By Linda Orlando
In the last 20 years, the number of diabetic cases around the world has risen from 30 million to around 230 million. By 2025, this number will go up to approximately 350 million. At present, India tops the list with a total of 35.5 million diabetic patients.
Diabetes, a disease that used to be considered fairly rare decades ago, is now sweeping the world. The dramatic rise in numbers of people with type 2 diabetes is attributable almost entirely to lifestyle.
The lifestyle of people nowadays is becoming more and more centered on fast food, irregular and hectic schedule, and sedentary activities. Before your lifestyle leads you down the path to diabetes, you can take steps right away to avoid the condition.
Even if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, these easy recommendations can help you manage the condition better.
Food is the key: less of some kinds, more of others.
It is obvious that lowering your sugar intake will help to lower glucose levels in your blood. Lowering carbohydrates overall also has a dramatic effect. Bread, pasta, rice, pastry, and some types of fruits and vegetables can all contribute to a rise in blood sugar. But other foods actually help to lower blood glucose levels. Having small meals at regular intervals helps in bringing down glucose levels.
One of the most surprising foods that can provide a host of health benefits for diabetics is cinnamon. Regular, daily intake of cinnamon improves glucose control and cholesterol levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. The journal Diabetes Care reported a study of 60 people with type 2 diabetes, who consumed cinnamon daily for 40 days, and they all experienced dramatic improvements. Amounts as small as 3 - 6 grams per day can reduce fasting glucose levels by 20% or more, lower triglycerides 20 - 30%, and cut cholesterol levels as much as 25%. Researchers say that including cinnamon in your diet will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Moreover salacia, an Indian herb has potential in sugar stabilizing. The study appeared in the journal of the American Dietetic Association, stating that salacia helps in lowering the blood sugar and insulin levels. Vitamin E can also prove useful when included in the diet, as it helps in lowering the risks of heart disease in diabetic patients. Peanuts, almonds, and walnuts have a good amount of vitamin E in them. Bitter melon, Fenugreek seeds, and Gymnema also have a considerable effect on lowering blood sugar. It is also suggested to increase the water intake in your body.
Get moving, but there's no need to run a marathon.
Researchers have discovered that even the smallest amount of exercise on a daily basis can help lower blood glucose levels. Besides, it is easy to add a little bit of extra movement into your day without having to adjust your schedule or set aside a specific time to exercise. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs, instead of finding a parking spot close to the front door, pick one further away in the lot. When it's time for a break, head out the door for a quick walk around the building instead of sitting in cafeteria.
Surprisingly, researchers in Austria have discovered that walking downhill is more effective than walking uphill for reducing blood glucose levels. A team of researchers led by Heinz Drexel of the Voralbert Institute, had 45 healthy, sedentary people walk up a steep mountain for 3 to 5 days a week, because they didn't think walking downhill would provide much health benefits. But they were startled to discover that downhill walkers were better able to get their blood sugar under better control. Do not overexert yourself walking.
Exercising for a limited period on a regular basis is quite useful for the body. Do not go for strenuous exercises. Moreover, do not avoid the pain during such exercises. This could have a negative effect on your body. Yoga also has a good overall effect on the body.
Put your glucose levels to sleep.
According to Phyllis Zee, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, people with diabetes have a harder time sleeping well and are more prone to daytime sleepiness, insomnia, and restless leg syndrome. Sleep apnea, which interrupts breathing during one's sleep, seems to affect many people with type 2 diabetes. Apnea has been shown to correlate with blood glucose levels, and contribute to the severity of diabetes.
The connection between sleep apnea and diabetes is unclear, but trying to get a good night's sleep may help your body control hormones and prevent oxidative stress, which can occur when the body's tissues don't get enough oxygen. And if you aren't breathing well while sleeping, your oxygen saturation levels can drop, causing blood sugar levels to rise. Doctors advise that diabetics who are overweight with risk factors for sleep apnea should get screened. Treating sleep apnea can have a potential impact not only on diabetes, but also on other health problems and how you feel in general.
Bask in the sunshine of lower glucose levels.
Low levels of vitamin D in the body have been linked to insulin insensitivity and lowered glucose tolerance. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry reported findings from a study that indicated that sunlight can help the body counter low levels of vitamin D. Sunlight helps the body produce D3, which is essential for maintaining healthy functioning of the beta cells in the pancreas, which produce insulin. Experts suggest that sitting in full sunlight for 20 to 30 minutes, at least three times a week, can help maintain calcium levels, and help lower the level of blood glucose.
Keep at a distance, smoking and drinking.
It is highly recommended that you lower your smoking and drinking habits when you are in a fight against diabetes. The best thing is to avoid these habits altogether. According to a study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology, smokers are more prone to diabetes than non-smokers. Drinking on a regular basis can cause inflammation to the pancreas, leading to the improper secretion of insulin. This makes it easier for the body to acquire diabetes. Therefore, it is advisable to simply abstain from alcohol and cigarettes.
Changing your lifestyle in even these small ways can help you manage the basic physiological factors that affect blood glucose levels. Small changes in diet, exercise, sleep, and stress, can result in dramatic improvements in your health and well-being.