Type 2 diabetes - it seems to be everywhere, right? You see segments on the news and read articles in magazines, and it's really easy to start skipping over the warnings because you think to yourself, "I'm pretty healthy, that won't happen to me. Plus, even if it did, everything I've read indicates that it's manageable." Unfortunately, a learned complacency hasn't exactly helped Americans get the disease under control; and the fact is, while it is manageable, it's also quite serious.
According to the American Diabetes Association, as many as one in three U.S. adults have pre-diabetes, placing them at risk for developing the disease...a number that doesn't include the Americans who are currently living with diabetes. That's a sobering fact, right? That means that even some active, healthy adults may be at risk because of genetic or lifestyle factors. So, while you're skipping over the diabetes articles or zoning out during the segments on the news, have you really taken the time to assess your risk?
No? Don't worry, you're not alone.
In an effort to keep the impact of diabetes in the forefront of people's minds, the American Diabetes Association marked March 27th as Diabetes Alert Day. If you didn't know that until right this second, you actually have Konsyl, the all natural psyllium fiber supplement, to thank for the knowledge. Konsyl reached out to GirlsGoneSporty to help spread the word about type 2 diabetes prevention and management. So without further adieu, here are the top 10 ways to prevent and manage the disease:
Top 10 ways to prevent and manage diabetes
1. Get sporty!
Regular physical activity is an excellent way to maintain overall health and reduce the risk of developing diabetes by helping maintain blood sugar levels, cholesterol and triglycerides. Whether you run, bike, lift weights, garden or surf, staying physically active is crucial to preventing diabetes.
2. Eat more fruits and veggies.
Filling up on nutrient-rich fruits and veggies will help you maintain your weight while also providing you with a vast array of vitamins and minerals essential for overall health. Try starting every meal with at least one serving of fruits or veggies to help fill you up and prevent over-eating.
3. Up your fiber intake.
Studies have shown that individuals who consume the recommended levels of dietary fiber (25 to 35 grams per day) have better control over their blood sugar levels because fiber slows the absorption of sugar. Whether you're completely healthy, pre-diabetic or diabetic, this is crucial for sustaining energy levels and managing a healthy lifestyle.
It's easy to increase you intake of fiber - choose 100% whole grain foods like oatmeal, popcorn (without tons of salt and butter), whole wheat bread, quinoa and long-grain brown rice. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies and add high-fiber nuts and legumes to your meals. If you have a hard time getting enough fiber, don't be afraid to take a supplement! Not only will fiber help you maintain your blood sugar, it will also fill you up, helping prevent over-eating while keeping your digestive system moving effectively.
4. Watch your measurements.
Here at GirlsGoneSporty we don't emphasize weight loss as a primary focus or goal; however, taking steps to maintain healthy body measurements is a crucial component of reducing your risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, Alzheimer's and more. Rather than focus solely on what the scale reads, pay attention to body circumference measurements, body composition analysis and waist-to-hip ratios. These measurements will provide you with a better full-picture of your health than weight alone. Not sure how to take them? Head to your local fitness center or call a nearby university's exercise performance lab to see if testing is available.
5. Know your readings.
The body's an interesting thing - you can do a lot of external analysis, but it's tough to know exactly what's going on inside. If you haven't been to see your doctor recently, make an appointment for a physical and ask for a full panel of blood work to be done. This will provide you with current and accurate readings for cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar and even hormones. Just remember - let the doctor know you want these tests done when you make the appointment because you may have to fast for up to 12 hours prior to the tests. Hey, it's tough to set goals if you don't know where you are or where you'd like to be.
6. Cut down on simple sugars and refined foods.
You know what we're talking about: sodas, candy, sweet coffee drinks, white breads, chips, crackers and so on. These foods get broken down and assimilated by the body very quickly, which causes crazy blood sugar peaks and valleys. This can lead to glucose insensitivity and eventual diabetes.
7. Stay healthy throughout pregnancy.
Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy are much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. The same is true for women who have babies weighing nine pounds or more. As hard as it may be to stay active and control your cravings during pregnancy, doing whatever you can to maintain your health will pay off dividends for you (and your child!) down the road. Plus, the healthier you are during your pregnancy, the faster you'll get back to pre-pregnancy form after the baby arrives.
8. Switch to leaner meats.
Sure, consuming leaner meats will help you watch your waistline, but it will also help you control cholesterol, blood pressure and triglyceride levels, all of which are contributing risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes.
9. Don't smoke.
Shoot, you're an athlete! You shouldn't be smoking anyway because it'll mess with your ability to perform. But, on the off-chance that you are a smoker, it's time to kick the habit for good. Smoking jacks with your blood pressure and cholesterol, which can contribute to diabetes.
In addition to working out, playing sports and performing other planned bouts of exercise, you need to remain active throughout your day. Set an alarm to go off every hour to remind yourself to stand up and walk around. Force yourself not to fast-forward through commercial breaks on your favorite shows, and use that time to do chores or simply bust out a few squats and lunges. Even if you exercise regularly, living an otherwise sedentary life can still negatively affect your overall health.
Bonus: Konsyl Giveaway!
To help you get a handle on your blood sugar and increase your fiber intake, two GirlsGoneSporty readers will win the Original All-Natural Psyllium Konsyl. It may not be the most glamorous giveaway we've ever offered, but it's one of the best ones for your health! Plus, it's not just for adding to drinks or sprinkling in your cereal - there are delicious recipes you can whip up to help increase your fiber intake without forfeiting taste. Here's one provided by Konsyl that we especially love:
Enchiladas with Fiber
2010 Runner Up
Submitted by Dorothy O. from Albuquerque, NM
- ½ cup red chili powder
- 1-2 tablespoons Konsyl Fiber Supplement
- 1 teaspoon cilantro
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- Olive oil
- 12 whole wheat tortillas
- 2 cups low fat sharp shedder cheese (grated)
- 2 cups low fat mild shedder (grated)
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese (grated)
- Take the chili powder, Konsyl, cilantro, garlic salt and mix together in a deep pie dish. Refrigerate for up to 2 hours or even overnight.
- Using a large bowl , mix all of the cheeses together.
- Warm the oil in a large frying pan. Take the tortillas, and one at a time, dip a tortilla in the chili sauce and lay in the oil for a few seconds before turn it to the other side and cooking for a few more seconds.
- When you are done you should have a stack of tortillas on a plate ready for your cheese.
- Put one tortilla on a piece of Saran Wrap and fill with the cheese mixture before wrapping the tortilla just like a burrito. Then, wrap the tortilla in the Saran Wrap.
- Complete the other 11 tortillas the same way. When you get ready to eat, unwrap your enchilada and put in a steamer until cheese is melted inside.
- Serve with black beans and long grain brown rice.
You can enter as many times as you'd like on March 27th!
- Head to our Facebook page and "like" it (this will also get you an entry into today's March Madness Giveaway-A-Day entry).
- Find March 27th's posting on Diabetes Awareness that links to this article. Like, comment and/or share the link with others!
- Head to Konsyl's Facebook page, "like" them & write on their wall, telling them GirlsGoneSporty sent you.
- Tweet using the @GirlsGoneSporty and the @Konsyl twitter handles with a Diabetes Alert Day message (i.e. Today's Diabetes Alert Day! What are you doing for prevention? @GirlsGoneSporty @Konsyl)
Header image credit: Chiot's Run, http://www.flickr.com/photos/chiotsrun/4440081066/sizes/z/in/photostream/