We all know the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and getting consistent exercise into our daily lives. But with over 29.1 million Americans living with Type 2 diabetes – that’s nearly 10% of us! – it’s more important than ever that we get ourselves in check.
Type 2 diabetes is marked by high levels of blood sugar. Typically, insulin (produced by the pancreas) helps process sugar (glucose) in the body. However, over time, those with Type 2 diabetes develop insulin resistance, a condition where the body does not use insulin properly and allows glucose to build up in the blood. This starves the cells for energy and, over time, can create lots of other damage in the body, including to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, or the heart. Nerve damage can sometimes also occur in the bladder, causing diabetics to experience incontinence. While men and women are both at risk for developing diabetes, men have been found to be more susceptible to the disease based purely on biology.
Many people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood sugar with a healthy diet and regular exercise. What does this look like? A diet rich in vegetables (these should take up half your plate!), fruit, lean protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy in moderate amounts, and healthy fats from things like avocado and nuts is best. Additionally, getting 30 minutes of good exercises per day (think brisk walking, strength training, and stretching) at least 5 days a week can help keep your blood glucose in check, and lower your risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Want to learn more about how to prevent or manage diabetes with diet and exercise? Check out the recommendations from the American Diabetes Association and get yourself on the right path today.