There are many misconceptions regarding diabetes, the most common being that it is simply a product of eating one too many chocolate bars. On behalf of all diabetics who have had to clarify this a devilish amount of times: it is not.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease by which the immune system attacks the production of insulin in the body. Munching on chocolate actually has nothing to do with the equation. So far, scientists have found no way of preventing this less common type of diabetes. However, scrupulous attention to your health is said to help manage it.
And even when it comes to the more common type 2 diabetes, which wreaks havoc in your pancreas’ insulin production, it has a plethora of causes other than chocolate-nibbling, genetics and the natural rise in blood sugar levels that come with aging being two.
Chocolate jokes aside, diabetes is a serious illness that can, if left untreated, lead to extreme and sometimes deadly complications. Dealing which this condition takes its toll both mentally and emotionally on diabetics and their loved ones.
With everything from alcohol and sex to the weather affecting blood glucose levels, a diabetic always has to be alert to potential lethal dangers in their daily lives. This highly stressful state of life is a reality for 1 in every 16 people in the UK.
Out of all those diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, 90% have type 2. However, research shows that three in five out of these cases could be prevented or delayed through education, a healthier lifestyle and early diagnosis. That is more than half of all people affected by the disease.
So, on World Diabetic Day, bring your health to the forefront of your mind in gratitude for what you have at your disposal, and in determination to put in the effort it is worth to maintain it. Here are a five lifestyle choices Healthline suggests you adopt to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes:
- Cut down on your sugar intake, along with those refined carbs.
A fun and easy way to cut down on sugar and carbs is to start cooking and baking from scratch. Not only can you proudly invite your parents over for dinner to showcase your newly acquired skills, but cooking also allows you full control over what you put inside of your body.
Tip: Check YouTube for a never-ending list of quick, healthy and mouth-watering recipes.
2. Work out on a regular basis.
Exercise will not only increase your cells’ sensitivity to insulin, but also enhance your mood, strengthen your bones, improve your immune system: the list goes on. And that feeling of exhausted satisfaction once you’ve completed a workout makes it all worthwhile.
Tip: Again, Youtube is your best friend. Whether you’re stuck at home or just feel a bit intimidated by the thought of hitting a gym, at-home workout is your best bet!
3. Let water, rather than fizzy drinks, be your primary beverage.
This one goes hand-in-hand with the previous advice: once you get your body moving, there is nothing better than a big glass of water to quench your thirst. If you’re used to fizzy drinks, it might take a while for your body to find its way back to craving water – but once you’ve made a habit of sipping that sweet h20, you won’t look back.
Tip: Purchase a nice looking stainless steel bottle and you’ll soon find yourself reaching for it with more ease than effort.
4. Keep an active lifestyle
This one is quite easy to adapt into your life: it’s all about the little things. Opt for the stairs rather than the escalator, take a five-minute break from your studies each hour, put on your favorite song and groove around your flat, and walk/bike rather than hopping into a vehicle if you’re only going a short distance anyways.
Tip: Turn little tasks during your day into something more fun by switching up the way you do things. Why not shuffle whilst hanging your laundry or do pushups against the sink whilst cooking?
5. Work plenty of fiber into your diet
Fiber is beneficial for your gut health, weight management and has shown to help keep blood sugar and insulin levels low. Most unprocessed fruits and vegetables score high on fiber-content; pears, strawberries, avocado and bananas being some of them.
Tip: Switching to a more plant-based diet is not only going to benefit your own body and mind, but also the planet and its many inhabitants.
These are but a few lifestyle choices you can adapt to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. However, doing so does not guarantee protection since there are many factors in play which we cannot control.
So, due to all uncertainty surrounding the condition and what it means living with it: reach out to your diabetic friends today and let them know you are there for them. Show your support and be kind. As we all know by now, dealing with uncertainty is tough – so let’s do it together.
To learn more about the condition and how it affects diabetics and the world, click here.
Featured image credit: Aine Donnellan