With sedentary lifestyle, refined and processed food habits, obesity and diabetes is the new age epidemic. India, in fact, is being termed as the diabetes capital of the world given the huge rise in the number of cases over the last couple of decades.
There are well established risk factors for diabetes and if these can be managed, then the chance of delaying onset, controlling progress and containing complications are highly possible. Read on to know how simple things can be effective in preventing and managing diabetes.
Weight control: Obesity is the most important risk factor for developing diabetes. A person with normal BMI is 20 to 40 times less likely to develop diabetes than an overweight person. Losing about 10% of the excess weight can help prevent diabetes by more than 50%. Check with your doctor what should be the ideal recommended weight for you and draw up a routine (diet, exercise, etc.) that will help you achieve and stay around that weight range.
Exercise: All methods of exercise help in moving the muscles, which is drastically reduced given our sedentary lifestyle. Moving the muscle (as much and as often as possible) ensures they absorb more glucose and reduce the stress on insulin production. Something as simple as brisk walking for 30 minutes is good enough to reduce the chances of developing diabetes by 50%.
Don’t be a couch potato: If watching television is your favourite pastime, it is time to change it. This puts people at risk of developing obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Also, watching television is usually associated with overeating, further adding to the risk of diabetes.
Fibrous foods: Eating fibrous fruits and vegetables as compared to refined and fried foods helps prevent diabetes.
Whole grains vs processed foods: When you have to choose between a pizza and a bowl of brown rice, go for the latter.
Good fats vs bad fats: Polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds and help control diabetes. Trans fats present in margarine and baked foods are best avoided.
Non-vegetarian foods: If you have a choice, pick fish and poultry versus red meat (processed or otherwise). The fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and helps control inflammation.
Leave the whites: Get off white rice, white refined sugar and white flours. Include brown rice, brown or demerara sugar and wheat flour instead.
Smoking: Quit smoking and you will note how beneficial it is in preventing diabetes.
Alcohol: Moderate amount helps in effective functioning of the insulin.
If you have a family history or have risk factors, follow the above to prevent diabetes. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a general physician.