Over two million Australians have pre-diabetes – a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal. People with pre-diabetes don’t present with any symptoms; without proper attention, pre-diabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
How do you know if you’re at risk of pre-diabetes?
The risk factors of pre-diabetes are similar to those of diabetes, including:
- being overweight
- living a sedentary lifestyle
- having high blood pressure
- having a family history of type 2 diabetes and/or heart disease
- having high triglycerides and low HDL-C (good cholesterol).
The good news is that pre-diabetes won’t necessarily turn into type 2 diabetes. By making healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating well, increasing physical activity and losing weight, you can improve your chances of prevention.
Here are seven ways you can help beat pre-diabetes:
Start a regular exercise program
Australian adults are advised to engage in 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise each day. A combination of cardio and weight training is recommended.
Drink more water
For people with pre-diabetes, hunger remains an issue even after having eaten. However, often people mistake thirst for hunger. Try to increase your water consumption by drinking one glass of water after every meal and in between meals. This will also help with digestion.
Switch to low-fat dairy
You don’t have to avoid dairy completely but you’d do best to substitute full-fat dairy products for low-fat or no-fat alternatives. This is one way to limit your intake of sugar and carbs while still getting enough calcium.
Eat wholegrain foods
Wholegrains have been found to help people with pre-diabetes to avoid developing type 2 diabetes. If you’re consuming pasta, bread and cereal, ensure they are wholegrain, and avoid overly processed foods.
Choose fruit over juice
Fruit juice contains a high concentration of sugar and not much in the way of nutrients. Many fruit juices actually contain more sugar than soft drinks. When fruit is eaten whole, the fibre and other nutrients will help your body to better process the sugar.
Get more sleep
For people living with – or at risk of – pre-diabetes, sleep deprivation can accelerate the condition. If you’re already pre-diabetic, try to aim for eight hours of sleep per night to help your body manage pre-diabetic stress.
Eat foods high in fibre
Foods high in fibre tend to have a lower glycemic index (GI), which is an essential part in lowering your blood sugar levels. The more processed food is, the higher the GI, regardless of their fibre content. The closer to its natural state, the better your food is for you. High fibre foods include wholegrain pasta, lentils and broccoli.