T2 Diabetes: simple ways to reduce your risks

Diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate, but it’s also one of the most preventable diseases around. According to Diabetes Australia, 280 people are diagnosed with Diabetes every day and more than half the cases of type 2 diabetes are preventable. Maintaining a healthy weight and leading an active lifestyle are integral to preventing T2 diabetes.

This sounds easy in theory but in practice, it’s hard to implement. When most of us think of losing or managing weight, it can seem like a chore. But losing weight doesn’t have to involve munching on carrot sticks and slaving away at the gym for hours on end.  That doesn’t appeal to me…or most people for that matter.  Of course you could choose to turn to one of the countless weight loss gimmicks or fad-diets around, promising you instant weight loss with minimal (if any) effort.  But be warned that more often than not, these gimmicks can produce unsustainable weight loss results and are detrimental to your health in the long run. So if it sounds too good to be true then chances are, it probably is.

Diabetes prevention doesn’t have to be difficult and it certainly doesn’t have to be boring. There are simple ways you can improve your overall health and reduce your risks of developing T2 diabetes so here are some tips:

1. Get Moving!

Being inactive can significantly increase your chances of developing T2. According to studies, every two hours you spend watching TV on the couch could increase your chances of developing T2 diabetes by 14%. Studies have also shown that walking briskly for 30 minutes a day reduces the risk of developing diabetes by up to 30%.

2. Clean up your diet

The general rule is that the less processed food you eat, the better. Try to avoid refined carbohydrates (including white bread, white rice, pasta, donuts, potato chips etc.) and opt for whole grain and high fibre products instead. Also include more fruit and veggies in your diet.

3. Ditch the fast food

Fast food is often high in sugar and fat content which can contribute to excess weight. Most fast food consists of empty calories, having little or no nutritional value and being high in sodium (salt), saturated and trans fats (the stuff that clog your arteries). While the low cost and convenience of fast food might make it appealing, giving into junk food cravings simply isn’t worth it in the long run!

4. Drink coffee

According to this Harvard study, there’s good reason to give-in to your coffee cravings. The study found that coffee drinkers who downed more than 6 cups of coffee a day had a 29% – 54% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

5. Eat blueberries

Now this one is easy. Research shows that eating blueberries can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 26%. So add blueberries to your smoothies, eat some with low-fat yoghurt or on its own. The options are endless so make sure you always have a punnet stored in the fridge just in case those sugar cravings kick in. Tip: Blueberries can be quite expensive so grab a few punnets when they’re on sale and store them in the freezer for later use!

How do you keep your junk-food cravings at bay? Please share in the comments section below.

Until next time, stay safe and be healthy!

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T2 Diabetes: lifestyle matters

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We- millennials- usually don’t worry too much about how lifestyle choices can affect our health in the long run. We binge drink, we eat A LOT of crap, we spend multiple hours a day sitting in front of screens and we don’t get nearly enough daily exercise (that’s if you believe all the media reports out there). So it’s no wonder we’re developing chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes much younger.

While a lot of us might think that we are immune to chronic illnesses and invincible in general, we are not. The choices we make might be leading us to premature aging and early death. Yes, this is a gloomy outlook but it might become a reality if we do not change the lifestyle choices we make.

According to studies, obesity rates in Australia are climbing faster than anywhere else in the world. As a country, we are spending way too much on take-away and are becoming a fast-food nation. We even have McDelivery available so you can get McGoodies delivered to your front door, getting your junk-food fix with no effort whatsoever. To top it all off, diabetes is becoming the fastest growing chronic illness in the country and type 2 diabetes is estimated to be costing us $10.3 billion a year. I repeat, $10.3 BILLION. A YEAR!

The economic burden of diabetes, however, doesn’t compare to the burden of the disease on a person’s health. Diabetes-related complications include kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, nerve problems and foot problems. I can’t emphasise enough that diabetes is a serious condition that can have long-term effects if not managed well.

Surprisingly, many of us have little understanding of diabetes and awareness about the differences between type 1 and type 2 is very limited. Simply put, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own immune system and healthy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Type 1 is more likely to be diagnosed in children and young adults where as type 2 diabetes is the form of diabetes that is related to ageing, family history and lifestyle factors (being overweight and inactivity). FYI: both types of diabetes are characterized by having higher than normal blood sugar levels (BSL).

The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be managed and in most cases, prevented through simple lifestyle changes (healthy-eating, exercise etc). While type 2 diabetes can be prevented, it cannot be cured so it is crucial that we alter our lifestyle choices to minimize the risks of developing T2.

Until next time, stay safe and be healthy!