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Type 2 Diabetes: Diet and Exercise Tips for Men and Women
Eating healthy and getting adequate exercise each day is important for everyone. But when you have type 2 diabetes, it becomes even more crucial to do both consistently.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that prevents the body’s cells from responding to insulin properly, resulting in a buildup of glucose in the bloodstream. As a person with type 2 diabetes ages, their body also may not produce adequate insulin. When uncontrolled, this type of diabetes can lead to other health complications such as heart disease, blindness, neuropathy, kidney disease, and a higher risk for stroke.
Roughly 1 million – or 5 per cent – of all Australian adults have type 2 diabetes, according to a recent National Health Survey. The data revealed that slightly more men (6 per cent) than women (4 per cent) are affected by type 2 diabetes, with males age 45 and older more susceptible to the disease.
Type 2 diabetes can develop slowly, with mild symptoms that may be easy to ignore or misdiagnosed as something else. Early warning signs include:
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes
With the right combination of medication, diet, and exercise, type 2 diabetes easily can be managed. Insulin and Metformin are among the common drug therapies for its treatment. Your healthcare practitioner will advise you on how often to check your blood glucose levels and when insulin or other medication needs to be administered, or if your condition can be managed with diet and exercise alone.
Healthcare providers also will prescribe a diet and exercise regimen to help keep your diabetes in check. Studies have shown that diet and exercise are key players not only in the prevention of diabetes but also in the treatment after a diagnosis is received.
Diet Tips for Managing Type 2 Diabetes
A study found that following a diabetic-friendly eating plan for a year decreased both weight and fasting glucose levels in diabetics, proving the effectiveness of a diet regimen as a means of controlling this condition. The results of the study are encouraging, as they show that type 2 diabetics who follow their regimen will experience metabolic changes beneficial to their health and well-being.
Many recipes that cater to diabetics are lower in carbohydrates and sugar. But a healthy eating plan to control diabetes does not have to be bland and boring. There is more to it than the reduction and elimination of carbohydrates and sugar.
Knowing the best times of day to eat and how much to eat in one sitting are important. As a general rule, it is recommended for diabetics to eat smaller meals spaced evenly throughout the day to maintain optimal blood sugar levels.
Additionally, some foods help stabilize insulin and blood sugar. Diabetics should include these foods in their daily meal plans.
1. Whole-grain foods Products with 100 per cent whole-grain ingredients are healthy, wholesome alternatives to refined and overly-processed grains. Not only do whole grains contain more vitamins and minerals than their refined counterparts, but they also digest more slowly, keeping blood sugar levels in check.
2. Non-starchy vegetables The American Diabetes Association recommends 3-5 servings of non-starchy vegetables daily for people with type 2 diabetes. A serving is equal to half a cup of cooked or one cup uncooked vegetables. Bean sprouts, baby corn, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, spinach, and squash are all non-starchy vegetables.
3. Healthy fats Healthy fats help preserve health and can be found in foods like avocados, canola oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and nuts and seeds.
4. High-protein foods Certain types of high-protein foods are safer for type 2 diabetics than others. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna, chicken, turkey, soybeans, and tofu are all examples of high-protein foods that are safe for type 2 diabetics.
Some foods should be avoided. Overly-processed foods and snacks, sugary drinks like soda and juice, and white rice, bread, and pasta should all be eliminated from the diet.
Best Exercises for Managing Type 2 Diabetes
Creating a lifelong exercise routine that is engaging, achievable, and motivating is a great way to maintain health.
ADA recommends a mix of aerobic (cardio) and strength training to help combat type 2 diabetes. Aerobic exercise keeps the cardiovascular system healthy, promotes reduced blood sugar levels, and prevents insulin resistance. Just seven days of vigorous aerobic exercise can produce results, according to researchers at the Cleveland Clinic.
Some of the best cardio exercises for controlling type 2 diabetes that are easy to stick with include the following:
Strength or resistance training helps control type 2 diabetes by making the body more sensitive to insulin and by lowering blood sugar. It is best to be guided into strength training by a professional, especially if you have not previously included weights in your fitness regimen. Start with lighter weights and utilising progressive overload, increase the amount of weight being lifted and lower the number of repetitions performed as you improve your strength and endurance.
Are you struggling with where to start with your diet and strength training? I've worked with dozens of diabetic and pre-diabetic people, I can help with a regime that fits your unique individual lifestyle needs. Reach out today to schedule a consult.