According to WebMD, Diabetes impacts roughly 26 million Americans and counting. It is one of the fastest spreading diseases among older adults and a leading cause of premature death. But it is also a disease for which your risk can be reduced if you’re willing to make certain lifestyle changes. Don’t worry. We’re not telling you to go out and get a perm (even though you could totally pull it off).
When we talk about lifestyle changes, we mean diet and exercise. What you eat and how much you move your body during your everyday life will both have a direct bearing on your likelihood of dealing with diabetes as you age. Your choice of food is especially critical. If what you’ve been eating is vacuum-sealed, doused in preservatives and filled with listed ingredients that sound like they came from a chemistry test, chances are it isn’t good for you. Prepackaged, processed and sodium-heavy foods like this can increase your risk of diabetes.
But we’re not here to tell you what you can’t eat. We’re here to tell you what you can eat. Find ways to integrate these delicious and diabetes-repellent super foods into your everyday diet:
Apples are on the top of the list for a reason. According to Best Health Magazine, Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples are among the top ten fruits when it comes to disease-fighting antioxidants. With their low caloric count and high fiber content, apples keep your hunger satiated without causing blood-sugar swings. This means that regular apple consumption can help you to stave off the insulin resistance that prefigures adult onset diabetes.Try to keep things interesting by baking your apples and topping them with yogurt or stewing them into oatmeal.
When it comes to changing your diet, it’s important to learn the difference between good fat and bad fat. You’ll want to stay away from saturated and trans fats. By direct contrast, Best Health Magazine suggests that regular intake of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can actually help to reduce your likelihood of developing insulin resistance. A great source of monounsaturated fat is the avocado, which can make a creamy and delicious substitute for a heavy dressing or mayonnaise.
The good news is that you don’t have to abstain from eating. Quite the opposite in fact. You should space out the day with small, healthy snacks. Nuts make the perfect in-between meal energy-booster. According to a 2011 study from Louisiana State University, people who ate at least a quarter-ounce of nuts a day had a 5% lower risk of diabetes. That means that a handful of almonds and cashews every day could be a big leg-up in the fight against diabetes.
If you thought the news about nuts was good, you’re going to love the news about chocolate. According to AARP, the flavonoids in chocolate can help to counteract insulin insensitivity. Regular consumption of dark chocolate may also help to accelerate the body’s metabolism of glucose. So next time you eat a piece of dark chocolate, remember that you’re doing it for your health!
In addition to the super foods noted above, incorporate beans, whole-fat dairy products, leafy greens, sweet potatoes and plenty of Vitamin-C rich fruits and veggies into your diet. In general, a healthy and balanced diet should inherently help reduce your risk of diabetes. Use common sense when you’re in the grocery store. Your health depends on it!