As you get older, your risk for type 2 diabetes increases. Even though your risk increases, you can take small steps to prevent or delay the onset of the disease. Losing a modest amount of weight (10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) or making healthy food choices are simple changes that can make a big difference in your health.
Physical activity can improve your strength, flexibility, and balance. This is also a way to reduce your risk for diabetes. Set small goals to start if you have been inactive. Add a little more activity each day until you reach at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week. Walking is a great way to be active. Be sure you have proper walking shoes and walk in safe places. Seek out an indoor place to walk for days when the weather is bad. To take more steps, park the car farther away from stores, movie theaters, or your office.
Following a low-fat, low-calorie meal plan that includes healthy foods can also help you prevent type 2 diabetes. Make it a goal to reduce the amount of food you eat to help with weight loss. Choose healthy foods such as whole wheat bread, crackers, and cereals. Other whole grains include brown rice, oatmeal, and barley. A variety of colorful fruits and vegetables also make good additions to your diet. Other inclusions include small portions of heart-healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils, as well as low fat or skim milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Visualize serving sizes to help you reduce your portions. For example, a three-ounce serving of meat, poultry, or fish is about the size of a deck of cards. Choose fish and lean meat and poultry without the skin and that has been baked or broiled instead of fried. You can also reduce your calorie intake by limiting sweets and desserts. You may want to share large portions when eating out. Easy changes such as having fruit as a snack rather than cookies or chips, choosing water to drink, and eating breakfast every day can make a huge impact.
Remember to ask your doctor if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes and let them know you want to be more active. If you have limited physical ability, ask them which activities will be safe for you. Make healthy food choices and reduce the amount you eat. Make it a goal to be active and lose a modest amount of weight if needed. You can make simple lifestyle changes to prevent or delay diabetes. Take your first step today! Below is a diabetic-friendly recipe.
Calories: 67; Total fat: 0 g; Saturated fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: <1 mg; Sodium: 19 mg; Total carbohydrate: 16g; Dietary fiber: 1 g; Protein: 1 g
This article is written by Markaye Russell, Area Nutrition Agent, Ouachita, and Union Parishes. This article is referenced by Smart Choices, Nutrition News for Seniors with the LSU AgCenter, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and Heart Healthy Home Cooking African American Style