Diabetes now affects over one million Australians and with busy lifestyles, growing levels of stress and so many fast food options available, Australians are more at risk of diabetes than ever before.
Did you know that an estimated 1.7 million Australians have diabetes? This includes all types of diagnosed diabetes (1.2 million known and registered) as well as silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes (up to 500,000 estimated). (Source)
Type 1 diabetes is rare – it usually develops in children whose immune system mistakenly attacks the cells in the pancreas that makes insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is more common and is a direct consequence of bad diet and lifestyle. It typically occurs in people who are overweight, but it is controllable and can often be completely reversed through a good diet plan and regular exercise.
The four main culprits are refined SUGAR, SALT, FAT and FLOUR, which you will find in just about any processed food.
The total annual cost impact of diabetes in Australia in 2018 was an estimated at $14.6 billion (Source)
For every person diagnosed with diabetes there is usually a family member or carer who also ‘lives with diabetes’ every day in a support role. This means that an estimated 2.4 million Australians are affected by diabetes every day.
These simple tips will help reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes and improve your general health and wellbeing.
1. Eat your veggies
Complex fresh veggies are high in nutritional value and digest slowly, causing blood glucose to increase less quickly while also making you feel fuller for longer. Foods such as chickpeas, lentils, flaxseed, oatmeal, berries, tomatoes and asparagus can help to increase levels of friendly bacteria in the gut. They also contain fibre, which helps to remove excess fats in the body.
2. Have a snack
Eating snacks throughout the day keeps your blood sugar levels stable and prevents overeating at meal times. Quality snacks include rye crispbread with avocado or cottage cheese, veggie sticks and hommus, plain popcorn, a mug of soup, or low fat low sugar yoghurt.
3. Take time for lunch
It is easy to work through lunch, especially if you are in a busy or stressful work environment. People who skip lunch tend to eat and drink more at night, they go to bed later and wake up feeling tired. Taking time for lunch will also increase your focus and productivity.
4. Distract yourself from food
If you have a tendency to overeat, make a list of distractions to help when you get these feelings. Play Sudoku, ring a friend, clean the house, listen to music or have a bath. When people are bored they often start reaching for food, especially when watching TV at night.
5. Break the habit
Unhealthy eating is often just a bad habit. It’s easy to fall into a routine of eating unhealthy foods, always finishing your meal and ordering dessert even though you feel full. The key to breaking any habit is to do it slowly. Gradually remove one or two bad foods, such as sugary drinks or chips, and replace them with vegetables and fruit.
6. Drink plenty of water
Water helps to flush out the kidneys, removes toxins and waste matter, supports the cells and helps blood flow to the organs. Your body is most dehydrated during the night, so keep a bottle of water by your bed. Water can also reduce pain levels, plump up the cells and reduce lines in the skin. If you don’t like the taste of water on its own – try it with squeeze of lime or lemon.
7. Rehydrate, don’t dehydrate
Avoid coffee, other beverages with a high level of caffeine, fruit juice with high sugar levels, soft drinks and alcohol. These stimulants dehydrate the body, drain it of energy and can lead to pain and swelling in the joints and tissue. Excess sugar actually drains more fluid out of the body, placing burden on the kidneys.
8. Get your body moving
Walking or gentle exercise lowers the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. It’s also a great way to burn energy. Exercise can start slowly, try doing 15 minutes daily or 10 minutes twice daily and build up to 20-30 minutes several days a week. Lack of exercise can decrease circulation and lower the levels of nutrients in the blood, leading to arthritis and joint problems.
9. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Stress can lead to poor quality sleep, skipping meals or overeating. If you get stressed easily, try some breathing exercises to relax your system. Stress is all about perception, so next time you feel stressed ask yourself – is it worth the worry? Helpful tip – treat yourself to a massage every now and again.
Most importantly AVOID PROCESSED FOODS.