November is known as National Diabetes Awareness Month. Do you know how to prevent diabetes?
Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they usually have pre-diabetes – a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are more likely to develop diabetes and are also more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.
Research has shown that if you act to manage your blood sugar when you have pre-diabetes, you can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program Study showed that exercising for 150 minutes per week and losing an average of 7% of your starting weight lowered your risk of developing diabetes by 58%.
Regular physical activity
Walking is one of the best ways to increase your activity. Start slowly and increase your walking time. If walking doesn’t work for you, try Chair exercises/chair yoga, water aerobics, ergonomic exercise machines, etc. Try to build up to 30 minutes 5 days a week or 20 minutes daily to meet your goal of 150 minutes per week.
If you are overweight, any weight loss that is then maintained, even 5 or 10 pounds, will lower your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Meal timing is important to fuel our metabolism. Trying to consume food every 3-5 hours provides our bodies with the energy it needs throughout each day. Eating consistently helps manage our hunger.
Decrease calories and fat in your diet. Include fruits or vegetables with meals or for a snack. Filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables will help you meet this goal. Cut calories by eating smaller portions. When eating out chose smaller portions, take part of your meal home split an entrée to decrease overall calories.
Cut calories in your beverages
Try water or a calorie-free drink instead of regular soft drinks or juice to decrease sugar in your diet.
Reduce fat by making lower-fat versions of your favorite recipes. Use less fat in cooking by using smaller amounts of butter and oil. Bake, broil, or grill your foods.
While developing diabetes may seem inevitable, much of prevention is within our control: meal timing, food and beverage choices and exercise. For more information or to take a quiz evaluating your diabetes risk, visit the American Diabetes Association website at www.diabetes.org.
If you are concerned about your blood sugar, contact your medical provider to be tested.
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