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My mother is having diabetes and Rheumatiod arthritis for past four years. Please suggest a diet plan with time and menu.

(February 20, 2012)

An ideal diet plan for diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis must include a healthy amount of nutritious foods. This should not be a restrictive diet, but one that emphasizes healthy eating. The diet must be low in fat and calories and rich in whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits. Another important step in diabetes management is sticking to regular mealtimes. Given below is a description of a good rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes diet plan for women.


The aim of a diabetes-specific diet is to help you balance blood sugar levels and maintain healthy body weight.

Eating foods that are fat and calorie-rich may lead to elevations in blood glucose. If the levels of blood glucose are not controlled, complications such as kidney and nerve damage may occur. Research has shown that people with diabetes are more likely to also have arthritis. The treatments for both conditions may be different, but the lifestyle chances you make for one problem may have a positive effect on the other as well. Good dietary habits and regular exercise are essential in the treatment of diabetes. Rheumatoid arthritis is also known to improve due to these activities.

Foods To Include:

The following foods are beneficial in diabetes and arthritis management:

  • Carbohydrates – Consuming healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains, legumes, low fat dairy foods and fruits help to balance blood glucose levels.
  • Fiber – Fiber helps to regulate blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Fiber-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, wheat bran, whole wheat products and nuts.
  • Fish – Fish such as herring and salmon contain high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids which encourage good cardiovascular health and reduce the level of fats in the blood. However avoid eating fried fish and fish which contain high levels of mercury.
  • Healthy fats – Almonds, walnuts, olive oil and avocados contain ‘good’ fats which help to bring down cholesterol levels. Avoid eating them in excess, however, since they are calorie-rich.

Foods To Avoid:

It is advisable to avoid the following foods:

  • Unhealthy fats – Saturated fats which are present in animal food sources and high fat dairy products can increase the risk of heart disease. Saturated fats should not exceed 7 percent of daily calories. Trans fats are present in baked products and processed foods and must be avoided completely.
  • Cholesterol –The daily cholesterol intake should not be more than 200 mg per day. High-cholesterol foods include egg yolks, organ meats and shellfish.
  • Sodium – The daily sodium intake should be below 2000 mg a day.

Creating a Diabetes Diet Plan:

Dieticians usually suggest the following methods of preparing a diet plan for diabetes.

  • The exchange system – In this approach, foods are classified into groups such as carbohydrates, fats, meats and meat substitutes. A serving in each group is referred to as an exchange. Each exchange in the same group has the same amount of nutrients and hence one can exchange one food for another.
  • Counting carbohydrates – Carbohydrates greatly affect blood sugar levels since they are broken down into glucose. Therefore the amount of carbohydrates consumed and the time at which they are consumed must be the same every day.
  • Glycemic index – Foods that cause a greater degree of elevation in blood sugar are considered to have a high glycemic index. However this does not necessarily mean that foods with a low glycemic index are healthy since they may still be rich in fats.

Sample Menu:

The daily meal plan must be based on body weight and level of physical activity as well. An individual who requires between 1200 to 1600 calories daily will find the following sample meal plan suitable:

  • Breakfast – ¾ cup cereal with low fat milk, one piece of fruit
  • Lunch – 1 cup salad with reduced-fat salad dressing, 3 ounces lean chicken (steamed) with herbs, one small potato, one ear or corn, ½ cup orange juice (unsweetened)
  • Dinner – 1 boiled egg, ½ cup steamed green beans, 1 cup unflavored, low fat yogurt, 1 small potato, 1 slice of low fat cheese
  • Snacks – ½ cup tomato juice, six, homemade corn tortilla chips, 2 slices of whole wheat bread with peanut butter

Sticking to a healthy diabetes meal plan is the best way to manage blood sugar levels and prevent complications. A nutritious diet also helps to maintain healthy body weight. Since a diabetes diet promotes a good intake of fiber, fresh fruits and vegetables, the risk of developing heart disease and other health complications is also reduced. The risk of loss of bone density is also lowered since there is a good intake of low fat dairy products. Along with healthy diet, regular physical activity is necessary in the treatment of diabetes. Please keep in mind that it is important to consult your doctor before making any modifications to the diet.

Submitted by N on February 20, 2012 at 04:03


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