Did you know 280 Australians develop diabetes everyday? That’s one person every 5 minutes whose body cannot maintain healthy levels of glucose int he blood.
Diabetes is a complex condition which can affect the entire body. Diabetes requires daily self care and if complications develop, diabetes can have a significant impact on quality of life and can reduce life expectancy. While there is currently no cure for diabetes, you can live an enjoyable life by learning about the condition and effectively managing it.
Here are some amazing tips to help you balance blood sugar and prevent diabetes.
1. Cut out processed food and refined sugars; think ‘white’ foods like cakes, bread, biscuits etc.
Diets high in refined carbohydrates and sugar contribute to blood sugar imbalance and increase your risk of metabolic disease. Examples of refined and high-sugar foods include white bread, biscuits, cakes, processed cereals, etc. Foods like this causes spikes in blood sugar and insulin, which will increase risk of developing diabetes.
2. Up your intake of whole grains (e.g. rice and quinoa), legumes (e.g. lentils) and pulses (e.g. chickpeas).
Whole grains, legumes and pulses should feature regularly in your diet and can take the place of refined grains and carbohydrates, if you are trying to cut out the latter. Whole grains and legumes don’t contain individual ‘super nutrients’ that explain their beneficial effect, rather it’s the whole package that benefits your health. These foods are complex mix of compounds that benefit health. For example, fibre to regulate digestion and sustain blood sugar levels, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that contribute to healthy metabolism, help to reduce inflammation and support overall wellbeing.
3. Get plenty of ‘good’ fats in your diet from avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds, oily fish, etc.
The type of fat you consume will also impact on your risk of metabolic disease and diabetes. Fats should feature regularly in your diet, and ideally they should be monounsaturated fats (found in olive oil, avocado, nuts, etc), omega 3 fatty acids (found in oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, walnuts, etc), with some saturated fats (found in coconut oil, grass fed butter and free range meats). Avoid trans-fatty acids, which are found in margarines, fried foods, and many packaged / processed foods, as these promote inflammation and can increase risk for disease such as diabetes.
4. Move your body, preferably every day for at least half an hour.
A sedentary lifestyle contributes to many lifestyle diseases, including diabetes. Regularly exercising improves circulation, heart health, reduces fat and promotes adequate muscle mass. Obesity and overweight significantly contribute to the risk of developing metabolic disease. So, by reducing weight and fat to a healthy level, while increasing muscle mass through exercise, you will improve your cells ability to use insulin and regulate blood glucose levels.
5. Drink water the most, herbal teas anytime, coffee occasionally and alcohol rarely.
Adequate hydration is extremely important for all aspects of health, including blood sugar balance. Drinking water or non-caffeinated herbal tea regularly throughout the day is the best way to keep your fluids up. Steer clear of sugary drinks (soft drink, juices, etc) as these significantly contribute to disease and diabetes risk over time. Coffee and caffeinated tea can be an enjoyable occasional drink – 1 or 2 per day may be fine – but should not be relied upon as your major fluid intake. Alcohol on occasion, if you drink it, can also be included into a balanced diet and lifestyle but shouldn’t be drunk every day or to excess, as this is strongly associated with hear disease, diabetes and even cancer.
For more advice on how to reduce your risk of developing diabetes, or to find out what steps you specifically can take to improve your health, make a time to talk to Kathleen in the clinic.