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5 Essential ingredients for a healthy life with diabetes

It might sound strange to say that being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes has made me healthier, but I really believe it has. It’s forced me to take my health seriously: to put good health front and centre in my daily life.

Before I was diagnosed, I knew what I should be doing, but life is full of ‘shoulds’, isn’t it? And sometimes they can feel overwhelming. Now that I’m diabetic, there are certain things I do that have an immediate impact on how I feel – how my blood sugar reacts, and how much energy and vitality I have. I’m sorry to say there aren’t any big surprises here, but these are the things that contribute most to my daily well-being.

1 The right kind of food

A balanced diet with plenty of fresh vegetables, some fruit, good proteins and a moderate amount of the right carbs. Little to no junk food, fast food or refined carbs.

2 Regular exercise

It doesn’t have to be intense, and it doesn’t have to be for long, but if I do 30 minutes of yoga five times a week my blood sugar (and my body!) thanks me.

3 Enough sleep

Easier said than done on some nights, but getting enough sleep is essential for getting the cortisol (stress hormone) out of my system.

4 Manageable stress

Cortisol is released when we’re stressed, and it inhibits the effect of insulin, which means it gives me high blood sugar and makes me feel dreadful (on top of stressed!).

5 A positive attitude

Diabetes is unpredictable at the best of times. If I beat myself up about every high or low blood sugar reading, I would be black and blue. So I have to try my best and then let go… Good advice for diabetes and life!

Bridget McNulty is a type 1 diabetic and the editor of Sweet Life. Find out more about how to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes at

Looking for more answers to your health questions? Find out if you should go organic and how much caffeine is too much.

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