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Low Glycemic Diet
A diabetes diet is based on eating three meals a day at regular times. This helps your body better use the insulin it produces or gets through a medication.
A registered dietitian can help you put together a diet based on your health goals, tastes and lifestyle. He or she can also talk with you about how to improve your eating habits, for example, by choosing portion sizes that suit the needs for your size and level of activity.
Make your calories count with these nutritious foods:
- Healthy carbohydrates. During digestion, sugars (simple carbohydrates) and starches (complex carbohydrates) break down into blood glucose. Focus on the healthiest carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans, peas and lentils) and low-fat dairy products.
- Fiber-rich foods. Dietary fiber includes all parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb. Fiber moderates how your body digests and helps control blood sugar levels. Foods high in fiber include vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), whole-wheat flour and wheat bran.
- Heart-healthy fish. Eat heart-healthy fish at least twice a week. Fish can be a good alternative to high-fat meats. For example, cod, tuna and halibut have less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than do meat and poultry. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and bluefish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health by lowering blood fats called triglycerides.
Avoid fried fish and fish with high levels of mercury, such as tilefish, swordfish and king mackerel.
- “Good” fats. Foods containing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help lower your cholesterol levels. These include avocados, almonds, pecans, walnuts, olives, and canola, olive and peanut oils. But don’t overdo it, as all fats are high in calories.
Foods to avoid
Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease and stroke by accelerating the development of clogged and hardened arteries. Foods containing the following can work against your goal of a heart-healthy diet.
- Saturated fats. High-fat dairy products and animal proteins such as beef, hot dogs, sausage and bacon contain saturated fats. Limit your daily calories from saturated fat to less than 7 percent.
- Trans fats. These types of fats are found in processed snacks, baked goods, shortening and stick margarines. Avoid these items.
- Cholesterol. Sources of cholesterol include high-fat dairy products and high-fat animal proteins, egg yolks, liver, and other organ meats. Aim for no more than 200 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day.
- Sodium. Aim for less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day.
Low Glycemic Diet
Highly processed grains. Eat grains that are as minimally processed as possible, such as brown rice or unconventional whole grains like bulgur, millet, farro, and wheat berries.
White potatoes. Healthier alternatives include sweet potatoes, whole-grain pasta, or a whole-grain dish like tabbouleh.
Added sugar. Caloric sweeteners like white table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are moderately high on the glycemic index but are independently associated with obesity and heart disease. And it’s not just sugary desserts you need to consider. Off-the-shelf breads, peanut butter, tomato sauce, and innumerable other processed food items contain added sugar.
|How to lower your diet’s glycemic index|
|Instead of this…||…eat this|
|Fruit juice||Whole fruit, fresh or frozen; canned fruit packed in water without sweeteners|
|Quick oats, grits||Whole oats, whole-grain breakfast cereals|
|Sugar-sweetened pie, cake, or cookies||Lightly sweetened and flavored yogurt with ripe berries or cut fruit|
|White rice||Bulgur wheat, quinoa, or pearled barley|
|White bread||Whole-grain, whole-kernel, or “flourless” breads|
|Baked or mashed potato||Cubed and roasted sweet potatoes|