November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.   During this month, awareness and understanding of the disease is created, as well as encouragement to find a cure. Statistics currently show that one in twelve Americans has diabetes and another 79 million adults in the U.S. are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  Prevention is key and the focus of today’s blog.

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Food will always be our best medicine, and this is particularly the case with diabetes.  Early intervention can stop this potentially debilitating disease in its tracks by making only a few changes in an individual’s eating and lifestyle habits.  It is important to note that diabetes is not, in fact, a disease of blood sugar, but it’s actually a disorder of insulin and leptin signaling.   Insulin regulation plays such as an integral role in your health and longevity that elevated levels are not only symptoms of diabetes, but other diseases, as well (heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, peripheral vascular disease, obesity, and cancer).

Here is a brief list of dietary and lifestyle recommendations to prevent diabetes:

Foods to Avoid:  Basically all sugar (especially fructose and high-fructose corn syrup) and grainsincluding sweets, sodas, juices, breads, pasta, cereals, rice, potatoes, and corn.  You may also want to avoid or restrict fruit consumption until your blood sugar gets under control.

Top Foods to Consume:  Moderate amounts of protein (high-quality meats, poultry, fish, eggs. beans); low-starch vegetables (especially onions), raw nuts and seeds, coconut oil, olive oil and cinnamon.

Exercise is one of the most powerful ways to lower insulin and leptin resistance.

Get plenty of high-quality omega-3 fats:  such as those found in fish or krill oil.

Balance gut flora:   Eat fermented foods (like fermented vegetables, raw organic cheese or kefir, and natto) or take a high-quality probiotic supplement.

Monitor your fasting insulin level:  Every bit as important as your fasting blood sugar, your fasting insulin level should be checked (optimal insulin level should be between 2 and 4). The higher your level, the worse your insulin sensitivity is.  Insulin levels are not typically included in most requested blood work from your doctor. Ask to have it included.

 

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