Tips to Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
- Eat healthy -This means limiting junk food, fast food, and sweets. Instead eat more veggies, particularly those with a low glycemic load, which is a measure of food's effect on blood sugar. Examples include leafy greens (turnip, mustard, collards, kale, spinach, etc.) and other cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, etc.). Some other good choices include squash, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and various types of lettuces.
- Be careful of the so-called "white foods." Replace white flour and white bread with whole grains. Replace white rice with brown rice or wild rice. Replace white potatoes with sweet potatoes. Replace refined white sugar with natural sweetness from fruit or honey. Even with these substitutions, be careful of eating too much. Control your portion sizes.
- Don't drink sodas or sweet teas. Drink water or unsweet teas instead. Be careful with fruit juices since they are extremely high in sugar. Again, control your portion size.
- Be mindful of the hidden sugar in many products. Many condiments and salad dressings have surprisingly high amounts of sugar and calories in relatively small serving sizes. Also, I have found many frozen dinners labelled "healthy" actually have more sugar than the average candy bar. Read labels carefully.
- Be physically active. Walk more, sit less. Strive for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity every day (enough to increase your heart rate and make you sweat lightly). Good ideas for exercise include walking, jogging, hiking, biking, swimming, and gardening. Park at the back of the lot so you have to walk farther. At work or the mall, take the stairs instead of an elevator. If you cut grass, use a push mower. If you golf, walk and carry your own clubs. Consider taking up tennis, as many local parks have courts you can use for free.
- If you’re overweight, take the necessary steps to lose the extra weight. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is very important.
- Quit smoking and abusing drugs and alcohol.
- Get plenty of sleep - a minimum of seven hours of sound sleep a night, and eight hours would be even better. Several studies have revealed a link between not getting enough sleep and a variety of chronic health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers.
- Early detection of diabetes or prediabetes is essential. See your doctor for regular checkups. Also see your eye doctor for regular checkups since diabetes can often be caught by an eye exam very early on.
Of all the books on diabetes I've read, the best and most useful is 60 Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar by Dennis Pollock. Pollock's book is an aggressive plan to control your blood sugar by bringing together the best of traditional and alternative medicine. What I appreciate about Pollock's approach is that it is based on solid science, even the "alternative" aspects, and is not some hippy-dippy book that rejects medical science (avoid those). Also, I found his ideas easy to follow.