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November is National Diabetes Month

Posted By Therese Patterson, NC, Thursday, November 10, 2011
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2014

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 disease.

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.

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