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Outsmart Diabetes

Whether you've been diagnosed with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, or simply want to lower your risk, knowledge is power when it comes to managing this chronic condition. While there is no guaranteed way to completely prevent or “cure” diabetes, evidence shows that lifestyle measures targeting weight, nutrition, activity levels, sleep, and stress can help reduce your risk and, if diagnosed, control symptoms and avoid complications. In this post we’ll explore practical strategies for diabetes prevention and effective management.

Understanding Diabetes

First, it’s helpful to understand diabetes basics. Diabetes develops when the body can no longer properly regulate blood sugar levels due to either insufficient insulin production (type 1) or insulin resistance (type 2). Insulin is the hormone that allows cells to uptake and utilize glucose from the bloodstream. Without it functioning properly, blood sugar spikes out of the normal range, leading to hyperglycemia and eventually negative impacts on organs, nerves, and blood vessels if prolonged.

Prediabetes means blood sugar levels are elevated beyond normal but not high enough yet for a diabetes diagnosis. Making lifestyle changes at the prediabetes stage can prevent progression to full type 2 diabetes in over 50% of people.

While genetics and non-modifiable risk factors like age and family history play a role, much of your risk comes down to lifestyle factors.

Dietary Changes to Help Prevent or Manage Diabetes

Nutrition choices have a major influence over diabetes as certain foods impact blood sugar and insulin levels more than others. Some healthy eating tips include:

  • Emphasize high fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and beans to slow carbohydrate absorption.

  • Avoid sugary beverages and limit sweets - they cause dangerous blood sugar spikes.

  • Moderate starchy carbs and processed grains - the body breaks these down into glucose rapidly.

  • Choose healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts and omega-3s which may improve insulin sensitivity.

  • Increase probiotic foods to support gut health and metabolism. Poor gut flora is linked to insulin issues.

  • Stay hydrated with water and unsweetened drinks - dehydration worsens high blood sugar.

Portion control is also key. Consult with a dietician or certified diabetes educator to determine optimal carb intake at meals for your needs. Spreading carbohydrates evenly throughout the day helps maintain steady blood sugar rather than large spikes.

Physical Activity and Exercise Recommendations

Exercise and movement are strongly connected to insulin and blood sugar regulation. Physical activity makes cells more sensitive to insulin for up to 24 hours post-workout. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise like brisk walking per week. Those with diabetes should have medical guidance tailoring activity to avoid blood sugar dips.

Some evidence also indicates that taking brief 1-2 minute walking breaks every 30 minutes may have benefits for glucose control among those with desk jobs or who sit for prolonged periods.

Stress Reduction and Improved Sleep

Mental health factors like sleep deprivation and high stress worsen insulin resistance and complicate diabetes management. Focus on quality sleep of 7-9 hours per night. Adopt relaxation practices like yoga, deep breathing, and meditation to lower cortisol and manage stress levels. Cognitive behavioral therapy can also help reduce anxiety.

Remember, these measures can significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetes or help manage the condition if you already have it. However, if you're interested in learning more about personalized holistic treatment options for diabetes or want to explore strategies to manage your risk factors, I encourage you to take the next step and schedule a consultation with one of our naturopathic providers. They can help you with tailored advice and guidance based on your unique needs. Don't wait to take control of your health. Remember, your health is your most valuable asset, and taking proactive steps now can make a significant difference in your well-being.


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