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Holistic Approaches to Managing Diabetes

November 17, 2023

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month; Diabetes is a chronic condition affecting millions worldwide. While medication is often a crucial component of diabetes management, a holistic approach that addresses lifestyle, diet, and mental well-being can significantly enhance overall health. This blog post will explore various holistic ways to manage diabetes, providing practical tips supported by scientific references.

Millions worldwide are affected by diabetes, a chronic condition that can be improved with a holistic approach to overall health.

Nutrition and Diet

A well-balanced diet is fundamental to managing diabetes. Focus on consuming whole, nutrient-dense foods and controlling portion sizes. The Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, has been associated with improved glycemic control. 1 You can experiment with new flavors by gradually adding herbs and spices to your cooking.

Physical Activity

Regular exercise plays a vital role in diabetes management by improving insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar levels. Both aerobic exercises (walking, jogging) and resistance training contribute to better glycemic control. 2

Stress Management

Chronic stress can negatively impact blood sugar levels. Practices such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises have been shown to reduce stress and improve glycemic control. 3 You can begin your meditation practice through guided meditations, and if you are unsure where to start, you can take a class in meditation or mindfulness.

Adequate Sleep

Quality sleep is essential for overall health, including diabetes management. Poor sleep can disrupt insulin sensitivity and increase the risk of developing diabetes complications. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. 4


Adopting a holistic approach to diabetes management can lead to better outcomes and an improved quality of life. By incorporating these lifestyle changes, individuals can empower themselves to take an active role in their health and well-being. Always consult with healthcare professionals before making significant changes to your diabetes management plan.


About Duke Health & Well-Being Nutrition Services

Our personalized nutrition services are designed to address health conditions, support healthy weight management, and help you achieve optimal well-being through a balanced diet. Our team of Registered Dietitians understands that reaching your health goals is a process that requires support, adjustment, and taking small steps toward lasting and positive changes. Collaborate with a Registered Dietitian to uncover the relationship between food, exercise, stress, and rest, and make strategic modifications to your diet that will help you achieve your objectives.

Duke Integrative Medicine Nutrition Counseling Services →
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