If you have diabetes, you’ve likely been told on more than one occasion that it’s important to pay attention to what you eat. Regardless of whether you have type 1, type 2, MODY, LADA, or gestational, regardless of weight, and regardless of gender or age, there’s a good chance you’ve been lectured about how important a healthy diet is to any good diabetes management plan. But the truth is, for most, a diabetic diet looks very similar to the same healthy, well-balanced diet that’s recommended to everyone. Not just individuals with diabetes.
The truth is, for most, it’s all about moderation and balance.
And while that’s really easy to say, it can be a little harder to put into practice– particularly if you’re preoccupied with thoughts of the food you can’t have, rather than focusing on the delicious foods you can have, and all of the incredible benefits they have to offer. Because the truth is, the food we eat should be delicious and nutritious. If you aren’t fueling your body with the right foods, you might be denying yourself of benefits that could drastically improve the way you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Potassium, for instance, is a mineral that’s essential to heart health, regulating the digestive system, and maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. It can help nerve and cognitive function, facilitates the lungs’ release of carbon dioxide, and helps maintain pH balance. And of particular importance to people with diabetes, potassium plays an integral role in the function of your kidneys and pancreas.
Sources of Potassium
The best part is: you can get all those great benefits from a lot of delicious (and diabetes-friendly) foods!
- Sweet potatoes
- Navy beans, kidney beans, and lentils
Signs of Potassium Deficiency
Not getting enough of a certain vitamin or mineral can lead to a deficiency. However, it can be difficult to recognize a potassium deficiency if you don’t know the signs. If you’re experiencing the following symptoms, it might be time to talk to your doctor:
- Weakness or cramping in your arm or leg muscles
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- High blood pressure or atypical heart rhythms
- Cognitive impairment
- Cramping and/or bloating in the abdomen
- Numbness and/or tingling
- Depression and/or anxiety
If you think you might have a potassium deficiency, it’s important to consult your doctor before altering your diet or incorporating oral potassium supplements to your diabetes management routine. While your physician may recommend something as simple as increasing the amount of potassium-rich foods in your diet, it’s also possible that a potassium deficiency could be a symptom of a larger issue, such as illness or an interaction with medication.
L.D. and her eleven-year-old lab, Eleanor Rigby Fitzgerald, moved from Seattle to Grand Rapids earlier this year, and are currently enjoying exploring their new city! She likes books, music, movies, running, and being outdoors as much as possible.