We’re getting a jump-start on Diabetes Awareness Month, which this year is November. Diabetes can be such a preventable disease (and many cases can be managed without medication). It’s worth hearing a lot about it for the next couple of months.
What Is Diabetes?
A diabetes diagnosis means the body has a chronic high blood glucose level. Those with Type 1 diabetes (about 5% of cases) don’t make insulin, the hormone responsible for getting the carbohydrates we eat into the body’s cells in the form of glucose. Those with Type 2 still make insulin, but not enough, or it’s not working properly. Either way, diabetes is a very serious disease that can lead to life-threatening complications.
All of those with Type 1 and some with Type 2 are dependent upon taking insulin to manage their blood sugar. Some with Type 2 can manage the disease with a healthy lifestyle. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way for you to avoid getting diabetes? For many, there is: diet & exercise.
Eat To Fight Diabetes
All this month, we’ll focus on what you can do to prevent developing diabetes or manage the disease if you already have it. This week’s focus is insulin resistance, something I see more & more in clients.
According to Diabetes Forecast, insulin resistance is “characterized by the body’s inability to respond to and use insulin that it produces, meaning that insulin cannot function properly and higher levels of insulin are needed to achieve the same effects. This can result in high blood glucose levels and high levels of insulin in the blood. If allowed to worsen, pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes can develop. Insulin resistance develops in people who have a family history of it, in people who are overweight, and in people who live a sedentary lifestyle.” While you can’t change your family history, you can absolutely lose weight and change a sedentary lifestyle.
The formula for weight loss is simple, but not always easy: Eat less, eat right, and move more. Learn to eat right by keeping a food diary to see areas you can change. Incorporate healthier choices in smaller portions, like:
- Have oatmeal with blueberries and six walnuts for breakfast
- Snack on an apple with a little peanut butter
- Ditch the diet soda and try sparkling water
- Choose grilled or roasted over fried
Make sure you’re getting enough omega-3 fatty acids. A new study published in the European Journal of Lipid Sciences and Technology shows improved insulin-resistance in participants who had one gram of omega-3s (EPA and DHA) compared to the placebo group who didn’t. Add this to the long list of benefits omega-3s supply, and it’s a no-brainer to make sure you’re getting enough with:
- fatty, cold water fish like salmon
- nuts such as walnuts
- seeds such as chia and flax
- fortified foods like eggs and cereal
You can also take fish oil supplements. Don’t cheap-out here; buy a good quality choice from a health-food store. You want one that’s been distilled and is tested to be free of contaminants. Nordic Naturals is a good choice.