A person with diabetes is at least twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA), also known as a stroke. The top causes of disability and death among people with type 2 are heart disease and CVA’s. In fact 65% of people with the disease die from one of these. High blood pressure is a common factor to both, and if you have the disease, controlling it is crucial for your health. There are many simple steps you can take to lower and control your blood pressure, such as following a low sodium diet.
Diabetics often have higher risks for heart attacks and CVA’s because they have other contributing conditions. Obesity is strongly tied to insulin resistance. Other unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as lack of exercise and smoking, are contributing factors as well. Diabetics also often have unhealthy cholesterol levels, with high bad or LDL cholesterol and low good or HDL. Unlike genetic predispositions, lifestyle choices can be controlled to lower your risks.
Proper nutrition is important for everyone, but it is even more so if you have diabetes, are pre-diabetic, or even just have a family history. In our fast paced, grab and go society it can be hard to make good nutritional decisions. Or to even know what good nutritional choices are.Everyone knows that diabetics and pre-diabetics should limit simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, soda, and candy. But, a nutritious and heart-healthy diet low in sodium is also important.
Sodium in the diet can come from unexpected and surprising sources. Anything canned is sure to be high in salt even if it would otherwise be healthy, (unless it says no salt added or low sodium on the label). Reduced sodium on the label can be misleading. It means that this version of their regular product must be 25% lower in sodium than their regular product. This can still be too high for a low sodium diet. This includes canned soups, meats, and vegetables. Highly processed foods are also to be avoided. Meats such as bacon, sausage, and hotdogs contain a compound called nitrosamine. This causes them to be not only high in salt, but the nitrosamine actually poisons insulin producing cells.
It’s not surprising that fast food is unhealthy, but just how unhealthy it is might be. A consumer watchdog group recently found that 85 out of 102 popular fast food meals contained over a full days supply of sodium. Some of them had up to 4 day’s supply.
Many sources of sodium are well known, but that doesn’t make cutting them out of your diet any easier. Prepackaged foods are a convenience seemingly not able to be done without. Boxed dinners, TV dinners, and handy snacks are an integral part of many families’ meal plans.
When it comes to following a low sodium diet at home, the first step is to get rid of all the high sodium foods. You must replace those foods with healthy ones. Fiber-rich whole grains, lean meats, and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids are key to a more healthy diet. Replenish your spice rack with low salt seasonings or a better choice is salt-free seasonings and salt substitutes. Grind your own black pepper from peppercorns for the best flavor and add fresh lemons for their juice and zest, vinegars for their tang, except for seasoned rice wine vinegars as they have salt and sugar, go for unseasoned rice vinegar, these are great salt alternatives to help increase flavor in a low sodium diet.
Heart disease and strokes are leading killers of those who suffer from diabetes, but by following these simple steps you can help to control the risk.