With the increasingly alarming statistics about the rapid increase in the numbers of confirmed diabetics in this country, you may well be wondering what you can do to prevent diabetes from interfering with your life. It is estimated that over 48 million people in the United States will be affected by this disease by 2050, if the numbers continue to swell as they have in the last few years.
The sad truth is that as many as 95% of the 1 million new cases that will be identified this year will be Type II and the majority of them would have been preventable if different lifestyle choices had been made. It would appear that the residents of one of the richest countries in the world are very busy eating themselves to death, and diabetes is often the first stop along the track.
While it should be said that there is a small minority of people who are genetically predisposed to this disease and who should practice preventative maintenance with extra medical supervision, for the majority of people it is possible to prevent diabetes by adding regular exercise and a healthy diet to your lifestyle. Unlike the “good old days” when everyone was committed to daily physical activity just to survive, it is possible today to spend most of your waking hours just sitting, and still get paid for that.
Unfortunately, your body was not designed for inactivity, and it functions best when exercised. You need both aerobic exercise to burn fat and strength-training for a strong healthy body. The combination of these two forms of exercise can really whittle off unwanted pounds. The other important part of the plan to prevent diabetes is to change poor eating habits into healthy ones before you are diagnosed with either pre-diabetes or full blown diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association recommends a heart-healthy approach combined with portion control. Basically, you are limiting the sweets in your diet by cutting out processed foods and those with high sugar content. Adding in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds is a way to keep you blood sugar at a lower, more manageable level.
While doctors don’t really know why whole grains have such a positive effect, they recommend that you build your diet on these. You can tell just how high the quality is in an advertised product by how far up the ingredients’ list the grains appear. They should be first or second if the product is truly a whole grain food. Increasing your fiber also seems to help prevent diabetes, although, again, doctors are not sure why. They do know that fiber is good for your heart and helps with weight loss because it creates a full feeling that staves off hunger pains longer.
If you are willing to make these lifestyle changes, you are taking the most significant step towards helping your body prevent diabetes from attacking. Losing even a small amount of weight ( 5-10% of initial weight) through diet and exercise has been shown to reduce your risk of diabetes up to 58% over three years. When you look at it this way, who wouldn’t want to make the right choice to live longer and be healthier?