Some simple lifestyle changes can make a significant difference.
Diabetes in North America is at epidemic levels. Diabetes Canada reports that 11 million Canadians are currently living with diabetes or prediabetes—that’s one in three of the adult population. In the United States, the figures are even more concerning, with Center for Disease Control data revealing that more than 46 percent of adults are either diabetic or prediabetic. The incidence of diabetes has doubled since 1980. About 1.5 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed every year. Diabetes is now the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States.
CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE
However, there are some simple lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
1. Activity and weight. Keep active and aim to achieve a healthy weight. Carrying extra weight, especially around your middle, is a key risk factor for diabetes.
2. Choose low-GI carbs. Low-GI (glycemic index) carbs help manage blood glucose and keep you feeling fuller for longer. So you will snack less and have fewer cravings. This will also help you to concentrate better. Look for low-GI carbohydrates, such as whole grains, rolled oats, whole-grain pasta, quinoa, buckwheat, and barley.
3. Choose healthy fats. Nourishing plant fats from whole foods such as extra-virgin olive oil, unsalted nuts and seeds, and avocado will help slow the release of glucose into your bloodstream, all of which lead to better blood-sugar control. They will also help reduce inflammation in your body, which has been linked to a range of chronic diseases, including diabetes.
4. Focus on whole foods. Evidence is accumulating that the best way to prevent, treat, and even reverse diabetes is with a plant-based diet. Basing your diet on a variety of whole foods, including whole-grain bread and cereals, fruits, vegetables, and nuts and seeds, will help lower your risk of diabetes. Try replacing some meat meals with plant proteins such as legumes, as these are high in fiber and help manage blood-sugar levels. At the same time, it’s important to limit highly processed, high-fat, and high-sugar foods.
THREE KINDS OF DIABETES
TYPE 1 DIABETES is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This means the body can’t make its own insulin and needs insulin injections or an insulin pump every day. The cause is unknown, and no cure has been found.
TYPE 2 DIABETES is a lifestyle-related condition and a chronic disease. It’s most commonly found in adults over 45 years of age, although we’re now seeing children as young as five being diagnosed due to an increase in childhood obesity. It’s mainly linked to extra body weight gained as a result of unhealthy lifestyle habits.
GESTATIONAL DIABETES occurs during pregnancy. It usually goes away after the baby is born, although it does increase the risk of the mother developing type 2 diabetes later. Gestational diabetes can generally be managed by following a healthy lifestyle, but for some women, insulin injections may be required.
Article courtesy of Sanitarium Health Food Company. Visit sanitarium.com.au and subscribe to Wholicious Living for more great health and nutrition info each month.