Diabetes and Heart Disease
Last updated: March 2022
Did you know that “people living with diabetes are two times more likely to develop and die from cardiovascular diseases – such as heart disease, heart failure, heart attack, and stroke?”1 It’s scary but true. Having type 2 diabetes puts you at high risk for stroke and heart disease. Even though taking care of your diabetes is often overwhelming, it is important to also be mindful of heart-healthy recommendations to keep your heart in tip-top shape.
The American Heart Association recommends following a healthy diet, leading an active lifestyle, monitoring blood glucose levels, and working with your team of professionals to keep your diabetes in check. This will also help keep your heart disease risk in check.
Follow a healthy diet
Some tips for how to follow a healthy diet:
Choose the right foods at the grocery store
Loading your cart up with produce is a great way to start your shopping trip. Grab vegetables that can be built into salads or grilled and roasted as sides. Avoid high amounts of processed foods and instead opt for whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa, and legumes. Foods high in fiber such as whole grains, vegetables, and legumes will lead to more satisfying meals which means you will be less likely to snack.
Don’t ignore your diet when eating out
Remember that eating out is not a free pass. It’s easy to find great foods that still fit within your nutrition goals! Build your plate so that half is low carbohydrate vegetables, one quarter is a lean protein such as grilled chicken and the other quarter a high-quality carbohydrate such as farro.
Here are a few diabetic-friendly snack ideas from the American Heart Association:2
- ~Small apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter
- ~½ cup baby carrots with two tablespoons of low-fat cottage cheese or hummus
- ~Small handful (about an ounce) of unsalted nuts
- ~Two whole-grain crackers with low-fat, low-salt string cheese
- ~½ whole-wheat English muffin topped with low-fat shredded cheese and fresh tomato and broiled
- ~½ cup plain low fat or fat-free Greek yogurt, topped with ½ cup blueberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon
Lead an active lifestyle
75 minutes of high-intensity exercise or 150 minutes of low-intensity exercise is recommended for each week. High-intensity exercise would include cardio workouts such as running and spin class. Moderate intensity exercise would include brisk walking, jogging, or biking.
Monitor your blood glucose levels
Keeping a glucose log, as well as a diary, are great ways to monitor glucose levels to make sure that your diabetes is staying well controlled.
Work with your team
Be sure to speak with your physician about what your levels should look like and how frequently you should be checking them. A Registered Dietitian (RD) or Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) can help you to better understand your dietary choices and how they positively or negatively affect your blood glucose levels.
Do you find it difficult to "eat right" and stick to a nutrition plan?