Type 2 Diabetes is one of the fastest growing health problems in India. Before people develop type 2 Diabetes, they almost always have pre Diabetes- a condition where blood glucose is higher than normal but not yet too high enough to be diagnosed as Diabetes. Diabetes is largely preventable in people with pre Diabetes.
As you get older, your risk for type 2 diabetes increases. Having high body weight or family history of type 2 diabetes also increases your risk. Diabetes prevention is as simple as eating healthy diet, being more physically active and losing a few extra pounds – it is never late to start. While there is no cure once you get it, making few simple lifestyle changes to improve your health can prevent Diabetes.
Here are top 10 tips to prevent diabetes:
1. Have lots of fibre. Add more vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds to your diet. Fibre allows body to digest food without the spike in blood sugar. It also helps you to lose weight. It also makes you feel full, so that you eat less food.
2. Go for whole grains. Whole grain bread, pasta and cereals are all good for preventing Diabetes. Limit intake of refined carbohydrates like white flour, sugary candies, cookies etc. as it increases the diabetes risk.
3. Keep moving. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise per day is recommended for at least five days a week. Physical activity lowers blood glucose levels and increases insulin sensitivity.
4. Lose extra weight. Central Obesity is one of the leading causes of Diabetes. Excess weight makes it harder for the body to use Insulin to control blood sugar. Losing just a little weight makes a huge difference.
5. Avoid eating trans fats. Trans fats boost belly fat and increase risk of heart disease and diabetes. They also increase cholesterol levels. Trans fats are high in calories. Replenish your cupboard with food items containing unsaturated fats like nuts, soya bean oil, olive oil and fish.
6. Choose your proteins wisely. Prefer lean protein like skinless chicken and fish over higher fat meats and cheese whenever possible. Instead of red meat, go for poultry, sea food and legumes like beans, lentils and nuts. All are good sources of proteins and leaner proteins are low in saturated fats, cholesterol as well as calories, thereby reducing the risk of Diabetes and heart disease.
7. Limit intake of sugary drinks. High fructose corn syrup in sodas or other beverages increase the risk for Diabetes. These drinks are loaded with sugar. Even fruit juice is high in sugar, so stick to fruit itself.
8. Identify your risk factor and plan to work on it. Sedentary lifestyle, Hypertension i.e. high blood pressure, dyslipidaemia and history of gestational diabetes are some additional risk factors for Diabetes.
9. Quit Smoking. Smoking increases risk for Diabetes. Smoking and Diabetes together can increase your risk for heart disease, nerve damage and kidney, foot and eye problems.
10. Check your levels. If you are older than 45 years and your weight is normal, ask your doctor whether blood sugar testing is appropriate for you. According to American Diabetes Association blood glucose testing is required if:
- Your age is 45 or older and you are overweight
- You are younger than age 45 and overweight with one or more additional risk factors for Diabetes such as sedentary lifestyle and family history of diabetes.