Change is hard, especially when it comes to lifestyle changes. However, change brings an opportunity to make improvements for the future. Is change worth the effort for someone living with type 2 diabetes?
According to a recent study published in Diabetic medicine the effort is worthwhile because type 2 diabetes is a potentially reversible condition. Why not try to reduce your dependency on diabetes medication?
What changes encourage diabetes reversal? As Abraham Lincoln said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.” By focusing on one goal at a time, you can make gradual steps toward reversing diabetes. We’ve shared one goal for each day of the week.
The “Umbrella Goal”
Many lifestyles today promote the root problem of diabetes: insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when the body produces insulin but muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond to the insulin. As a result, glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead of entering the cells.
Goal #1: Work those muscles
Exercise makes it at number one because it is the most powerful factor in controlling insulin resistance. It also works the quickest. The majority of your blood glucose is used up by muscles. An active person has active muscles that burn more stored glucose. As their stored glucose levels drop, muscles start to clear out glucose from the bloodstream to get more energy.
Bottom line: the more you exercise the more responsive your muscles are to insulin. Round out your routine with stretching, aerobic, and resistance exercises.
Goal #2: Pack as many nutrients into your meals as possible
Here is a fact: the more nutrients per calorie you pack into your meal, the more satisfied you will feel. Calories alone do not make you feel full. As the body digests food, the “fullness” signal that goes from the stomach to the brain is stronger when the food is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant-based chemicals called phytochemicals. A good source of easy meals to help you reach this goal is the diabetic frozen meals section at MagicKitchen.com.
Nutrient-rich foods include vegetables (especially dark leafy greens), fruits (in moderation), beans, and raw nuts and seeds. The beauty of this goal is that you can sneak these foods into absolutely any type of meal.
Craving pasta? Instead of filling up the majority of your plate with the few nutrients found in pasta, serve up ½ cup of whole grain pasta and pack it with your favorite nutrient-rich veggies and a side salad. Throw some fruit or nuts in the salad and you’ve created a satisfying meal.
Goal #3: Be choosy when it comes to grains
Remember, carbs are not your enemy as long as you choose the right ones and choose the right amounts. Grains are typically found in every type of meal from breakfast to midnight snacks. When choosing grains, choose fiber-rich whole grains. White anything (i.e. white rice, white bread) is nutrient-poor and leaves you craving more. This can cause overeating and an inevitable lethargic state that soon follows.
Goal #4: Use smaller plates
You’re probably thinking, what does dinnerware have to do with diabetes? The answer? Weight control! The bigger the plate, the more likely you will eat more calories than you really need. Since obesity exacerbates insulin resistance, it’s important to keep your weight at a healthy level. Choose a nine-inch dinner plate, and keep your side dishes smaller.
Goal #5: Low-fat dairy, please
A recent study found that those who regularly eat yogurt can shrink their risk of diabetes by 24%. Fermented dairy products are a good source of probiotics, good bacteria that keep your digestive tract healthy. A growing body of evidence is showing that a healthy digestive tract with healthy gut flora can play a role in preventing type 2 diabetes. Low-fat dairy is more nutritious than typical snack foods that are high in sugar and trans fats, such as doughnuts, chips, cookies, snack bars, candy, and soda pop.
Goal #6: Cut Back on Alcoholic Drinks
Alcohol has seven calories per gram. Although alcoholic beverages don’t come with a nutrition facts label, it doesn’t mean those calories are not there. Cutting back on alcohol can dramatically reduce the amount of calories you consume, making it easier to lose weight and increase insulin sensitivity.
Goal #7: Get all three omega-3’s (ALA, DHA, and EPA)
A recent study published in Hormone and Metabolic Research found that a diet rich in omega-3’s improves endocrine function, reduces inflammation, and increases insulin sensitivity. In other words, high quality omega-3 sources can work wonders for your personal diabetes reversal program. Find high-quality animal-based DHA and EPA in fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, and trout), fish oil or algae capsules. Good sources of ALA include flaxseeds, walnuts, or canola oil.
Your week is over. How did you do? After making an honest appraisal, start all over next week. This week, however, you have a new opportunity to focus on the areas that need the most improvement.
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