Changing your lifestyle can be an important step toward diabetes prevention and it’s never too late to start doing it. The following tips can be considered.
Lifestyle changes may help avoid developing Type II diabetes, the most common type of disease. Prevention is especially important if you are at increased risk of developing Type II diabetes as a result of being overweight or obese, having high cholesterol, or having a family history of diabetes.
If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes (high blood sugar without reaching the level that indicates diabetes), lifestyle changes may help you avoid or delay diabetes.
Making a few simple lifestyle changes may also help you avoid serious health complications of diabetes in the future, such as nerve atrophy, kidney failure, and cardiomyopathy. Start adjusting your lifestyle, it’s not too late.
1. Get rid of excess weight
Losing weight reduces the risk of developing diabetes. In a large study, participants were able to reduce their risk of diabetes by about 60% after losing about 7% of their weight by making changes to exercise and diet.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with prediabetes lose weight by at least 7% to 10% to prevent the disease from progressing. The higher the rate of weight loss, the greater the health benefits.
Set a weight loss goal based on your current weight. Consult your doctor about short-term goals and achievable expectations, such as losing one to two pounds a week of your weight.
2. Do more physical activities.
There are many benefits to doing physical activities regularly. Sports training can help you to:
Lowering blood sugar
Increase your sensitivity to insulin, which helps keep blood sugar within the normal range
Here are some goals specific to most adults in order to promote weight loss and maintain a healthy weight:
Aerobic exercises. Aim to spend 30 minutes or more doing moderate to strenuous aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, swimming, cycling, or jogging – most days with a total of at least 150 minutes per week.
Resistance exercises. Resistance training at least two to 3 times a week – increases the strength of the body, the level of balance, and the ability to enjoy an active life. Resistance exercises include weight lifting, yoga, and gymnastics.
Reduction of inactivity. Getting out of long bouts of inactivity, such as sitting in front of a computer, can be useful for controlling blood sugar levels. You can spend a few minutes standing, walking around, or doing some light activity every 30 minutes.
3. Eat healthy plant-based foods
Plant foods provide the body with vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates contain sugars and starch, which are a source of energy for the body, along with fiber. Dietary fiber, also known as coarse or lump, also includes particles of plant foods that the body cannot digest or absorb.
It is noteworthy that foods rich in fiber help to lose weight and reduce the risk of diabetes. Be sure to eat a variety of healthy foods rich in fiber, including:
Fruits such as tomatoes, peppers, and fruits that bear fruit on trees
Non-starchy vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli (green Cauliflower), Cauliflower
Legumes such as beans, peas, lentils
Whole grains, such as pasta and bread made from whole wheat grains, whole rice grains, whole oat grains, quinoa
The benefits of fiber:
Slow down the absorption of sugars and reduce blood sugar levels
Impeding the absorption of fatty foods and cholesterol
Managing other risk factors that affect heart health, such as blood pressure and inflammation
Reduce the amount of food, as foods rich in fiber are more saturated than others and rich in elements that provide the body with energy
Avoid foods with “bad carbohydrates”, which are foods high in sugars and low in fiber or nutrients: white bread and pastries, pasta made from white flour, fruit juices, processed foods with sugars or corn syrup with a high fructose content.
4. Eating healthy fats
Fatty foods have high-calorie levels and should be consumed in moderation. And to help lose and control weight, your diet should include a variety of foods containing trans fats, which are sometimes called “useful fats”.
Unsaturated fats – both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats-promote healthy cholesterol levels in the blood and good cardiovascular health. Good sources of fat include:
Olive oil, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, and canola
Nuts and cereals, such as almonds, peanuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds
Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, cod
As for saturated fats, or the so-called “harmful fats”, they are found in milk and meat derivatives. And your diet should contain a minimal amount of these fats. You can limit the amount of saturated fat in your diet by eating low-fat milk derivatives, chicken meat, and lean red meat.
5. Avoid fad diets and make healthier choices
A lot of innovative diets, such as the glycemic index, Paleo, or keto diet, may help you lose weight. But there is little research available on the long-term benefits of these diets or their effectiveness in preventing diabetes.
The diet should be aimed at losing weight and then reaching a healthy weight. Healthy diets require a strategy that you can follow throughout your life. So making healthy decisions that include some of your favorite foods and habits may benefit you in the long run.
Splitting meals is a simple strategy that may contribute to making good decisions about food choices and the right amounts. You can promote a healthy pattern of nutrition by dividing your meal into the following three sections:
Half of the meal: fruit and non-starchy vegetables
A quarter of a serving: whole grains
The second quarter of the meal: high-protein foods, such as legumes, fish, or lean meats
When to visit your doctor
The American Diabetes Association recommends routine screening with diagnostic tests for Type II diabetes for all adults aged 45 and over, for the following categories:
People under the age of 45 who are overweight or obese, as well as one or more risk factors associated with diabetes
Women with gestational diabetes
People diagnosed with prediabetes
Children who are overweight or obese and have a family history of Type II diabetes or other risk factors
Ask your questions about diabetes prevention to your doctor. Your doctor will appreciate your efforts to prevent diabetes and may give you additional suggestions based on your medical history or other factors.
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