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September 2019

Eat This, Not That to Manage Your Chronic Disease

Eating a healthy diet helps you take charge of your health when you have a chronic condition. The food choices you make can have a huge effect on how you feel, for better or worse.

Grilled salmon and a salad on a plate

If you have … diabetes

Go for spinach and other dark green, leafy vegetables. They’re low in carbohydrates and calories and loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Don’t eat too many potatoes and other starchy vegetables. They digest into glucose and make your blood sugar level shoot up.

If you have … high blood pressure

Go for halibut and tuna. These fish are rich in potassium, a mineral that helps manage your blood pressure. It’s recommended that adults with readings above 120/80 mmHg increase the potassium in their diet.

Don’t eat bacon and other processed meats, which are typically high in sodium. Having too much sodium in your body pulls water into your blood vessels. This in turn raises your blood pressure.  

If you have … Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis

Go for low-fiber fruit such as bananas. According to a study published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences, bananas, rice, and yogurt improve symptoms more often than most other foods. 

Don’t have high-fiber foods like broccoli and cauliflower, which may trigger symptoms. Spicy foods, sugary treats, greasy cuisine, and alcoholic or caffeinated beverages can also irritate the digestive tract.

If you have … asthma

Go for eggs, salmon, and orange juice for their high value of vitamin D. According to the American Lung Association, vitamin D boosts the immune system and helps reduce airway inflammation.

Stay away from carbonated drinks, which cause gas or bloating. These may lead to chest tightness and could trigger a flare-up.

Talk with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian/nutritionist if you have any questions about food choices related to your condition. And for those with a chronic condition such as diabetes or asthma, you should see your provider to get screenings, review medicines, and get counseling about your weight, activity, and diet.


Online Medical Reviewer: McDonough, Brian, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2019
© 2000-2020 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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