EFFINGHAM -- It is estimated that 30.3 million people in the United States are living with diabetes. Of those affected, over 2 million are suffering from a diabetic foot ulcer right now.
Proper nutrition plays an important role in managing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes as well as the associated comorbidities.
“Sometimes people can have difficulty knowing what they should and should not eat for proper nutrition, especially if they are affected by diabetes,” says D. Scott Covington, MD, FACS, CHWS, executive vice president, provider education and engagement for Healogics. He also says. “People with diabetes should be aware of what they are eating at all times, as well as how food may affect their diabetes.”
In recognition of National Nutrition Month, HSHS St. Anthony’s Wound Healing Center, a member of the Healogics network, explains some key aspects of nutrition, with assistance from St. Anthony’s Nutrition Services’ dietitians.
What to eat
A key to good nutrition is knowing what to eat and what not to eat. Those with diabetes need to manage their intake of carbohydrate foods. Carbohydrates from foods are converted to sugar and therefore increase blood sugar.
There are three types of carbohydrates: starches, sugars and fiber. Carbohydrate foods include grains, starchy vegetables, fruits, and dairy as well as sugar sweetened foods and beverages. A proper amount of carbohydrates can be good for anyone’s diet, but people with diabetes need to be especially careful with carb-intake.
In addition to eating healthy, it is also important to live an active lifestyle if you have diabetes. Regular activity can help lower blood glucose. When you’re active, your cells become more sensitive to insulin so it can work more effectively.
With diabetes being one of the leading causes of chronic wounds, it is important that diabetics understand some of the key aspects of nutrition. Eating the right foods can help a wound heal.
“With so much misinformation in constant circulation, it’s important to meet with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) to get accurate nutrition information,” notes Brooke Welcher-Miner, a registered dietitian nutritionist for HSHS St. Anthony’s Nutrition Services. “This is especially important for individuals with a chronic disease like diabetes. It can really be overwhelming. That’s why we are here as RDNs, to help people navigate those waters safely and effectively in a way that best suits them,” she said. Registered Dietitians are regarded as the experts in food and nutrition.
To speak with an HSHS St. Anthony’s dietitian, call 217-347-1346. For more information about living a healthy life with diabetes and how to prevent non-healing wounds, contact HSHS St. Anthony’s Wound Healing Center at 217-347-3565.