The winter season remind us of all the good foods and drinks we love indulging in. Unfortunately, most of those things aren’t good for us and probably aren’t things we should be eating. Pre-diabetes affects 79 million Americans, so even though it is ‘hibernation season’ we should not forget the steps we should take to prevent this condition and avoid diabetes.
1. Exercise- The biggest thing you can do to prevent diabetes is to lose weight if you’re overweight. Weight loss and physical activity can improve the body’s ability to use insulin and process glucose, which can help someone with pre-diabetes return to normal glucose levels. One of the easiest forms of exercise is walking, so get outside, even if it’s for 10 minutes a day.
2. Healthy Diet-Stick to foods that are low in fat, sugars, and sodium. Make changes like filling up on non-starchy veggies before reaching for bread, and replace sweetened drinks with zero-calorie beverages such as diet soda, tea, lemonade with sugar substitute, or a refreshing glass of ice water. Healthier carbohydrate choices include whole grains, fruits, milk, and low- or nonfat yogurt.
3. Control portion and practice moderation- When you have pre-diabetes, the amount of food you eat is as important as the types of foods you're eating. Readjust your meals to smaller portions, and make sure there are plenty of vegetables in your plate. If you find that the portions you’re used to are much larger than these, use measuring tools when filling your plate until your brain becomes trained to recognize healthier amounts for diabetes prevention
Eating everything in moderation means skipping the deprivation diet. You shouldn’t be cutting out whole food groups because that often leads to frustration or failure. Instead, just cut back on the “bad” foods that can up your diabetes risk. If you know that you'll be at a celebration or family event where you'll be tempted by sweets or alcoholic beverages, plan accordingly. Eat more non-starchy vegetables and lean protein to balance the carb-heavy indulgences and practice savoring small samples of the bad foods you like.
4. Don't Smoke-Smoking is bad for your health for dozens of reasons, but can increase your risk for diabetes greatly. For example:
- It has a direct negative effect on your heart and lungs
- It raises bad cholesterol and increases blood pressure
So, if you smoke, find a way to stop. You can talk with your medical provider about possible smoking cessation aids, such as medications, nicotine gum, and other strategies.