Diabetes is a disease which occurs when your blood glucose (blood sugar) is too high. Glucose is your main source of energy and is provided by your food. Diabetes affects your body’s ability to produce insulin.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, which transports and allows glucose to enter your cells to be used as energy. If you are insulin resistant or if you produce little or no insulin, the process of getting the glucose to the cells is hindered resulting in high blood glucose left in the blood.
There are two types of Diabetes:
Type 1 Diabetes
Your body does not produce insulin at all and you will have to take insulin daily.
Type 2 Diabetes
Your body does not make or use insulin well. This is the most common type of diabetes.
There is no cure for Diabetes although it can be managed.
If not managed, over time, high blood glucose leads to other health problems such as:
- heart disease
- kidney disease
- eye problems
- dental disease
- nerve damage
- foot problems
Therefore, prevention is better than cure!
Here are 9 lifestyle changes you can make to prevent diabetes:
1. Manage your weight
Being overweight is a risk factor for developing diabetes. Excess body fat especially around the abdomen increases the body’s resistance to the hormone insulin. For every kilogram of excess body fat loss, may reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 16%.
2. A healthy diet
Eat a healthy balanced diet. Eat plenty of food high in fiber. Fiber helps to reduce your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control, it lowers your risk of heart disease and promotes weight loss by helping you feel more fuller. Fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and nuts are foods high in fiber. Whole grains help to maintain blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of diabetes. Therefore, replace grains with whole grains instead.
Cut back on salt, takeaways and process foods, these are generally high in trans fat, saturated fat and kilojoules (sugar). Avoid simple carbohydrates (sugary treats) as they result in a blood glucose spike. Rather eat complex carbohydrates which have slow releasing energy.
It’s best to cook for yourself using fresh ingredients whenever possible.
3. Drink more water
Water improves body circulation and function resulting in a healthier body. Sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to obesity and diabetes and should, therefore, be avoided.
Limit your alcohol intake as too much alcohol may increase your blood pressure and triglyceride levels as well as lead to weight gain.
4. Physical activity
A lack of exercise raises the risk of diabetes. There are many benefits to prevent diabetes with exercise, these include lowering blood sugar, losing weight, and boosting your insulin sensitivity which keeps your blood sugar level within normal range.
According to research, diabetes can be controlled by aerobic exercise and resistance training. Although, a brisk walk can also be enough to get you started.
5. Control your stress
The release of several hormones that increase blood sugar is triggered by the stress response. There are many ways to control stress. To learn how to take control of your stress and anxiety, click here.
6. Sleep enough
Chronic sleep deprivation and poor quality sleep may increase the risk of developing diabetes and obesity. Find ways to improve your sleep, such as using essential oils, meditating before going to bed, listening to peaceful music while falling asleep or using herbals teas to induce relaxation and aid sleep. Our Serenity Tea is great for calming the mind and as it promotes comfort and sleep. See more about the Serenity Tea here.
7. Regular checkups
As you age, regular checkups are of the essence. It’s important to check your blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol levels.
8. Quit smoking
Smokers are twice as likely to develop diabetes than non-smokers.
9. Use turmeric
Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric and research has shown that it may help to treat aspects of diabetes. It reduces insulin resistance by assisting insulin to enter the cells as well as improve insulin function. Curcumin could potentially slow down complications as a result of inflammation in patients suffering from diabetes because it is high in anti-inflammatory properties.
Many studies have shown that curcumin reduces blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It also prevented liver fat accumulation in rats on a high-fat diet. Beta cells produce insulin. Studies have also shown that beta cells grew faster and lived longer in rats that consumed curcumin.