The risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes increases with age. In fact, the American Diabetes Association recommends a glucose screening every year after a person turns 45 years old. Additional risk factors include having family members who are also diabetic, being overweight, and having a sedentary lifestyle. Here are three key points that will help prevent the onset of diabetes.
1. Weight Loss – The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) conducted a study for its National Diabetes Prevention Program and determined that persons who lost 5-7% of their weight could reduce the chance of developing diabetes by 58%. This relatively small loss created a large impact. When a person has extra weight, it makes it harder for the pancreas to produce the necessary insulin for the body. At some point the pancreas is no longer able to keep up with the amount of food being eaten. To aid in weight loss and more consistent blood sugar levels, eat smaller amounts more frequently rather than one or two large meals. The body will feel full and easily process the food being eaten.
2. Healthy Diet – While a healthy diet will usually aid in weight loss, nutritious foods are also easier for the body to process and less taxing on the pancreas. Even if you are not overweight, it is important to eat well. Avoid fatty, salty, and overly sweet foods. Cutting back on red meat and processed foods will help both your heart and your pancreas. A healthy diet isn’t all about what you can’t eat, however. There also many good choices that help the body to work more efficiently. Choose low-fat or nonfat dairy options such as milk and cheese. Choose small amount of good fats such as nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. Also, increase fiber intake through whole grains found in breads and cereals. Finally, make sure to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. A range of colors throughout the day in orange, red, and green produce will ensure many flavors and the necessary vitamins and nutrients that your body requires.
3. Stay Active – A sedentary lifestyle will cause problems regardless of whether the person is overweight. Everyone should strive for at least 30 minutes of light to moderate activity 5 days a week. If you are not used to this amount of exercise, it is best to start slow with a low-impact activity, such as walking. A short 15 minute walk after a meal will aid in digestion and stabilize blood sugar levels as well. Be sure to inform your doctor that you are beginning a new exercise program. To stay motivated, try to find a fun activity such as a group swim aerobics class, dancing with a partner, or even chasing after your grandchildren.
These are all tips for a healthy lifestyle regardless of whether you are at risk for diabetes. Take the action now to prevent the disease and enjoy a healthy life.