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Type 2 diabetes is a chronic and lifestyle based disease that can be prevented through healthy living. Learn the 5 ways to prevent the onset of this disease, these methods are also essential for pre-diabetics and diabetic patients to better manage their condition for a quality of life.
Exercise has so many benefits to one’s health, it should be the top priority in life.
We know that glucose is heavy utilised by working muscles within our body. Therefore, when you exercise and make your muscles work harder, It helps to lower blood glucose levels through the increased consumption of glucose.
Following that same thought, when you increase the proportion of muscle mass in your body, you will also be able to consume the sugar in your blood more effectively compared to someone with lower overall muscle mass.
Exercise can also help us combat obesity
Obesity, as we know is one of the top cause of type 2 diabetes. Losing just 5-10% of your body weight can actually have a significant reduction on your blood sugar levels.
Studies have shown that regular exercise reduces sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. And in doing so, reducing the dose and reliance on diabetic medications. In fact, increasing exercise can even help to reverse pre-diabetes!
Recommended duration of exercise
The recommended exercise per week is at least 150 mins of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Do consider a mixture of aerobic and resistant exercises.
One good recommendation can be high intensity interval training which incorporates both aerobic and resistant training. Spread the exercises evenly throughout the entire week.
Diet plays a huge role in preventing diabetes. We should try to avoid regular rapid spikes in blood sugar levels that will overwhelm our body system and increase the risk of diabetes.
Choose complex carbohydrates
Firstly, choose more complex carbohydrates and avoid added sugar in your diet and drinks. Carbohydrate is basically the main source of energy for the human body.
It gets broken down during digestion and causes a direct increase in blood sugar level after a meal.
When you consume food and beverages laden with added simple sugar like soft drinks and candies and cakes, it will result in a rapid sudden spike in your blood sugar levels. Refined carbohydrate like white bread, pasta and white rice can also cause a spike in our blood sugar levels post meal.
Consuming more complex carbohydrate like whole grains, legumes, vegetables and whole fruits are better as they are digested much more slowly thereby releasing sugar into our blood stream in a gradual manner.
Last but not the least, consider eating smaller frequent meals throughout the day. By having 4 to 5 small meals per sitting, we can reduce the overall calorie intake and prevent huge spikes of sugar in our body.
3. Manage your stress
Studies have shown that leading a stressful life can actually adversely affect blood sugar levels! Hormones such as cortisol are being produced when we get stressed and these hormones can cause our blood sugar levels to go up.
As such, relaxation activities such as meditation and yoga are said to help decrease blood sugar levels. Read more on the top 10 ways to keep your mind healthy.
4. Get enough rest
A good night’s rest is essential for promoting overall good health. Poor sleep can lead to issues such as reduced insulin sensitivity, increase in appetite and weight gain.
Lack of sleep also increases cortisol levels in the body which can result in higher blood sugar levels. Always aim to sleep for 7 to 8 hours at night, avoid burning the midnight oil and engage in relaxing routines prior to bed time so as to improve the sleep quality through the night. Read more on top 10 ways to sleep better naturally.
5. Kick the bad habits
Quit smoking & drinking
Smoking and drinking can increase your risk of diabetes. It is said that smokers are 30 to 40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who do not smoke.This is because nicotine can reduce the effectiveness of insulin, resulting in insulin insensitivity in the long run.
For those who are already diabetic, smoking exacerbates diabetic related health problems such as nerve damage, heart and kidney disease, poor blood circulation and retinopathy.
Avoid alcohol. Alcohol puts your liver under stress and this will prevent it from functioning properly in regulating blood sugar levels.
By : Dr Chen Yiming
Family Physician, MBBS (Singapore), GDFM (NUS), GDFP Dermatology (NUS)