November is Diabetes awareness month, with World Diabetes Day being observed on November 14th. This is especially important to us here in the Caribbean, where the overall prevalence of diabetes is a dire 9% and is responsible for 13.8% of deaths among adults in the region; and thus, one of the most imposing health risks for the Caribbean. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the top 6 ways to prevent and manage diabetes.
- Remove sugar and refined carbs from your diet
Your body converts both food groups into small sugar molecules, which then go into your bloodstream. This increase in blood sugar causes your pancreas to produce more insulin, insulin is a hormone that helps your body get rid of the sugar in your bloodstream. In prediabetic people, the body’s cells are resistant to insulin’s action, so sugar remains high in the blood. To compensate, the pancreas produces more insulin, attempting to bring blood sugar down to a healthy level.
Over time, this can lead to progressively higher blood sugar and insulin levels, until the condition eventually turns into type 2 diabetes.
- Drink more water
Opting for water instead of sugary soft drinks and juices is a terrific way to cut the sugar from your diet.
- Quit smoking
This goes without saying, but apart from the obvious health risks associated with smoking, such as cancer; smoking has also been linked to Type 2 Diabetes.
- Avoid a sedentary lifestyle
Try to stay as active as possible. If your job requires you to sit for hours a day, this is even more important for you. Get up and take a walk if allowable, walk around on your lunch break, and try to get some exercise outside of work.
- Work out regularly
Several types of physical activity have been shown to reduce insulin resistance and blood sugar in overweight, obese and prediabetic adults. These include aerobic exercise, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training (weights).
Excess visceral fat promotes inflammation and insulin resistance, which significantly increases the risk of diabetes, the more fat you lose, the more benefits you will experience.
- Monitor portion sizes
In addition to reducing your carbohydrate intake, it’s important to monitor the quantity of food we eat, this includes that big plate of Sunday lunch that we so look forward to!
For more information on how to prevent or manage diabetes, please contact The Diabetes Association of Trinidad and Tobago at 672 0864, connect with them on Facebook or visit their offices at 10 – 12 Success Street, Chaguanas.