Diabetes is very common in the United States and is the seventh leading cause of death. Anyone can develop diabetes, but most people who have diabetes are adults over the age of 40, and the risk increases with age. Also, people who are overweight, inactive, smoke or have family members with diabetes are at a higher risk. However, you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Simple steps can help lower your risk for type 2 diabetes:
– Eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize you have eaten enough and then can avoid going for seconds.
– Try to choose whole grains when possible, unless your doctor has advised you to avoid them. Whole grains help you achieve and maintain a healthy blood sugar control and satisfy your hunger.
– Avoid skipping meals. Skipping meals may contribute to slowing down your metabolism which can slow down you reaching your weight loss goals.
– Add more fiber to your diet for good intestinal health and blood sugar control. You can do this by including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily meals and snacks.
– Steer away from sugary drinks like regular sodas, sweetened tea, Kool-Aid. Your body can only take care of the sugar load for so long before it can’t process the sugar anymore and it begins to build up in your blood.
– Try healthier alternatives for your drinks, like cutting up some of your favorite fruits or vegetables, placing them in a pitcher of water and leave it in the refrigerator overnight to allow flavors to infuse.
– Prepare most of your meals at home to prevent eating foods high in salt, fat and sugar. By preparing your own meals you have control over how much salt and sugars you put in your food.
– Create goals and make them specific. Example: I will create and healthy plate for each meal by filling half of my plate with non-starch vegetables, one-fourth of my plate with protein (i.e. lean chicken or beef) and the other one-fourth of the plate with whole grains (i.e. brown rice).
– Remember, you can eat almost anything occasionally, if we practice moderation. Stay mindful of what you are eating, when and why. Try rewarding your successes with family time. Instead of seeking your pleasure from food. Or try something fun like riding a bike, playing ball or taking a hike.
– When trying new fresh fruits and vegetables, many grocery stores will allow you to taste the item before you purchase. Ask an associate for help next time you’re in the grocery store.
– Healthy eating is for everyone. Be a role model for children. By introducing and practicing healthy eating behavior we can avoid, delay or prevent many health related complications, like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, etc.