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World Diabetes Day - 4 Ways To Prevent Type II Diabetes

The prevalence of diabetes is on the rise, not just in Canada, but worldwide. It has reached epidemic proportions, affecting 422 million adults across the globe. The rates in Canada alone have almost doubled over the past decade and are expected to climb even higher if the trend continues. Despite this fact, millions more don’t even know they have the condition or are living with prediabetes, which puts them at a greater risk of developing it down the road. It’s time to hit the breaks on this train and make a change on a global scale. Read on to learn what you can start doing today to reduce your risk, because in many cases diabetes (type II primarily) is largely preventable.

1. Cut out the sugar

One of the single most important things that you can do for your health is to pay attention to the food that you are eating. This means that reading labels is a must. Refined or “added” sugars, found largely in sodas, breads, sweets, and processed foods cause rapid spikes in blood glucose levels, which overtime can contribute to weight gain and insulin resistance. When planning your meals aim for the slower digesting “complex” type of carbohydrates, which are found primarily in vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. Always pair your carbs with a protein and healthy fat to help lower the overall glycemic load of the meal. For example, instead of plain toast for breakfast, combine it with an egg and some avocado. Struggling with sugar cravings? Try a dose of L-glutamine, an important amino acid that can help the brain fight the urge for those pesky sweets.

2. Get moving!

Type II diabetes is very much a lifestyle disease, which means that proper diet and exercise are key for both prevention and treatment. It is recommended that patients get a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 days a week. A simple way to gauge your intensity is through the “talk test” – exercise should be intense enough that it is slightly difficult to carry on a conversation. This is not only great for keeping your blood sugar levels in check but it also helps to improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin, aid with weight loss, and protect against cardiovascular disease.

3. Spice it up

Believe it or not but your own kitchen cupboard may contain items that can effectively aid in diabetes prevention. One of the most studied is cinnamon, which has been found to significantly reduce blood sugar, triglyceride, and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in diabetics. It is important to note that cinnamon comes in two major varieties called Cassia or Ceylon. Opt for the more expensive Ceylon variety, as the Cassia type contains coumarin, a compound that can be toxic to the liver in high doses. Turmeric, the famous bright orange spice, also plays a role in the prevention and progression of diabetes, as it contains a compound called curcumin that acts to sensitize the body to insulin and reduce inflammation.

4. Correct for deficiencies

Several studies suggest that type II diabetics are often deficient in minerals, including chromium, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Each of these plays an important role in blood sugar regulation so it is important to ensure that you are obtaining enough on a daily basis. Speak to your doctor to determine if supplementation is right for you, or up your intake by consuming a diet rich in green leafy veggies, meat, seafood, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

Yours in health,

Dr. Jessica Geil, ND

Naturopathic Doctor

Health Over All

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