According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three Americans has prediabetes—higher-than-normal blood sugar levels that aren’t high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. And while prediabetes is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes (15% to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop diabetes within five years), it’s not necessarily a doomsday condition. In fact, a few small lifestyle changes could help you turn things around, reports the Washington Post. Here’s what you need to know:
- Eat balanced meals. Renu Mansukhani, a doctor at the National Center for Weight and Wellness, isn’t going to tell you to never eat a donut again, but he does suggest eating one or two servings of vegetables each day. Rebecca Scritchfield, a registered dietitian, agrees. She proposes swapping simple carbs, like processed foods and milk, for complex carbs, like whole grains, beans, and vegetables. Scritchfield also recommends limiting fruit to one to three servings per day and skipping fruit juices, which don’t contain fiber and are high in sugar. Both experts suggest eating three balanced meals daily that include complex carbs; fat and protein, which may help you feel full; and fiber, which may help with nutrient absorption.
- Get enough exercise. Your large muscle groups use blood sugar for energy. So, the more energy you expend, the easier it is to keep blood sugar stable. For maximum results, Kyle Stull, a master instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine, recommends mixing aerobic exercise and resistance training. While both kinds of exercise are important for blood sugar control, certain research has shown that combining the two helped control blood sugar levels better than either alone. But bear in mind that the point is to make sustainable changes. So, if you’re just starting out, don’t overdo it—even a 10 to 20 minute daily walk can make a difference.
Along with eating well and exercising, getting adequate sleep and reducing stress can also go a long way toward furthering your good health. Above all, remember to take baby steps and make healthy choices you can live with.
Source: Washington Post