Diabetes is on the rise within the American population today. It is estimated that almost 41 million Americans have pre-diabetes and people with pre-diabetes have a 50/50 chance of developing diabetes within ten years. The medical profession attributes the increase in this disease to the contemporary sedentary lifestyle coupled with high fat intake.
However, diabetes is a very preventable disease and there are strategies you can employ to ensure that you will not develop it. And these involve only simple lifestyle changes.
For instance, an extra hour of sleep each night can do wonders. When you are deprived of sleep, the levels of the stress hormone cortisol rise. Cortisol interferes with the body’s attempt to use insulin, a Reversirol hormone that helps your body regulate blood sugar.
In addition, when people are exhausted they tend to indulge in sweet foods, which can play havoc with blood sugar levels. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night will help keep your blood sugar in balance.
Exercise regularly. A twenty-minute walk each day or three hours of exercise each week will increase your muscles’ production of insulin.
Substitute sweet fruits for sweets. Strawberries, grapes, blueberries, melons, bananas all contain soluble fibers. And you need more fiber rich foods to your diet. Bran cereals, wheat germ, beans, and dried peas all help to keep blood sugar levels in check. A bowl of bran cereal topped with fruit is an ideal breakfast to prevent diabetes.
Since magnesium helps your body to process insulin properly, you need to add magnesium-rich foods to your diet. Look for wheat breads, nuts, seeds, and beans. If you don’t think you are getting enough magnesium in your diet ask your doctor about a supplement.
Calcium is also important in helping cells utilize insulin. Doctors recommend 1200 mg. of calcium a day or four to five servings of dairy a day. Try milk, yogurt, cheese or cottage cheese.
Calcium is active in preventing diseases other than diabetes, so if you have problems digesting dairy products, definitely ask your doctor about taking a supplement. There are also combination magnesium-calcium supplements available at health food stores.
Another recommended supplement is Vitamin E. Not only does vitamin E increase your body’s ability to convert blood sugar to usable energy, it is also a powerful antioxidant that protects your heart and improves the function of your immune system.
Avoid animal fats and opt for plant fats. Cook with sesame oil, olive oil and flax. Incorporate avocados, nuts and peanut butter into your diet. Plant fats improve the body’s ability to utilize glucose properly and that helps regulate blood sugar levels.
Substitute sugar free drinks for sodas. Researchers have found that tea and coffee, especially if consumed a half hour before meals, increase insulin production. However, you should use an artificial sweetener instead of sugar or drink it without any sweetener at all.