5 min read
How a Healthy Diet Can Help You Avoid Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a growing concern for aging Americans. In 20151, an estimated 30.3 million Americans (roughly 9.4%) of the United State's population had diabetes. Only 1.25 million of said population had Type 1 Diabetes, meaning nearly 30 million Americans suffer from Type 2 Diabetes, and it’s estimated that many live with the disease undiagnosed.
Moreover, in 2015, 84.1 million Americans over the age of 18 had prediabetes, and an estimated 25.2% of seniors (65 and older) presently live with the disease. Considering diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, prevention and management of Type 2 Diabetes is an important public health issue. Educating yourself about diabetes and proper management is wise, regardless of your current life stage or disease status.
What's the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?
Unlike Type 1 Diabetes, which is a result of the body’s immune system2 destroying insulin-releasing cells leaving the body unable to absorb glucose needed to produce energy, Type 2 Diabetes is a condition brought about by insulin resistance that develops over time. People with Type 2 Diabetes can’t use the insulin their body produces right away, and over time, the pancreas may make less and less insulin.
Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes
There are many risk factors that make certain people more susceptible to the development of Type 2 Diabetes than others.
Top risk factors include smoking, being overweight or obese, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood glucose.
How Can I Reduce My Risk of Type 2 Diabetes?
Many of the known risk-factors are directly related to diet and lifestyle factors.
Quitting or abstaining from smoking, as well as engaging in regular physical activity, are both advisable to minimize risk.
Moreover, engaging in healthful eating patterns can help you avoid or reduce rates of obesity, high cholesterol, and hyperglycemia.
You can also strive to eat foods that will minimally raise blood-sugar levels by choosing high-quality, complex carbohydrates and pairing them with protein and/or healthy fats.
Aim to reduce overall carbohydrate consumption may be effective. When selecting carbohydrates, try to consume more complex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain breads, cereals, pastas, grains, potatoes, and other starchy vegetables (such as carrots), instead of simple carbohydrates, such as white breads, sugary cereals, snack cakes, pastries, and desserts.
Complex carbohydrates raise glycemic index (blood sugar levels) less than simple carbohydrates, and also contain more fiber, which aids in maintaining satiety and is healthful to your heart.
When it comes fat, selecting unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats may help prevent your LDL (low density lipoprotein, aka ‘unhealthy’) cholesterol levels from elevating, which can increase your risk of heart disease. Unsaturated fats are those that are commonly liquid at room temperature, and include plant oils, as well as fats found in nuts, seeds, and avocados. Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature, and are found in dairy products, meats, butter, coconut, and many packaged foods and baked goods.
If you suffer from high blood cholesterol, selecting polyunsaturated fatty acids (such as those found in sunflower seeds, walnuts, soybean oil, sesame seeds, safflower oil, canola oil, salmon, and tuna), are the wisest choice, as they have been shown to reduce serum cholesterol3 when used to replace other fats and carbohydrates in the diet.
Beans and legumes are not only vitamin and mineral-rich, but are also an excellent source of high-quality carbohydrates, protein, and fiber that can help you maintain stable blood sugar for extended periods of time.
Clean Lean Protein gets it protein from peas, making it a wise choice to up your protein intake.
No matter what your age or disease status, it’s always a good time to begin forming healthy habits to ensure optimal health to avoid chronic diseases, including Type 2 Diabetes.