Preventing and Managing Diabetes Through Lifestyle Changes3 min read
If you have diabetes or just want to prevent it, making small lifestyle changes could be the key to staying healthy.
Dieting can help you shed pounds and regulate hormones, decreasing the likelihood of developing diabetes. Furthermore, exercise is a great way to increase energy levels and enhance insulin sensitivity.
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
Altering your diet and exercising regularly can help prevent and manage diabetes. Additionally, it helps you shed pounds, lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, as well as lower the likelihood of heart disease or stroke.
A nutritious diet should include plenty of fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, unsaturated fats, lean meats and dairy products. Eating these foods provides us with essential fiber, protein and essential vitamins and minerals in sufficient amounts.
Limiting foods high in sugar, salt and saturated or trans fats is essential for a nutritious diet. Eating these items may cause your blood glucose level to rise faster than other meals and put you at greater risk for heart disease and stroke.
2. Get Regular Exercise
Exercising regularly is one of the best things you can do for your health. Not only does it increase energy levels, but it may also make you feel better and sleep better at night.
Additionally, losing weight helps you maintain a healthy body composition, decreasing your risk for diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
If you have never exercised before, start with low-impact activities like walking and work up to more intense workouts. It is especially essential that you consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Exercise regularly can help regulate your blood glucose, which may be beneficial in managing diabetes. It also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Exercising also builds strength and flexibility; strengthening bones, muscles, and joints at the same time!
3. Manage Your Weight
One of the best ways to improve your health is through weight management. Eating within a healthy range helps prevent diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers from occurring. Some effective methods for losing those extra pounds include calorie counting, exercising regularly and controlling portion sizes.
For example, high fiber carbohydrate foods like beans, sweet potatoes and whole grains are more beneficial for diabetics than white rice or pasta. Plus, remember to drink more water! For diabetics especially, adding in some fruit or veggie servings to their diet is also a wise decision.
It can also be beneficial to have a weight loss buddy who will hold you accountable and check in on your progress, especially if you’re having difficulty sticking with the plan.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is an integral part of managing diabetes. Without enough shut-eye, you’re more likely to feel fatigued, cranky and more susceptible to making poor decisions.
Lack of sleep can put you at greater risk for health issues like weight gain and depression. Furthermore, lack of shut-eye could increase the likelihood of heart disease as well.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
No sleep can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as work commitments, daily stresses or medical conditions. Fortunately, most sleep issues are fixable with some simple lifestyle modifications.
5. Monitor Your Blood Sugar
One of the most essential steps you can take to prevent and manage diabetes is monitoring your blood glucose levels. This will allow your doctor to identify what’s causing them to rise or fall outside their usual range.
Testing your blood sugar several times a day – before meals and snacks as well as two hours after eating – will give your doctor and you an indication of how food, exercise and medications affect it.
Keep track of your results with many blood glucose meters that allow logging on a computer or smartphone. This can be an excellent way to view trends and show your doctor how well you’re progressing with the treatment plan.