Asia is often touted as a land where delicious fruit, vegetables and spices make for a healthy, long, flavourful life yet statistics indicate that around 60 per cent of diabetics in the world, are from Asia. In fact, it is predicted that by 2030, if habits continue as they are, just China and India combined with have a total tally of almost 500,000 diabetics. The good news is that Type II diabetes can be kept at bay by making a few lifestyle choices. The most important are as follows:
- Fight Obesity: An overwhelming majority (90 per cent) of people with Type II diabetes, are overweight or obese. This is because carrying more weight than we should, affects our body’s ability to utilise insulin to control blood sugar levels. Asians have been found to have a higher percentage of body fat at the same BMI as whites. It is therefore vital to ensure that we stay lean and trim, so that insulin can perform its intended function. Studies have shown that just a few small changes can produce big results. By following a healthy weight loss diet and exercising regularly, for instance, we can reduce our risk of developing Type II diabetes by between 40 and 60 per cent. By losing just five to 10 per cent of our body weight, meanwhile, we can significantly reduce our risk of developing the disease, even if we are high risk individuals.
- Consume Alcohol in Moderation: The connection between moderate drinking and the reduction of heart disease risk has been observed in studies carried out on men and women. To keep diabetes at bay, you may not have to cut alcohol out altogether, though it is important to learn when to say no and to avoid alcoholic drinks that contain sugar; many alcoholic beverages contain high amounts of calories, so that those on weight loss diets often forego alcohol, for greater weight loss. If you must drink, stick to red wine instead of spirits mixed with sugary drinks such as colas, bottled fruit juices, etc. When thirsty, drink water, since many drinks contain ‘empty calories’ which basically comprise only sugar.
- Have breakfast: Make sure your insulin levels remain stable throughout the day by starting out with a healthy breakfast. Skipping breakfast leads to cravings by midday and can result in unhealthy, ‘desperate’ food choices. The more you starve yourself during the day, the more likely you are to binge at night time, and going to bed on a full stomach is never a good idea when you are trying to maintain or even lose weight. Research has shown that having breakfast every day can reduce your chance of developing diabetes by 30 per cent.
- Keep body and mind healthy: Ensure you are getting enough regular exercise and try to include mindfulness components in your regular workout schedule, by taking part in activities such as yoga and Tai-Chi. These activities keep stress at bay, which is a great way to prevent diabetes. Having a positive outlook on life will also help you avoid emotional eating; many people with depression or anxiety, for instance, turn to food as a source of comfort, especially unhealthy foods containing sugar. Sugary foods quickly produce a ‘high’ yet when the immediate effect is gone, we can find ourselves craving more sweet foods. Thus, sugar addiction is cyclical and one of the best ways to quit it is by going cold turkey, opting to sweeten foods with stevia or Xylitol. Despite being very sweet, these products do not cause blood glucose levels to spike.
- Sleep well: Studies indicate that sleep deprivation has been linked to weight gain. Researchers believe that not getting enough sleep may interfere with our innate ability to regulate hunger. In other words, tiredness can lead to bingeing.
- Limit tech time: One of the big culprits of the obesity epidemic, is the proliferation of entertaining gadgets in most homes these days. By setting a limit on our amount of screen time, we can avoid the effects of the sedentary lifestyle and help avoid Type II diabetes.
- Shop well: You are less likely to binge on unhealthy foods if your pantry is well stocked with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Give eating out a miss as well, and dine home for a healthy, nutritious meal, cooked with love for your family.
This is a guest post by Helen Gain from arialblack.org.