November is National Diabetes Month, which is fitting since we are
entering the time of year when we tend to overindulge and gain weight.
Take action now to reduce your risk or slow the progression of the
A whopping 79 million people in the United States have prediabetes, a
condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but
not high enough to be fully diabetic. Many don’t even know they have
elevated blood glucose levels ("blood sugar”). In addition to increasing
the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, those with prediabetes also
face an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. This epidemic is
due largely to the growing problem of obesity and a more sedentary
lifestyle. The good news is that with the right diet and lifestyle
changes, you can delay or even prevent diabetes from developing.
Being physically active on a regular basis can help make muscle cells
more sensitive to insulin’s action. It also aids in weight control.
When you weigh less, insulin works better and keeps blood sugar levels
in better control.
Good nutrition and healthy diet choices are critical in getting
elevated blood sugar levels back to normal. Start with these diet basics
to get you back on track:
- No juices, regular sodas or other sugar-laden beverages.
- Eat 2-3 servings of fruit and a minimum of 3-6 servings of
vegetables per day. Fruits and veggies are rich in fiber, vitamins,
minerals and phytochemicals and low in sodium and fat. A serving is one
medium sized piece of fruit (think tennis ball), ½ cup of cut up fruit
or vegetables, 1 cup raw leafy vegetables and ¼ cup dried fruit.
- Aim for 30 grams of fiber per day.
- Avoid products made with refined grains and white flour and limit intake of starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn.
- Fill up on lower carbohydrate containing veggies: green beans,
lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage,
carrots, onions, water chestnuts, radishes, bell peppers, mushrooms,
spinach, kale and other greens.
Another great tip: Cinnamon spice
could help those with poorly controlled diabetes improve their blood
sugar levels. A recent study found those who consumed 2 grams of
cinnamon for 3 months had lower average blood sugars and lower blood
pressure than those who did not take the cinnamon.