The risk of developing type 2 diabetes grows with age, but you can take simple steps to build your defense early on. Going back to the basics of health and wellness—sticking to a healthy diet and staying active—is essential in diabetes prevention and management, and can help set you on the path to a fuller and healthier life.
What Is Diabetes?
Ranked as the seventh leading cause of death in the US, diabetes is a chronic health condition affecting more than 34 million adults. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, type 2 diabetes represents 90–95% of diabetes cases, while the less common type 1 diabetes accounts for the remaining 5–10%.
Type 2 diabetes patients have abnormally high blood sugar levels because the body stops using or making insulin, a hormone produced in your pancreas. Insulin helps control blood sugar levels by regulating the glucose that your cells use for energy. If there is not enough insulin or the cells become resistant to the hormone, glucose builds up in your bloodstream.
Diabetes Meal Planning
Fortunately, changing up your diet in favor of healthier alternatives can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A diabetes diet is a low-fat, high-nutrient eating plan that features generous amounts of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. This nutrition plan makes sure you avoid extra calories and fat that can cause an unnecessary spike in your blood glucose levels. Additionally, various studies have shown that eating these foods is linked to a lower risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
Your nutrition plan should contain healthy carbohydrates and good fats, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy products. It’s also ideal to stick to good old water for your hydration needs.
Whole grains are a good source of dietary fiber, which can help with insulin sensitivity and won’t give you a spike in blood sugar. It is harder to break down and helps slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and the release of sugar into your bloodstream, thus improving your blood sugar levels. Fruits and vegetables are also good sources of fiber.
Likewise, because whole grains, fruits, and veggies are fiber-rich foods, they also help you achieve a healthy weight or contribute to healthy weight loss. You can feel fuller and stay satisfied longer after eating high-fiber foods. Being overweight is a major risk factor in the development of type 2 diabetes, so keeping your weight at a healthy range is vital in diabetes prevention.
There are also healthier ways to prepare your food. Instead of having it breaded or fried, you can opt to broil, roast, grill, or steam. Replace white varieties of bread, pasta, and rice with more nutritious alternatives like whole grain. You should also eat fruits as snacks instead of sugary packaged food.
Creating a healthier meal plan can be done with the help of a medical professional. Aside from a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, they may also advise you to practice healthy lifestyle choices, such as staying active. It will help keep your blood sugar levels in check, reduce the risk of complications, and potentially reverse the course of the disease if it’s still in the prediabetes stage.
Remember to also have your blood sugar checked so your physician can assess whether you might need more dedicated care or recommendations for lifestyle and dietary changes. It is possible to cut your type 2 diabetes risk, so don’t wait until you develop the disease to make healthier decisions.
Quality Diabetes Care in Irmo, SC
When blood sugar levels are not adequately regulated, type 2 diabetes may cause potentially life-threatening medical complications like heart disease, stroke, and damage to the nerves, kidneys, and eyes. It’s important to develop a diabetes nutrition plan and eat healthily, especially if you have a higher risk of developing the disease.
Consult with a specialist who will take your medical history and food preferences into full consideration. We understand that the journey of each diabetes patient is unique, so you can trust our highly trained medical team at SC Internal Medicine Associates and Rehabilitation in Irmo, South Carolina. Our mission is to advance your health through lifelong relationships and comprehensive, compassionate care.
Let us help you reach your health and wellness goals today. Call (803) 749-1111 or fill out our secure online appointment request form. We look forward to being your long-term healthcare partner!