Over 34 millions Americans live with diabetes, a condition that happens “when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. High blood glucose can cause health problems over time,” the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease states. While there are different types of diabetes, type 2 is the most common and “can lead to other chronic conditions such as heart disease and stroke, nerve damage, kidney disease, eye damage, and dementia. Managing diabetes and keeping your blood sugar under control can lower the risk of these complications,” Dr. Seema Bonney MD, Founder and Medical Director of the Anti-Aging and Longevity Center of Philadelphia tells us. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who revealed the common ways people get diabetes and how to help prevent it. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Diabetes expert Dr. Bevelry Yates, ND, aLicensed Naturopathic Doctor in the state of California and Founder and Medical Director of first-ever fully credentialed Residency Program for Integrative and Naturopathic Medicine explains, “Our bodies work best when we get consistent exercise and move around throughout our day. Sitting a lot, being sedentary – this is why sitting is called ‘the new smoking’. The lack of exercise results in us losing our precious muscles. Muscle is the organ that acts as a sponge for blood sugar, esp. excess blood sugar, and boosts our metabolism so we burn blood sugar and other fuel sources (e.g. fat) more evenly. So a lack of exercise means we aren’t making use of a simple, effective way to keep blood sugar in a healthy range. If we exercise in a way that our bodies perceive as stressful, then we will defeat our purpose. Strength training builds muscle, and muscle helps us lower our blood sugar levels more effectively.”
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“Eating too many simple carbs (e.g. sugar) at one time and not enough protein, healthy fats, high fiber foods (e.g. leafy green vegetables) at mealtimes – this habit can lead to diabetes,” Dr. Yates says. “Overeating, cravings and poor meal timing – eating late in the day, leading to going to bed on a heavy meal.”
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According to Dr. Yates, “This chronically raises blood sugar levels in response to chronic stress, eventually leading to insulin resistance, which is another way of saying there is a lack of insulin sensitivity to blood sugar (glucose).”
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Dr. Yates states, “Sleep is when the body, mind, and soul reset; when sleep is poor, blood sugar can rise in response to poor sleep, when blood sugar is supposed to naturally lower while we sleep and are fasting because we can’t eat while we are asleep. This includes sleep disorders like sleep apnea.”
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Treating diabetes can be done, says Dr. Yates. “You treat diabetes by addressing the root causes of this chronic illness. Healthy, individualized nutrition and meal planning, healthy ways to relieve stress, emphasizing great sleep habits (same bedtime, same awake time, etc.) consistent exercise that includes strength training portion control to avoid overeating and cravings, and eating dinner 3-5 hours before bedtime.”
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“To prevent diabetes, you must focus on healthy habits for the long term, the rest of your life,” Dr. Yates explains. “It is always about “Progress, not perfection.” Eating meals that contain smaller amounts of healthy carbs, eliminate all added sugars, including high fiber foods like leafy green vegetables, healthy proteins, healthy fats, slower-burning starches like beans and other legumes. Make sure you do exercise you enjoy on a consistent basis, usually 5 days a week. Do all you can to keep stress from overwhelming you for a long period of time and ask for help as you go, and find healthy ways to relieve stress that are effective for you. Pay attention to how much you are eating and what time of day you are eating your meals. Do a spiritual practice that is satisfying and supports you feeling capable and worthy of being well. Test your blood sugar levels regularly so you know right away if your blood sugar is starting to increase. This way you get a heads up quickly that something is wrong and can start right away to do something about it. Knowledge is power, take action before significant damage is done throughout your body. Test both your fasting blood sugar level, in the morning before you eat and before you drink anything other than plain water, and test your A1C, a measure of your long-term blood sugar control.”
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Dr. Yates says, “Diabetes that spirals out of control can kill. Diabetes is serious and life-threatening when not controlled and actively worked on so it doesn’t destroy health and longevity. Diabetes affects your overall health by compromising blood flow throughout the body, increasing inflammation, speeding up aging processes, and damaging all of the bodies’ organs (kidneys, brain, eyes, heart, liver, nervous system, …) among other impacts.” And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.