Lower Your Diabetes Risk
Popular culture offers up all sorts of reasons to adopt a healthy lifestyle: drop pounds, get toned, and gain energy. Yet healthy choices, maintained over time, can reap far more important long-term gains, including prevention of chronic diseases. In fact, being active, watching carbohydrate portions, and bypassing sweets are great ways to help prevent diabetes.
Diabetes is on the rise in America, with 30.3 million people living with the disease. With type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, your body does not use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body control blood sugar. Over time, high blood sugar levels can lead to heart, kidney, eye, or nerve problems.
The good news is, adopting healthy habits can go a long way in helping prevent diabetes and preventative screening now can help you get ahead of potential problems. Try following these tips to help avoid diabetes.
Cut Refined Carbs
Crackers, cookies, chips, pasta, and many breads are just a few of the refined carbohydrates that are a regular part of many people’s daily meals and snacks. Look instead for whole grains, such as:
- Whole wheat pasta.
- Whole grain cereals. Look for those with three grams of dietary fiber or more per serving, including those made from whole wheat, wheat bran, and oats.
- Whole grain breads. To be a good source of fiber, one slice of bread should have at least three grams of fiber. Look for breads with the first ingredient listed as a whole grain. For example, whole wheat or oats.
This isn’t just about skipping that candy bar or piece of cake. To truly avoid added sugar, you have to read labels. Even foods we think of as healthy, such as yogurt, smoothies, or granola bars, can have a high carb count due to sugars. In addition to sugar, look for the ingredients dextrose, fructose, sucrose, cane syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup.
Sugary beverages like soda and juice have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes. By contrast, consuming water may provide benefits. Some studies have found that increased water consumption may lead to better blood sugar control and insulin response. Consider drinking sparkling waters that do not contain any added sugar as one way to add some variety to your water intake.
Scientists have found that exercise increases insulin sensitivity in cells, resulting in your body needing less insulin to keep your blood sugar under control. One study in people with prediabetes found that moderate-intensity exercise increased insulin sensitivity by 51% and high-intensity exercise increased it by 85%. However, this effect only occurred on workout days.
Both aerobic exercise and resistance training are beneficial. If you aren’t regularly exercising now, ask your physician to help you make a plan that’s tailored to your specific health needs and fitness level.
Get a Blood Sugar Check and Prevention Plan
The primary care providers at LeBauer HealthCare can screen for diabetes with blood tests and provide prevention guidance based on your individual and family health history. Schedule a primary care appointment today.
Need a Specialist?
If you already have diabetes, our experienced team can help manage it. For those who have trouble managing blood sugar of other complications, LeBauer endocrinologists can help. Learn more about our endocrinologists.