For many people, cold weather is a time for comfort food, warm clothes, and some cosy moments spent at home. They tend to feel lazier than ever, and for diabetics, it can spell doom.

Winter lethargy disrupts their regular routine and brings challenges. “By understanding your health status and exercising some basic precautionary measures, you can keep the dreaded high sugar levels in check,” says Aarti Gill, the co-founder and CEO of OZiva.

The expert suggests the following measures to manage diabetes this winter season; read on.

Clean, plant-based food options

According to Gill, as the body adjusts to cold temperatures, it is natural to crave more food than usual. Maintaining a diet with wholesome nutrition is the key to managing your diabetes this season. “You can replace your cup of hot chocolate with green tea, satiate evening cravings with hot veg soup. The trick is to find healthy alternatives to your comfort meals. New research suggests people who eat plant-based foods can reduce their risk of diabetes. Avoid fried food, packaged drinks with added sugar, and flavoured drinks,” she says.

Portion control

The macronutrients that provide energy to your body include carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

“Carbohydrates, in particular, have the greatest impact on blood sugar because they are broken down into glucose or sugar and absorbed into the bloodstream. While they are important for normal bodily functions, one needs to ensure they consume the right amounts of this macronutrient. Indian vegetarian diets are usually high in carbohydrates,” Gill says.

Remain physically active

Any kind of physical exercise is a great way to manage the healthy insulin level of your body. Moderate exercise even for 15 minutes can affect your glucose level and also improve your mood. A short walk or yoga — either in the morning or evening — can set the tone for healthy living even in freezing temperatures.

Stress management

Stress alone does not cause diabetes, but studies published by the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology suggest a link between high stress and type-2 diabetes.

“Increased stress leads to high production of cortisol that pushes the body to produce more glucose, which can further affect the blood sugar level. Managing stress through light exercise, yoga, meditation or even reading is beneficial in diabetes cases.”

Check your blood sugar level

Gill concludes by saying that any change in weather impacts the body’s ability to create insulin. “It’s common to feel hungrier during winters as the body uses more energy to keep us warm. It is advisable to consume foods rich in nutrients rather than processed quick-fix foods. Track your eating habits by maintaining a regular check on your sugar levels throughout the day.”

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