Type 2 diabetes is a condition that occurs when a person’s body either stops producing adequate amounts of insulin, or the body does not consume insulin properly. Stress, poor dietary habits and a sedentary lifestyle are common causes of this incurable, but easily preventable condition – yet the number of people with type 2 diabetes is growing and it is now officially recognised as a global epidemic by the World Health Organization.
In more than 90% of cases, type 2 diabetes can be prevented by making simple changes to lifestyle and eating habits. These changes can also help in controlling the symptoms in people who have already developed diabetes.
Let’s have a look at top 10 proven ways that can help you prevent and control type 2 diabetes.
#1 – Exercise For 30 Minutes Every Day
Exercise is the golden mantra to prevent or manage a variety of health issues, including type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program or DPP says that people who exercise regularly reduce their chances of developing diabetes by almost 58%.
How much exercise must you get to keep diabetes at bay? Not much, just 30 minutes 5 times a week. This will not only help you get rid of unwanted body fat, but also lower your blood sugar and boost your body’s sensitivity to insulin.
You don’t have to follow any high-intensity workout regime to get the benefits. A 30-minute post lunch walk or a 30-minute mild workout session at a local gym or walking your dog around the block 3 times a day will sufficiently reduce your risk.
#2– Change Your Eating Habits
Sugar-rich and high cholesterol foods considerably increase the risk of developing Type 2-diabetes or a pre-diabetic condition. If you have high sugar levels or if you have developed a pre-diabetic condition, you can make some simple changes to reverse the condition and restore good health and well-being.
Some foods that you need to include in your diet are: fresh (not canned) fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals as well as low fat and high fiber foods.
You must also avoid indulging on fried foods, sugar-rich packed juices and sodas, cakes and other sugar-rich baked products.
#3 – Drink Enough Water
The best drink to binge on is water. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day. Water helps in clearing out toxins from the body and is also filling. In fact a glass of it 20 minutes or so before meals will reduce your hunger, allowing you to feel full with less food.
#4 – Manage & Maintain A Healthy Weight
Chances of diabetes in overweight people are high. So, if your weight is on the higher side, you should make efforts to reduce it. Studies reveal that losing even 7% of body weight can reduce the chances of diabetes by 55 to 60%.
Exercise regularly, eat healthy foods and avoid junk food to maintain or reduce your weight. Also try to eat slowly. When you eat slowly, you are likely to be satisfied with less amount of food. This is because it takes our brain almost 20 minutes to give the satiation signal. If you eat fast, you might already have overeaten by the time brain tells you that you are full.
#5 – Avoid Fad Diets
Losing weight is important, however, following stringent weight loss diet plans can cause more harm than good. Most diet plans usually exclude specific food groups to help you lose weight. When you follow them, you limit the consumption of certain essential nutrients. So, even if you manage to lose weight quickly by following such diet plans, you will miss out on many essential nutrients and this can have an adverse affect on your health in the long term.
#6 – Avoid Smoking and Drinking
Regular alcohol consumption and smoking are known to lead to diabetes and several other harmful health conditions like heart issues and even cancer. If you want to stay healthy, quit smoking and limit your consumption of alcohol.
#7 – Get Tested Regularly For Diabetes
If you have been diagnosed with high blood sugar, you may already be pre-diabetic. Pre diabetes is a condition that, if ignored, can lead to type 2 diabetes. However, if you keep your blood sugar in check by making lifestyle changes and regular blood sugar testing, you can easily manage the pre-diabetes or even reverse it. Screening tests for diabetes include simple blood and urine tests, which should be done at regular intervals. You can even buy a glucometer, which allows you to check your sugar levels at home.
#8 – Get Enough Sleep
Sound sleep of 6 to 8 hours a day helps in reducing blood sugar levels and even controlling hypertension. A good-night’s sleep usually proves elusive when the stomach is completely full or completely empty. If your stomach is too full at the time you go to bed, you are likely to suffer from heartburn as you lie. On the other hand, an empty belly may rumble continuously throughout the night and prevent deep sleep.
So it is best to go to sleep with an almost empty (or half full) stomach that will make you feel light at night without feeling hungry. If this does not help, you should consult your doctor, who may prescribe a mild sedative to help you get a deep, restorative sleep on a daily basis.
#9 – Consult With Your Doctor About Snacks You Can Have Before Sleeping
As mentioned in the previous post, it best to go to bed with some food in your stomach so that hunger will not prevent you from sleeping deeply. It’s important that you don’t go to bed with a full stomach so a light, healthy snack is best such as cottage cheese, natural yoghurt or fish.
#10 – Take Baby Steps
It is important to make changes to your diet and start exercising. However, these changes should be slow and steady. Chances of failure are high when you make many changes at once. Gradually eliminate unhealthy foods and introduce healthy choices in your diet.
In the same way don’t abruptly jump from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one. Start exercising few minutes a day few days a week. As you get comfortable then slowly increase the duration of exercise as well as its frequency.