November is Diabetes Awareness Month, making it an ideal time to address that diabetes is a serious condition with many possible health complications ranging from increased risk of cardiovascular disease, nerve, eye and kidney damage, skin conditions, and Alzheimer’s. However, if they manage diabetes properly, one can live without experiencing any of its complications. We will go over few practices to prevent type 2 diabetes and any complications associated with it.
There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Both are chronic conditions affecting how the body controls blood sugar levels. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces little or no insulin, the hormone required to allow sugar to enter cells to produce energy. Genetics and viral infections may contribute to the onset of type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is an inflammatory and metabolic condition where the pancreas may still produce insulin but the cells do not respond to it — a condition called insulin resistance. Over time, the pancreas can transition to not producing enough insulin.
Type 1 diabetes requires insulin injections. In type 2, diabetes pills or insulin injections may or may not be required. Both types of diabetes can be well managed and type 2 may even be reversed by following healthy eating and lifestyle practices.
I want to talk about few practices to promote proper blood sugar control in order to prevent type 2 diabetes and prevent or manage any complications associated with it.
1. Eat fiber, protein, and healthy fats. It is key for proper blood sugar control to follow a well-balanced eating regimen. At Be Well we call “the perfect plate” a meal that contains vegetables (as source a of fiber and nutrients), protein, and healthy fats. When these three food sources are combined, blood sugar balance is maintained. Fiber, protein, and healthy fats take longer to digest as opposed to simple carbohydrates. Therefore, there is no spike in the blood sugar levels. When your sugar levels do not spike up, they also do not crash down. That crash makes you feel lethargic, tired, foggy, and craving more sugar to bring you back up — the so called “sugar high.” Vegetables, protein, and healthy fats are also nutrient-dense foods that will provide many health benefits.
2. Hydrate. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Make water and herbal teas your beverage of choice. Increasing your intake of fiber and protein will require you to also increase your intake of water in order to be well-hydrated. The risk of getting dehydrated is greater in diabetics since higher than normal blood sugar levels deplete fluids. This is the reason that thirst is one of the symptoms of diabetes.
3. Move your body. Physical activity makes your cells more sensitive to insulin, thus making it work more efficiently to bring sugar inside the cells for energy. Being consistently active can lower blood sugar levels and decrease your need for diabetes pills or insulin.
4. Slim down. Being overweight increases your risk of developing diabetes, and if you are a diabetic, your risk of developing complications associated with it. Getting rid of just a few pounds can help manage diabetes. You can accomplish that by moving your body more and eating more fiber, protein, and healthy fats while eliminating highly processed foods.
5. Decrease inflammation. Once type 2 diabetes is an inflammatory condition, decreasing inflammation can improve and even reverse type 2 diabetes. Adding anti-inflammatory-rich foods to your eating habits is important. They are foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as wild-caught salmon, sardines, walnuts, turmeric, chia and flax seeds, and flaxseed oil.
6. Manage stress. Chronic stress is inflammatory to the body. In order to decrease inflammation it’s important to manage your stress. Meditation, a walk in nature, a salt bath, laughing, and moving your body are great ways to manage stress. See what you are most attracted to and implement it into your daily living.
Following these practices will bring you many health benefits and prevent type 2 diabetes, and if you are already a diabetic, lessen your risk of developing complications associated with it.