Everyone knows that proper nutrition is one of the main keys to thriving health and longevity. People who adopt the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits and grains, have been reported to have longer life expectancy than the ones who adopt a modern Western eating pattern. Diets low in meat and rich in legume / beans were also linked to the long life and healthy adulthood.
It’s not news that the modern Western diet, high in processed refined sugars, is directly linked to many chronic diseases, including diabetes. Though, it’s important to stress that it’s not the only factor that contributes to the development of this disease. Excess stress, a common characteristic of modern life, also raises the risk for developing diabetes. Poor sleep that disrupts our important biological processes also plays a significant role. The sad part is, most of these issues are all too familiar for many of us.
Not surprisingly, the number of people with diabetes is skyrocketing. Some epidemiologists are already discussing a diabetes epidemic in the United States. According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 29 million of people or 9% of population in the United States have already developed diabetes. In addition, 86 million, more than one out of three adults, are in the risk group – a pre-diabetes state.
Are you struggling to get decent sleep? Do you feel constantly stressed and overworked? Are you skimping on the veggies and opting for processed and fast food? You just might be in the risk group.
It’s important to consider changes in lifestyle that will make your nutrition healthier and life more balanced. But don’t fear: these changes can be simple and can be implemented by anyone.
1. Don’t Skip Breakfast
Like Mom always says, start the day with a healthy breakfast. That’s right… even if you’re scrambling to get to work or are busy preparing kids for school, don’t skip breakfast. Regularly skipping breakfast was shown to increase the risk of diabetes later in life.
You can have a healthy breakfast even if you are in a rush. Muesli with nuts and spices is a great start for the day. It’s easy to make your own muesli to avoid added sugars and preservatives. Plus, you can always add ingredients you love. Below is one of my favorite recipes:
1 cup of oats
1/2 cup of raw almonds or walnuts
1/2 cup of chia, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup of cranberries, raisins, or mulberries
1 tablespoon of fenugreek Trigonella foenum-graecum seeds
1 teaspoon of cinnamon Cinnamomum zeylanicum
This dish is tasty and nutritious. Oats are a great source of a dietary fiber; almonds and walnuts are rich with plant proteins; chia, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds give a healthy daily dose of essential fatty acids; cranberries, raisins, and mulberries are rich with vitamins. In addition, cinnamon C. zeylanicum and fenugreek T. foenum-graecum are fantastic herbs that can promote healthy, normal blood glucose and lipid levels.
Feel free to experiment with this recipe by adding your own favorite ingredients.
I also recommend drinking a cup of ginseng Panax quinquefolium (C.A Mey) tea in a morning. Ginseng P. quinquefolium is used historically as a tonic for improving energy and vigor. It was also suggested that the main constituents – ginsenosides – can support normal insulin sensitivity.
2. Daily Nutrition
For daily meals, avoid processed products that easily break down into simple sugars. Emphasize raw, unprocessed foods like whole and unrefined grains, legumes, bananas, potatoes (with the peels intact), and Jerusalem artichokes.
Avoid eating snacks between meals, and if you feel really hungry, choose a fruit, like an apple or banana, instead of a granola bar.
Make sure you eat fruits daily. However, be moderate with the fruit juices as they are much higher in fructose (fruit sugar) but are lower in dietary fiber.
You might also drink a cup or two of coffee in the morning—try it black or with nut milk if possible! While it’s not fully understood how coffee affects the metabolism, numerous studies have shown that habitual coffee lowers risk of development of diabetes. Still, avoid drinking coffee late in the evening as this may reduce quality of sleep. Similarly, avoid drinking alcohol late at night, even at small quantities, as it usually disrupts a normal sleep pattern.
3. Daily Exercises
Allocate time for daily exercise – even 30 minutes per day can make a difference. Regular daily physical activity helps to reduce stress and promotes the utilization of glucose. I highly recommend jogging, cycling, and aerobic exercises. Yoga is a great option, and a number of studies have demonstrated its beneficial effects for patients suffering from diabetes.  These included significant decreases in blood glucose levels and improved glycemic control. It was also suggested that yoga is particularly effective because it combines physical exercise with specific strengthening postures and breath control.
While we never know what life may throw our way, creating simple healthy lifestyle habits can keep us thriving and may even stave off disease later in life, including diabetes.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a Professor and Research Analyst at American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.
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