Be the Healthiest Version of You
Check out our health tips for American Diabetes Month
Diabetes is a dangerous illness, but you can take steps for good health—and minimize your risk. Did you know 9.3 percent of our population (29.1 million adults and children) currently have this disease? And 8.1 million people are undiagnosed.* Those are scary statistics, but healthy lifestyle behaviors reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes—and can help you stay in your best health if you already have either type 2 or type 1. In preparation for American Diabetes Month this November, check out our eight healthy lifestyle and prevention tips.
Get up and get to it!
Moving more can help you to maintain your blood glucose within normal levels. The American Diabetes Association recommends just 30 minutes of exercise per day, five times per week. And don’t fret if you hate the gym: activities like walking, gardening, housework, biking or dancing all count as physical activity!
Look at the whole story
When in doubt, make it whole: whole wheat, that is! Whole wheat foods that are high in fiber are more difficult for the body to digest and this allows for steadier, more stable glucose and insulin production. Refined grains such as white bread, white pasta and white rice have most of the fiber removed in processing, and this gives them a high glycemic index. This means these foods cause a rapid spike in your blood glucose and insulin levels after you eat them.
People who eat more vegetables tend to enjoy many health benefits. The vitamins, minerals and fiber found in vegetables support overall good health, including digestive health and management of a healthy weight. All of these things can help ward off the development of diabetes.
Try red meat substitutes
A study conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that the consumption of red meat and hot dogs may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, especially in women. Soy is a meat alternative; it's high in protein, and low in calories and fat. Also, soy protein has been shown to help regulate glucose and insulin levels, and may lower high cholesterol. If you don’t like soy-based products, such as tofu, consider a menu that relies on poultry, fish or legumes for protein, rather than meat.
Add some spice to your life
Diabetes experts suggest adding cinnamon to your diet to help lower your blood sugar or high cholesterol levels. Sprinkle some in your morning oatmeal, on toast or into coffee grounds for a little flavor boost that might also be good for your health.
The ohms have it
Chronic stress may play a role in increasing the glucose level in your bloodstream, in addition to the other ways it wreaks havoc on your health and well-being. Bottom line: it’s beneficial to take time every day to de-stress. Yoga, meditation, walking, reading and a relaxing bath can all be helpful.
Get enough sleep
Inadequate sleep can lead to increased hunger and subsequent weight gain, putting you at risk for developing diabetes. Most people need between 7-10 hours of sleep per night. Make your bedroom a distraction-free place by removing pets at bedtime and turning off the television. Keep the temperature cool and use window blinds or a sleeping mask.
There’s no way around it: smoking and tobacco use aren’t good for you. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, smokers may be 50 percent more likely to develop diabetes than non-smokers. It’s worth it to you and those you love to leave that tobacco habit behind. Don’t go it alone. For free tips and tools to help you quit, visit the American Cancer Society online.
To learn more about diabetes, health risks and prevention, visit the American Diabetes Association website.
This information is solely for informational purposes and is not intended to provide medical advice. You should consult with your healthcare provider regarding any questions you have about your health and/or medical treatment.
1. American Diabetes Association, 2016