1 in 10 Americans have diabetes and approximately 1 in 3 have prediabetes. That’s over 122 million Americans who are either diabetic or are prediabetic. And with our global pandemic of COVID-19, this chronic disease that is preventable with lifestyle changes also increases our risk for getting sick, hospitalized or possibly dying from a COVID-19 infection. Now, more than ever it is critical for us to reverse diabetes and optimize our health.
Type 2 Diabetes is caused by insulin resistance from repeated instances of high dietary intake of sugar without fiber. The excess sugar circulating in diabetes patients can lead to kidney failure, stroke, blindness or leg amputation. Reversing diabetes is about controlling your blood sugar, not just with medications but with evidence-based diet and lifestyle changes that have been clinically proven to lower blood sugar. Below are 5 tips that you can incorporate into your daily routine to drastically reduce your risk of developing diabetes and having severe complications from a COVID-19 infection.
Walking after eating
Exercise helps control blood glucose levels, and it’s an essential part of managing and preventing type 2 diabetes. Walking for 10 minutes right after eating has shown to lower blood glucose levels.
This is better than walking only once a day for 30 minutes. Short walks after each meal, particularly dinner really slows the increase in blood sugar and helps lower post-meal blood sugar for three hours or more.
But, before starting or changing your exercise regimen, talk with your doctor to determine what is best for you.
Add vinegar to your diet
Adding vinegar to your diet, especially with meals have shown to dramatically reduce the spike in blood concentrations of insulin and glucose that come after a meal.
Just 2 teaspoons of vinegar significantly reduces blood sugar after meals. Vinegar can lower blood sugar levels for pre-diabetics looking to slow or reverse their path towards developing diabetes.
Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar before a meal even as part of a vinaigrette salad dressing-will dramatically reduce the spike in blood concentrations of insulin and glucose that come after a meal and increase insulin sensitivity.
Eat whole foods, fruits and vegetables
In people with diabetes, fiber, particularly soluble fiber found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. Most people don’t eat enough fiber in their daily diets. To boost your fiber intake, try these healthy food choices:
- Whole-grain products
- Beans, peas and other legumes
- Nuts and seeds
The closer you are to a plant-based diet the more you can prevent, manage and even reverse Type 2 Diabetes.
Combine good carbs with healthy fats
Combining good carbs with healthy fats and proteins not only helps you prevent type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases but it can help sustain your energy in between meals.
Protein and fat slow down digestion so blood sugar does not spike as quickly making it less likely to get so hungry that you overeat when you finally have a meal. Here are a few combinations that we love to recommend:
- Apple with a handful of nuts
- Whole grain toast with avocado
- Oatmeal with walnuts and cinnamon
- Add chia seeds to your morning smoothie
- Greek yogurt and oats
If you have diabetes, stress hormones whether from physical or mental stress can raise your blood sugar levels.
Another unfortunate side effect of stress is that it can start to undo the routines you put in place to manage type 2 diabetes. Not only does long-term stress cause chronic high blood sugar but it can affect how you take care of yourself.
If you often find yourself tense and on-edge, try these ways to reduce stress and incorporate them into your daily routine.
- Start Meditating
- Practice deep breathing
- Add Yoga to your exercise routine
- Get a good nights sleep
Preventing or even reversing diabetes isn’t just about changing eating habits it’s about making the necessary changes in your lifestyle to promote healthy habits that lead to change. Without the proper knowledge and tools this can be a deterrent to getting your diabetes under control.
As a medical doctor who has been fellowship trained by Dr. Andrew Weil in Integrative Medicine, Dr. Shad has a passion for helping people manage and reverse their diabetes.
If you are interested in learning more about an Integrative Medicine approach to preventing and reversing diabetes book at FREE 20-minute virtual discovery call with Dr. Shad today.
Dr. Shad (Farshad Fani Marvasti, MD, MPH) is a Stanford-trained medical doctor, associate professor in academic medicine, speaker, and author with expertise in nutrition and culinary medicine, wellness, public health and prevention.
Follow Dr. Shad on Social Media