Are you part of the 9 out of 10 Americans who have prediabetes without knowing it? Whether you seem to be healthy now, have prediabetes or have full-blown diabetes, you can eat to prevent diabetes. And you should.
9 out of 10. If this stat from “7 ways to lower blood sugar” (Health and Happiness Magazine, November 2016) doesn’t convince you, read on.
Why you should try to prevent diabetes even if you feel healthy
When you have diabetes, your blood sugar becomes chronically elevated because your body cannot use and/or produce insulin properly.
According to the same article, 29.1 million Americans have diabetes. 86 million have prediabetes – similar symptoms but your blood sugar level isn’t as elevated – without knowing it. And 15 to 30% of those people are likely to develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years, unless they make lifestyle changes that help prevent diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes was previously known as “adult-onset” diabetes. But since so many younger people are developing it, the “adult-onset” name has gone by the wayside.
In fact, 1 of 3 kids are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as cited in an article by National Center for Biotechnology Information.
When you have diabetes, medicine to control it may induce hunger, which can result in weight gain and a vicious cycle. Exercise is key, but if you become overweight, or develop problems with your feet, which sometimes happen in diabetics, you may become unable to exercise.
Add to this an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, vision loss and amputation of your legs, feet or toes.
I’d sure like to eat to prevent diabetes. Anyone else?
How can you eat to prevent diabetes or to control it?
You will find lots of diets out there to help prevent diabetes or manage it – the DASH diet, the Mediterranean diet, the blood sugar diet. So what diet should you choose?
Granted, changing diet may not be the lone change you need to make. Getting enough but not too much sleep is also key. And getting regular exercise is a must. Between these 3 factors, you could prevent diabetes. Or if you are diabetic, these changes could reduce the medication needed to maintain a healthier blood sugar level.
Generally, many health practitioners encourage a low-carb and low-sugar diet. If you are overweight, your doctor may suggest some weight loss.
I personally shy away from eating styles labeled as “diets” and instead think of my healthier diet as a lifestyle change. Some of the diets listed above could become your new healthier lifestyle, but work with your doctor to figure out what’s best for you and your body’s quirks. You may need to modify an existing so-called diet to meet your nutritional needs.
No matter which diet you end up choosing, you can begin your mission to prevent diabetes with a few changes.
- Avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These are man-modified ingredients, often hard to pronounce, which are harmful to your body.
- Take probiotics, as they help to lower your blood sugar.
- Eat lean proteins to limit fat intake.
- Eat more berries and green vegetables. Greens are a must. Berries have a lower glycemic index than other fruits. Just be sure to buy organic to avoid the GMOs.
- Add maitake mushrooms to your menu. They contain natural alpha-glucosidase inhibitors (like many diabetes drugs), which block an enzyme that turns starch and simple sugars into glucose (Health and Happiness Magazine, November 2016).
- Add chromium to your diet to increase insulin sensitivity and improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Great food sources of chromium include Brewer’s Yeast, steamed broccoli, free-range eggs, grass-fed beef, sweet potatoes and non-GMO corn if you can find it!
- Be wary of packaged products with “sugar-free” on the label. Read more about this in my next blog post, “Is eating sugar free do-able and is it something you should do?”
Be sure to consult with your doctor if you are currently on medication and plan to make these changes to your diet.
For more ideas about how to easily incorporate healthier eating into your life, read my book, Digested – eating healthier made easier 3 ways.
When you become one of the stats related to prediabetes or diabetes, you increase your risk for so many more health problems. Manage and prevent diabetes by making changes to your diet starting now. It’s a lifestyle change that could be a life-changer for you and your family.
*This blog is intended for use as a source of information and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice.