Eating the right foods and getting 30 minutes of physical exercise per day, 5 times a week, can reduce the risk of diabetes by up to 58% in people affected by prediabetes.
With over 70 million Americans suffering from prediabetes in 2010, the US has one of the largest populations dealing with this incipient form of diabetes. Unfortunately though, many people don’t even know that they have this condition and, thus, are unaware that their health is at risk.
Prediabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not so high as to cause typical diabetes symptoms. Given that this initial form of the disease isn’t so easy to recognize without medical tests, many people only get diagnosed for type 2 diabetes when the ailment has already started to exert its effects on the body’s internal environment.
On the other hand, there are a few factors that can suggest that a person is more prone to developing prediabetes: excessive weight, being 45 years or older, having a family history of this autoimmune disorder, having a sedentary lifestyle, maintaining a diet very rich in sugars or having experienced a gestational diabetes episode during pregnancy.
Being aware of the factors that can trigger prediabetes, one of the most common causes of diabetes, can help you significantly diminish the risk of developing the disease. As statistics show, early diagnosis and treatment are able to prevent most of the serious complications triggered by diabetes such as kidney damage, vision loss and non-healing ulcers.
REDUCING THE RISK OF DIABETES
According to researchers, simple lifestyle and diet changes can help prevent diabetes or delay its onset by up to 58% in people already affected by prediabetes. So if you’re in one of the categories with a higher risk but don’t know where to start, the National Diabetes Prevention Program can be a good source. The program is designed to help people adopt healthier eating habits and become more active, as it’s been proven that eating the right foods and doing at least 30 minutes of physical exercises per day can lower the risk of developing diabetes.
What does the program recommend in terms of nutrition? The most important point is to watch not just the foods you eat but also the size of your portions, as overeating can increase blood sugar levels and, thus, worsen your health. So keep portions small and eat less fat and sugary products. Try to stay away from fatty meat, fried products, fast foods, margarine, candies, cookies, products made from whole milk, dressings and shortening. Eat fewer canned products and processed meats, and avoid sodas and fruit drinks. Instead, eat more whole-grain products, as these are rich in fiber, eat plenty of fresh green veggies, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, beans and peas, and have more servings of oatmeal and rice. Opt for lean meat, low-fat dairy products and home-made desserts, as these allow you to control the amount of sugar in each serving.
As for physical exercise, anything from dancing and cycling to swimming and walking briskly are good options when done for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week. Not only will physical activity help keep your weight under control but it’ll keep your blood’s composition normal, keep stress levels low, and improve your immunity and circulation as well as flexibility. So make sure to choose activities that you enjoy and allow your body to benefit from the numerous positive health effects provided by physical exercises, while at the same time reducing your risk of developing diabetes.
by Andreea Macoveiciuc