Diabetes and Chronic Wounds: What You Can Do to Stay Healthy at Home

In the words of holistic health practitioner Ann Wigmore, “The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.” This idea applies especially to people with diabetes. Diabetics are prone to chronic wounds, which often manifest as diabetic foot ulcers. Food can help both you combat diabetes symptoms as well as problems associated with diabetic wounds.

What Does Diabetes Have to Do with Chronic Wounds?

Diabetes makes it more difficult for patients to heal from wounds. These difficulties can lead to chronic wounds, which are prone to infection, and increases the chance of a stroke. Diabetic foot ulcers are the most common type of chronic wound among diabetic patients, especially elderly patients.

Elevated blood sugar interrupts the natural processes of wound healing. Wound healing is a multi-step process, and requires each phase to go off without a hitch. Diabetics have to take special steps to make sure they’re getting everything they need from their diet to heal as quickly as possible.

Chronic Wounds: Nutrition and Prevention

Unfortunately, malnutrition is often present in patients with chronic wounds. But patients can take their diabetes symptoms into their own hands and cook their way to better health. Since diabetics have to be extra careful with their diets, it makes sense that they should cook for themselves as often as possible. Studies have also shown that home-cooked meals are linked to better management of diabetes symptoms. Now that so many restaurants have limited services, it’s a great time to get in the kitchen and start making some new favorites.

But what to cook?

Research indicates that healthy diets, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as limited carbohydrates, can help diabetics manage their symptoms. Common examples of carbohydrates to limit include bread, rice, and pasta. Sugar is another obvious culprit, and you’ll also find it naturally occurring in starchy foods like sweet potato and white rice.

Protein is especially good for people at risk for chronic wounds, and that includes anyone with diabetes. But that doesn’t mean diabetics should whip up any meaty dish — studies have also shown that red meat can contribute to diabetic symptoms. Instead, diabetics should focus on healthier sources of protein, like eggs, fish, beans, and nuts.

Also, there are several supplements that diabetics might want to consider, if they don’t feel certain they’re getting them naturally in their diets. It is possible to add high-quality protein supplements to your diet, so you don’t have to worry about getting it in all of your meals. This is especially important for elderly patients, who may sometimes struggle to work up an appetite.

Staying Healthy While Social Distancing

Now, more than ever, we’re tempted to turn to food to alleviate boredom. What should we do instead?

It’s especially important for patients with diabetes to watch their snacking habits. But as long as we make healthy choices, snacking doesn’t have to have a negative impact on health. One study showed that while people with diabetes were likely to snack, their snacking didn’t have an adverse effect on their quality of life.

Now that we’re home, it’s also important to find fun ways to get in workouts. Exercise is a big part of keeping blood sugar in check. If you don’t yet feel comfortable going out, and gyms have yet to re-open, consider some home workouts to get in your daily movement.

  • There are lots of interval training workouts on YouTube. These challenging workouts are designed to get you the maximum amount of heart-pumping benefits in as little time as possible. If you don’t want to follow along with an instructor, consider trying an interval workout on a treadmill, if you have one at home.
  • Yoga is another beneficial form of exercise with plenty of at-home options. Many online yoga classes (on YouTube and other streaming services) also include an element of meditation, which research has shown has a broad spectrum of health benefits.
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