
  • 1 cup Red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 cup Tomatoes (cherry; halved)
  • ⅓ cup Onion (red; chopped)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1½ teaspoons Red wine vinegar (ACV or fresh lemon juice)
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Black pepper
  • 2½ Tablespoons Mediterranean Herb Seasoning (optional; omit salt & pepper if used)

Directions:

  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Add them to a large bowl.
  2. Chop the bell pepper, cucumber, and onion into ½-inch pieces. Add to the bowl.
  3. Slice each cherry tomato in half, lengthwise. Add to the bowl.
  4. Add the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, or Mediterranean Herb Seasoning. Mix together. (Optionally, allow it to marinate for 10 to 20 minutes.)

 

Exercise Tips

In addition to healthy eating, regular physical activity is essential for managing diabetes and improving overall health. Exercise helps lower blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce the risk of heart disease and other complications associated with diabetes, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, each week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days per week. Find something you enjoy doing so that your enjoyment of the activity can help you stay motivated.

 

Can Diet and Exercise Help Cure Diabetes?

While there is currently no cure for diabetes, adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diabetic diet and regular exercise can help manage the condition effectively and even reverse symptoms. By maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood sugar levels, and reducing the risk of complications, many individuals with Type 2 diabetes can achieve long-term remission and enjoy a higher quality of life.

 

Diabetes Screening and Treatments

Early detection and intervention are vital to managing diabetes and preventing complications. Our comprehensive Singapore diabetes screening services include blood sugar testing, A1C tests, and other diagnostic tests to assess your risk and monitor your condition over time. Depending on your individual needs, we offer a range of treatments, including medication management, insulin therapy, lifestyle counseling, and vascular interventions, to help you manage your diabetes effectively and live well.

Diabetes is intricately linked to neurointerventional and vascular issues due to its systemic effects on the body. Chronic high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can lead to damage of blood vessels throughout the body, including those in the brain and nervous system. Over time, this vascular damage can increase the risk of various complications, such as stroke, peripheral artery disease (PAD), and diabetic neuropathy.

In the context of neurointervention, diabetes can predispose individuals to a higher risk of of ischemic strokes or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), due to atherosclerosis and arterial narrowing. Additionally, diabetes is a significant risk factor for the development and progression of intracranial vascular abnormalities, including brain aneurysms. Moreover, diabetes-related vascular issues extend beyond the brain to affect other parts of the body. For instance, individuals with diabetes are at greater risk of developing PAD, which can lead to reduced blood flow to the extremities and increase the likelihood of complications such as ulcers and gangrene. Diabetes contributes to neurointerventional and vascular issues by promoting vascular damage and atherosclerosis throughout the body, thereby increasing the risk of stroke, peripheral artery disease, and other related complications. Therefore, effective management of diabetes is crucial in preventing or mitigating these vascular complications.

 

Get in Touch with Our Vascular Specialist in Singapore

If you have diabetes or are at risk for the condition, it’s essential to partner with a healthcare professional who specializes in neurointervention and vascular health and can provide personalized treatment and support. Dr. Manish Taneja, is experienced in diagnosing and treating diabetes-related vascular complications, including stroke, brain aneurysm, and other neurointervention and vascular issues. Contact us today to arrange your appointment for diabetes treatment in Singapore and create a plan of action for a long and healthy life.

Take Control of Your Stroke Risk at Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic

Diabetes and strokes are serious health concerns and can be life-threatening. We are likely to know someone, an acquaintance, working colleague, or a family member that has experienced stroke. How is stroke related to diabetes?  People with diabetes also tend to develop heart disease or have stroke at an earlier age than those without diabetes. If you’re looking for an additional and alternative way to prevent future strokes, you might be interested in seeking stroke treatment in Singapore at Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic. Our specialized stroke clinic in Singapore offers a proven stroke management and prevention program that can significantly reduce your risks of experiencing a future stroke or any other serious medical issues. Our stroke specialist in Singapore will create a personalized neurointerventional treatment plan to ensure your health. Contact us at your earliest convenience to set up your consultation, so Dr. Manish Taneja can assist you with achieving optimal health.

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Stroke Resources

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Controllable risk factors are lifestyle choices that can be changed to reduce the risk of having a stroke including managing your cholesterol.

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We’ve Got You Covered for Specialized Stroke Screening, Prevention, and Management

 

Imagine heart attacks where the blood flow to your heart is blocked. Similarly, a stroke occurs when the blood flow to your brain is interrupted becoming a “brain attack”. When blood supply does not reach a certain part, brain cells begin to die. Different types of stroke include ischemic strokes (blockage of blood vessel due to blood clot) or a mini stroke, a TIA (transient ischemic attack), with no permanent damage yet serious. Stroke also occurs when a blood vessel in the brain pops causing bleeding in the brain.

Certain areas of the brain can be affected by stroke and some symptoms of a stroke including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood sugar levels increase the risk of stroke whereas an active lifestyle or controlling high cholesterol reduces the risk. How well do you know stroke? Find tips to prevent and manage stroke, the differences in stroke screening tests, and the newer technology and treatments available. Come in for an easy consultation and further evaluation with our stroke specialist in Singapore at the Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic.

Supreme Vascular and Interventional Stroke Programs

The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various neurointerventional and vascular conditions and treatments. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our neurointervention and vascular specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.