Diabetes is a serious condition which can lead to serious disorders of the body. It does not have a simple or permanent cure yet, but it can certainly be controlled by lifestyle changes. These changes include a healthy diet, eating plans, and regular physical activity or exercise.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Diabetes is the result of high sugar (glucose) levels in the blood which occurs after eating many different types foods, but especially poor quality carbohydrates (in white flour, sugary sweets and in highly processed foods which contain little fibre; you need fibre in foods to help you slow down the rapid rate of sugar absorption from the intestines otherwise blood sugar levels will rise too quickly!). The high levels of sugar in the blood stream circulate around the body causing damage to all the major organs of the body including eyes, heart, kidneys, blood circulation system (arteries) and your sex organs.
There are two different types of diabetes. This article is about Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes. It is diagnosed with the help of a test called the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). In this test, the individual is provided with a sweet drink having 75 grams of sugar (glucose). After a period of two hours, a blood sample is taken for examination of the glucose level. If the result is 200 mg/dl (11 mmol/l) or more, then you are a diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Role of Diet:
You can certainly control diabetes effectively with a good diet plan which must include only minimal amounts of simple sugars (sweets) and simple carbohydrates (like white flour products). You now need to eat complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain products (with plenty of fibre), vegetables (but not potatoes), beans and pulses (chickpeas, lentils and peas). Also, you need to change your eating habits by eating frequent smaller sized meals. This will mean there will be smaller rises in your blood sugar levels after eating smaller sized meals (instead of really big rises in blood glucose if you have only one or two really heavy (big) meals a day). So, you should eat more of fresh vegetables and fruits while reducing the intake of white flour (although brown (wholemeal) flour is good), reduce white rice (although wholegrain brown rice is good) and foods high in fat (especially those with a lot of trans and saturated fats!). Avoid the intake of excessive oil and try to use olive oil instead of other form
s of oils. Even people who dont have diabetes should follow this eating plan as it is healthy and may even prevent the onset of diabetes!
Lifestyle in Diabetes:
A healthy life style will surely help you to control diabetes and its serious complications.
Firstly, do regular exercise (you can easily walk 10-20 minutes a day) to keep yourself fit and active, and also to burn and help your body reduce the sugar (glucose) levels in your blood. As mentioned, you need to change your life style by changing your eating habits. So, eat in smaller portions by dividing three big meals a day into six smaller meals. Change your menu to include lower amounts of simple carbohydrates, sugar and salt intake.
Keep a check of your blood sugar level regularly and avoid any large increases in blood glucose by eating correctly and by keeping yourself fit, healthy and active. Consult your dietitian and physician regularly with your sugar level records.
Exercise and Diabetes Control:
90 % of the individuals who have Type 2 diabetes are over weight according to research surveys. So, exercise has a great role to play in avoiding diabetes, and controlling it once you get it. Exercise will not only help you to maintain an ideal body weight but you will also gain the health benefits of being fit and active in your life! Do regular exercise in any form, preferably to a time schedule (10, 20 or 30 min) and building up to 30 min a day, 4-5 times a week. But speak to your doctor before you begin! Walking, jogging, swimming and yoga are good exercises to achieve the required level of physical activity to help you reduce your blood sugars!
There is no permanent cure for diabetes but you can help prevent or control it by a good diet plan, regular exercise, medication (if required) and avoiding all types of stress (which can increase your blood sugars!). So, eat a healthy and controlled diet with smaller portions, avoid stress, take any required medications and do exercise to enjoy life with diabetes!