Simple tips on how to avoid diabetes
Diabetes is one of several lifestyle diseases that include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary and so on.
All these diseases have one thing in common: they occur due to prolonged exposure to these three modifiable lifestyle behaviours, namely, smoking, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity.
The implication is that if you stay away from the three factors mentioned above that cause lifestyle diseases, it is a big step toward diabetes prevention. Something to keep at the back of ones mind.
However, it is easier said than done. City life and some occupations cause people to be inactive for instance and eating healthy doesn’t come naturally for everyone. But being in the know is the beginning of the journey.
It is also worth noting that type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease and it comes from how one lives. Therefore, lifestyle changes can help prevent the onset of the most common form of diabetes.
If you are currently dealing with excess weight or obesity, high cholesterol, or a family history of diabetes, prevention is especially important for you because you are at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Also, experts say that if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes (high blood sugar that doesn’t reach the threshold of a diabetes diagnosis) lifestyle changes can prevent or delay the onset of disease.
Making a few changes in your lifestyle now may help you avoid the serious health complications of diabetes in the future, such as nerve, kidney and heart damage.
It’s never too late to start.
1. Lose extra weight
In a study where several people lost approximately 7% of their body weight due to exercise and diet, they reduced their risk of developing diabetes by a almost 60%. Experts recommend that people with prediabetes lose at least 7% to 10% of their body weight to prevent disease progression.
2. Be more physically active
There are many benefits to regular physical activity. Exercise can help you lose weight, lower your blood sugar and boost your sensitivity to insulin — which helps keep your blood sugar within a normal range.
Goals for most adults to promote weight loss and maintain a healthy weight include:
Aerobic exercise. Aim for 30 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise — such as brisk walking, swimming, biking or running — on most days for a total of at least 150 minutes a week.
Resistance exercise — at least 2 to 3 times a week — increases your strength, balance and ability to maintain an active life. Resistance training includes weightlifting, yoga and calisthenics.
Limited inactivity. Breaking up long bouts of inactivity, such as sitting at the computer, can help control blood sugar levels. Take a few minutes to stand, walk around or do some light activity every 30 minutes.
3. Eat healthy plant food
Plants provide vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates in your diet. Carbohydrates include sugars and starches — the energy sources for your body — and fiber. Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, is the part of plant foods your body can’t digest or absorb.
Fiber-rich foods promote weight loss and lower the risk of diabetes. Eat a variety of healthy, fiber-rich foods, which include:
Fruits, such as tomatoes, peppers and fruit from trees.
Nonstarchy vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli and cauliflower.
Legumes, such as beans, chickpeas and lentils.
Whole grains, such as whole-wheat pasta and bread, whole-grain rice, etc.
4. Eat healthy fats
Fatty foods are high in calories and should be eaten in moderation. Experts explain that to help lose and manage weight, your diet should include a variety of foods with unsaturated fats, sometimes called “good fats.”
Unsaturated fats promote healthy blood cholesterol levels and good heart and vascular health. Sources of good fats include:
Olive, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed and canola oils
Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, peanuts, flaxseed and pumpkin seeds
Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and cod.
Saturated fats, the “bad fats,” are found in dairy products and meats. These should be a small part of your diet.
You can limit saturated fats by eating low-fat dairy products and lean chicken and pork.
When to see your doctor
Experts recommend routine screening with diagnostic tests for type 2 diabetes for all adults age 45 or older.
They also recommend regular checks for the following groups:
People younger than 45 who are overweight or obese and have one or more risk factors associated with diabetes.
Women who have had gestational diabetes
People who have been diagnosed with prediabetes.
Children who are overweight or obese and who have a family history of type 2 diabetes or other risk factors.