Five Tips to Prevent Diabetes

Today, we are sharing five tips to prevent diabetes, something that is all too common amongst south Asians. The American Diabetes Association created The American Diabetes Alert Day as a “one day wake-up call. This day focuses on the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of understanding your risk¹.” 

Although diabetes is not a new illness, it’s one that has become more common in the last twenty odd years. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the individual’s body isn’t able to process glucose because their pancreas can’t produce insulin. Being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes is usually a result of an individual’s lifestyle choices. While age, ethnicity and genetics play a role in your predisposition to diabetes, the two main culprits are lack of physical activity and being overweight. 

As a Holistic Health Coach, I believe in the power of healing through food and lifestyle choices. ‘Lifestyle Medicine’ is what I call it, because I firmly believe that lifestyle choices can trump inherited risk to most conditions you might be genetically predisposed to. There’s no guarantee that focusing on your lifestyle and wellbeing means that you’ll never be diagnosed with a certain condition. But what it could do is prevent, delay and even reduce the impact of chronic disease/illness. 

South Asians are predisposed to the development of diabetes due to biologic and lifestyle factors. The fact that I’m genetically predisposed to diabetes is something that I have been aware of from an early age. Diabetes runs in my dad’s side of the family, and my family has always openly discussed the condition and treatment. We’ve also talked about what we can do to prevent diabetes and reverse it. 

My parents always worried about my sister and I being diagnosed with the condition, so they instilled certain habits in us which we still practice. While we were never deprived from eating sugary foods, the treats we consumed were always eaten in moderation. Our meals were always balanced with enough fiber and protein, and not over loaded with starches- irrespective of how many times a week we wanted to eat French fries!

Preventative nutrition is one of the base concepts at The Method By Tanya, so here are some of my favourite tips to prevent diabetes and keep glucose spikes at bay.

Five Tips to Prevent Diabetes

  1. Load up on fiber. Fiber rich foods help control blood sugar levels. An essential piece of nutritional advice I give all clients, diabetic or not, is to load up on fiber rich foods before eating a high carbohydrate meal. The fiber will slow the release and absorption of sugar in the blood stream. For example, I’ll eat a portion of broccoli or steamed spinach before indulging in a bowl of pasta. 
  2. Keep moving. Other than encouraging and accelerating weight loss, exercise helps improve blood glucose levels. Exercise could prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. 
  3. Eat balanced meals. Focus on eating low GI foods and slow release carbohydrates. GI refers to the glycaemic index of any food. The lower the GI of a food, the higher the chances of weight loss and controlled blood sugar levels. Low GI foods basically fall into the categories of non-starchy vegetables, nuts, legumes and lean meats such as green vegetables, beans and lentils. Slow release carbohydrates aka high-fiber complex carbohydrates, are essentially unrefined wholegrains and some starchy vegetables that score in a low to mid-range on the GI scale. When combined with protein and good fat, the glucose from these carbohydrates are slowly absorbed into the body, preventing extreme glucose spikes. Some of my favourite slow release carbohydrates are sweet potatoes, oats and quinoa.  
  4. Don’t skip fruits. Some people demonize fruits because of their sugar content. Fruit is so much more than just sugar. Fruits are loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients. Sure, some fruits are higher in sugar (tropical fruits) than others (berries), but when consumed in the right amount at the right time, can be part of a healthy diet. 
  5. Control your added sugar intake. There’s no way to say it other than sugar is sugar. Whether it’s refined or unrefined hardly makes a difference to blood sugar levels. A refined sugar free label doesn’t mean it’s low in sugar or healthy It just means there’s no refined sugar in it. Unrefined sugar is a lot better for the body as it contains different minerals and health benefits. However, just like refined sugar, these unrefined sugars still cause glucose spikes, and should therefore be consumed in moderation.  

Tanya Ganwani Varma hails from a family of entrepreneurs and believes business is in her DNA. After her move to London, England in 2018, Tanya was on a mission to start another business, this time something unrelated to the field of fashion retail. She followed her passion for wellness and got certified as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She went on to establish her Holistic Health & Wellness business, The Method By Tanya. Tanya’s goal as a Holistic Health Coach is to empower women to become the best version of themselves from the inside out by healing their mind, body and soul through food & lifestyle choices. Tanya is an advocate of the concept that lifestyle is the best medicine and believes it’s never too early or too late to start working towards your goals! For a holistic view on health and wellness follow Tanya’s Instagram @themethodbytanya.

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