7 ways to steer clear of Type 2 Diabetes

According to Diabetes Australia, over 100,000 people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes every year, making it now one of the fastest growing illnesses in Australia. Our attention really needs to be on prevention. The questions we need to ask are ourselves “what can we do to protect ourselves?”

Here are my top 7 tips:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight

Many of us are currently overweight, and this increases the risk of developing diabetes, especially if we carry that weight around our middle. If we reduce our weight to within a healthy and appropriate individual weight range , we reduce our risk of developing diabetes for years to come.

2. Don’t smoke
Smoking increases the risk of diabetes, as well as making any complications more dangerous e.g. increased risk of heart issues, blindness and amputations. We already know that smoking is bad for our health, but it isn’t just our lungs paying for it.

3. Reduce alcohol intake
 Limit alcohol consumption to special occasions, and keep it at one or two max. Not only does alcohol increase kilojoules/Calories and so increases your weight, but it also puts pressure on the body and may tip it over the edge to developing diabetes. It also can make you feel more hungry! Why not add soda water to half a glass of wine to make a spritzer, or choose low alcohol alternatives to full-strength beer and cider, or one of those cocktails that come in a long glass.

4. Exercise regularly
 Each day, aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity to keep the doctor and risk of developing type 2 diabetes away. Go for a stroll along the beach with friends during this summer, walk the dog or do some laps in the local pool or at the beach. Not only will it make you feel great due to the hormones that exercise releases, but it will help your muscles “recognise” insulin better.

5. Eat lots of veggies
 Vegetables are great for helping reduce the risk of diabetes because of the protective vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients they contain. Plus they reduce the number of kilojoules absorbed and so help with healthy weight maintenance. Carrot sticks, grilled corn, green peas and sweet potato are all great options to bulk up meals and have as snacks. Add spinach and broccoli to your veg intake but don’t overcook them. Eat some veges raw like capsicum, tomatoes and baby spinach leaves for their vitamin C. Eat by the rainbow. Think lots of colour and variety.

6. Eat mostly low glycaemic index (GI) carbs spread over the day
Low GI carbs in smaller quantities help you maintain a steady level of blood glucose. They keep you fuller for longer (and so help you eat less), and they reduce the amount of stress on the diabetes-fighting organ, the pancreas. Some examples of low GI carbs are lentils, chick peas, baked beans, dense-grainy bread, pasta cooked al dente, Doongara rice, kiwifruit and berries. To further reduce stress on the pancreas, spread the amount of carbohydrates across the day rather than eating a huge portion at dinner.

7. Don’t exclude fruits
 Many people currently cut out fruit because of its higher natural sugars, but sugar in this form is not bad. It comes bundled with fibre, vitamins and minerals. I was stunned to read that people with diabetes are getting the age-old sailors disease — scurvy — due to not eating enough fruit. Fruit is a delicious nutritious snack on it’s own, so aim to have two pieces of fruit per day. Stay away from fruit juices and fruits higher in GI such as pineapple, rockmelon and watermelon. Instead choose lower GI options such as apples, grapes, berries, nectarines, citrus, kiwi fruit and pears.

This originally appeared in The January 2017 FoodWatch Newsletter here: http://foodwatch.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/j/265741139D94A485