Type 2 diabetes is a serious health condition that can cause serious complications, including heart disease, eye and foot problems, kidney disease, and peripheral neuropathy. You aren’t destined to acquire type 2 diabetes, even if you have a family history of the condition. Simple lifestyle steps can help protect you from developing the condition.
Even if you can’t totally prevent development of the disease, you can delay its onset. This is important because the longer you have type 2 diabetes, the more likely you’ll experience associated health problems as a result.
Take these essential steps today. The team at South Plains Rural Health is available to help you adopt these lifestyle habits.
1. Lose weight.
If you’re overweight, lose some extra pounds. You don’t have to get down to supermodel size; simply losing 5-7% of your starting weight can prevent or delay diabetes.
2. Get moving.
Aim for the minimum activity levels recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Go at least 30 minutes at a moderate intensity, five days of the week. A brisk walk, bike ride, gardening, or doubles tennis all count.
3. Eat healthier.
You don’t have to eat rabbit food all the time, but you should aim to eat a mostly balanced diet. Make most of your meals contain fresh vegetables and fruit, lean protein (think flank steak and chicken breast), and whole grains, such as brown rice or quinoa.
4. Switch from sugary sodas.
Put away sugar-sweetened beverages and opt for water or plain tea instead. Soda, sports drinks, fancy coffee drinks, and sweet tea are all offenders.
5. Limit your intake of alcohol.
When you drink to excess, you risk weight gain. Alcohol can also put you at risk for high blood pressure and high triglycerides. If you’re a man, stick to just two standard drinks each day. Women should have just one.
6. Limit processed foods.
Processed foods, whether that’s from the drive-thru or the freezer, usually contain a lot of added fat, sugar, calories, and salt. Cook for yourself whenever possible and use fresh, whole ingredients like leafy greens, plain meat, and healthy fats, such as olive oil or avocado.
7. Quit smoking.
Smoking may actually increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. People who smoke are 30-40% more likely to develop the disease. And, if you already have type 2 diabetes and continue to smoke, it’s harder for you to control your blood sugar levels and minimize complications.
8. Eat more fiber.
Fiber, found in whole grains and fresh fruits, beans, and vegetables, can help you control your blood sugar levels, which is especially important if you’re at risk of type 2 diabetes. Fiber can also make you feel fuller at meals, assisting with weight loss.
9. Ask about metformin.
If you’re at high risk for type 2 diabetes, ask the professionals at South Plains Rural Health about medications that can prevent its full development. Metformin may help prevent development of type 2 diabetes by 31%, in certain individuals.
If you’re concerned about developing type 2 diabetes, talk to the team at South Plains Rural Health. We support you in your quest to a healthier lifestyle.