7 simple rules you must follow to keep diabetes at bay
Diabetes is becoming common worldwide. To reduce your chances of getting the disease, follow these lifestyle measures that can help you lead a healthier life.
Are you sitting for more than 10 hours, working or watching screen, and making no efforts to exercise or go for a walk? You could be raising your risk of diabetes, one of the fastest-growing diseases in the world that could be linked to your lifestyle choices. Coupled with unhealthy eating habits like low-fibre, high fat, and sugary diet, and modern-day stress, diabetes could strike even earlier than expected. Once diagnosed, diabetes management is a life-long exercise as uncontrolled blood sugar levels can wreak havoc with both mental and physical health. As per WHO, about 422 million people have diabetes around the world and almost 1.5 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes annually. (ALSO READ | Diabetes prevention: 6 practical tips to follow a low-sugar diet and reduce sweet cravings)
More people are at risk of diabetes than ever before due to their faulty lifestyle choices, and to prevent the disease, it would require conscious efforts every day. However, it's possible to avoid diabetes if you are walking regularly, eating a balanced diet with fibre, protein and other essential food groups, managing your stress levels, sleeping well and avoiding smoking and alcohol.
Dr. V. Mohan, Head of MDRF-Hinduja Foundation T1D program and also Chairman & Chief of Diabetology, Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre & President, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, Chennai, India in an interview with HT Digital talks about lifestyle changes that can help us keep diabetes at bay.
Lifestyle changes for diabetes
Diabetes is a growing global health concern that affects millions of people worldwide. While there is no sure-fire way to guarantee you won't develop diabetes, there are proven strategies that can significantly reduce your risk. Lifestyle changes play a pivotal role in diabetes prevention.
1. Eat balanced diet
What you are eating can greatly affect your chances of getting diabetes. While high-carb and high-sugar diet with little or no fibre can put you at increased risk of getting the metabolic disorder, a balanced diet with the right nutrients can help you in shedding kilos, nourishing your body and balancing your blood sugar levels. It is important to include a lot of fibre-rich foods in your diet like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Fiber helps control blood sugar and promotes a feeling of fullness.
If you have a sweet tooth, you should reconsider the sources from where you are satiating your cravings as refined sugars and simple carbohydrates can play havoc with your blood sugar levels. It is important to eliminate sugary snacks, sodas, and processed foods from your diet and go for complex carbohydrates like whole grains - brown rice, oats or millets and healthier alternatives to sugar. If you are someone who eats even without any hunger, it's time to wake up to the power of portion control. Be mindful of portions to avoid overeating, which can lead to weight gain and blood sugar spikes.
2. Do regular physical exercise
If you are physically active and exercise for the recommended time, it will help you control weight and improve insulin sensitivity. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. You must choose workout of your choice be it walking, cycling, dancing, or swimming. Including strength training in your workout regime is also important as building muscle can enhance your metabolism and help regulate blood sugar levels.
3. Manage your weight
Being overweight or obese significantly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Losing even a small amount of weight can make a big difference. Set achievable weight loss goals and seek support from a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian.
4. Monitor your blood sugar
Regularly monitoring your blood sugar levels can help identify any potential issues early. If you have a family history of diabetes or other risk factors, discuss a screening schedule with your healthcare provider. Today we have continuous glucose monitoring sensors which can give you a complete picture of glucose levels throughout the day.
5. Say no to smoking and alcohol
Smoking and excessive alcohol are both linked to an increased risk of diabetes. Quitting smoking and moderating alcohol intake can have a positive impact on your overall health.
6. Manage your stress
Chronic stress can contribute to the development of diabetes. Explore stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises like pranayama or hobbies to promote relaxation and emotional well-being.
7. Sleep properly
Not sleeping enough disrupts hormonal balance and can lead to insulin resistance. Strive for 6-8 hours of quality sleep each night to support your overall health.
Preventing diabetes is within your grasp through proactive lifestyle changes. Embracing a balanced diet, regular exercise, weight management, and other healthy habits can significantly reduce your risk of developing this chronic condition.