Diabetes is one of the most devastating medical conditions a person can have. The metabolic disorder puts you at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, dementia, and amputations. Yet, diabetes is also one of the most preventable diseases out there. Simple dietary and lifestyle changes can significantly lower your risk of developing a condition that is the seventh leading killer in America.
A simple blood test, called the A1C, can help determine if you have prediabetes or diabetes. Prediabetes puts you at greater risk for developing diabetes, but in most cases, it can be reversed by making simple lifestyle changes. Even many cases of diabetes can be managed naturally. Here are some of the most effective steps you can take:
- Eat a mostly plant-based diet.
- Get at least 30 minutes of vigorous activity a day.
- Avoid processed foods, saturated fats, and sodas.
- Add fiber-rich foods and whole grains to your diet.
- Add honey, cinnamon, and green tea to your diet. These foods help keep blood glucose levels in a healthy range.
- Lower your weight. Being obese or overweight puts more stress on your metabolism.
Diabetes is 95 percent preventable
The vast majority of people with prediabetes can avoid it too. But the earlier you start eating right, exercising and addressing the risk factors the better.
Exercise is an important part of managing diabetes. Fitness has lots of benefits: It can help improve your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. It lowers your risk for heart disease and stroke. It helps you to lose and maintain a healthy weight, reducing insulin resistance. And exercise gives you more energy and keeps your joints flexible.
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According to the American Diabetes Association’s 2017 standards of care, your goal should be to carry out a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise, spread over at least three days a week, and do strength training two or three times a week.
You can avoid diabetes complications by being diagnosed as early as possible, and start consulting a healthcare provider and making the diet and lifestyle modifications necessary. It really does make a difference if you can catch it early, prevent it, or delay it, because all the complications come from how uncontrolled the diabetes is and how long it has been uncontrolled.