Of all the dangerous lifestyle diseases out there, perhaps diabetes is the one that’s the most stubborn. Once people develop diabetes, getting rid of it becomes an incredibly difficult task. And not only that, diabetes also becomes the root cause for many other health-related complications.
It should go without saying that fixing a lifestyle disease requires consciously choosing a healthier lifestyle, but given the hustle-riddled lives we lead, this statement is easier said than done. Besides, an overload of information online along with quick-fix myths lead to people making even more unhealthy choices to keep their bodies as healthy as possible.
However, diabetes and diabetes-prevention should be taken seriously. Understanding the disease begins with understanding how one could be at risk for developing it. People who have a family history of diabetic family members are more prone to developing the disease. Moreover, people who are overweight or struggling with obesity, high cholesterol, or have a family history of heart disease are also at a higher risk becoming diabetic.
There are still other people who get diagnosed as pre-diabetic, i.e. with blood sugar levels that just fall short of the diabetic threshold. Please note, if you have been diagnosed as a pre-diabetic person, you must exercise more caution instead of allowing yourself to relax and ignore the potential disease at your doorstep.
The silver lining is diabetes (Type 2) could be preventable or at least it’s onset delayed for many years with a few simple but consistent changes to your lifestyle can help you swerve away from the more serious heart, nerve, and kidney trouble that uncontrolled diabetes can lead to.
How to Prevent Diabetes :
- Weight Control
Weight control is extremely important for preventing diabetes. Extra weight on your body is the gateway to obesity, which in turn also brings around more complications such as heart disease. If you want to keep diabetes away, you must have a healthy body and keep your weight in check.
According to the Mayo Clinic, people in a large study reduced their risk of diabetes by 60% by losing approximately 7% of their body weight by introducing healthier changes to their lifestyle.
If you’ve tried to lose weight before but have been unsuccessful, speak to your doctor and ask for their help in setting some realistic goals and action steps to help you get to your goal weight. Overall, you must be in a calorie deficit in the healthiest way possible to shed weight off your body.
- Physical Activity
Increase your physical activity. There’s simply no way around this step. Whether you start small by taking one flight of stairs, or you begin with a 20-minute walk every day and work your way up to an hour or more, whether you track your steps or hit the gym every day or lean towards yoga, you must move your body every single day.
Increasing your physical activity will help you control your blood sugar, lose weight in a healthy manner, and reduce your insulin resistance.
Most adults must aim for 30 minutes of aerobic activity (brisk walking, swimming, running, or biking) for most days of the week. Including resistance training such as weights or yoga is also extremely helpful for developing strength.
Additionally, do ensure that you avoid staying stationary for longer than 30 minutes at a time. If your work requires being at a desk for most of the day, then please ensure that you get up, stretch, and walk around or do some kind of light activity every half an hour or so.
- Eat a Plant-Forward Diet
Now before we go further here, we’d like to state quite clearly that we are not prescribing one dietary course of action over another.
However, eating a plant-forward diet does come with undeniable benefits. To begin with, eating a wide diversity of plants – such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and complex carbohydrates (whole grains) – helps nourish your body with the right kinds of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and energy sources.
Higher quantities of roughage and whole grains in your diet will help your body with a slow absorption of sugar, which in turn also reduces your blood sugar levels.
Moreover, a diet rich in plants will also help with controlling your body’s cholesterol levels, while aiding the development of “good” cholesterol.
- Eat Healthy Fats
There’s no controversy about eating fats. Every human body requires fats to function well. What’s usually left in the dark vis-a-vis fats is that we should be consuming the healthy ones.
While foods high in calories and fats should be eaten in moderation – or avoided entirely – we understand that may not always be possible. However, what we can choose is the quality of fats that we consume.
Sources of heart-healthy fats include unsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil, mustard oil (found in many dishes of regional Indian cooking), nuts, seeds, and some fish.
Avoid eating food rich in saturated fats, such as dairy products and red meats.
- Learn How to Manage Stress
If you’d like to prevent diabetes, you must also learn how to manage your stress levels, because stress levels have a direct impact on blood sugars.
We won’t tell you to eliminate stress from your life, because honestly, that’s not a realistic scenario. Stress is a part of life and it occurs owing to the many challenges all of us tackle every day. Additionally, stress can also come from an individual’s propensity towards conditions such as anxiety or other related mental health struggles.
A far healthier approach to stress is to first accept that it does happen and then to learn tools and practices that can help you manage your stress better. Whether you speak to a therapist, a counsellor, or your own GP regardings stress management, what’s key is to find a way that is helpful for you.
The best diabetes treatment out there is diabetes prevention. And the best way to prevent diabetes is to eat less, eat better, and move more.