(StatePoint) Nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes and another 37 percent of U.S. adults have prediabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Given the statistics, it’s no surprise that diabetes is a leading cause of death in the United States. Fortunately there are concrete steps you can take to control the disease, say experts.
“Medication alone can’t solve diabetes. The solution must include healthier eating and living,” says Dr. Andy Baldwin, a board certified family physician and ambassador for Nutrisystem, a weight loss program that has a specific plan designed for diabetes management.
No matter what your health status is now, committing to a healthier lifestyle can help you manage diabetes or prevent the onset in coming years. Dr. Baldwin is offering some suggestions for getting started.
• To avoid overeating, dont put serving bowls on the table. Fill plates in the kitchen and leave extras and leftovers far away. Instead, keep veggies or a salad on the table to supplement meals. Include carrots, celery, cucumber, pepper slices and cherry tomatoes. Eat as many as you like rather than getting seconds of the main course.
• Cinnamon has been shown to help improve blood sugar levels. Fill an empty salt shaker with the spice and leave it on the table. Shake a little on meat, potatoes, vegetables for the health benefits and an added boost of flavor.
• Designate one chair at your table as your “eating chair.” Only eat if you are sitting in it — nowhere else.
• Fast food can be calorie dense and low on nutrition. Avoid going overboard by limiting your intake. That means either eating a childs meal or picking a healthier, sometimes more expensive item from the menu, such as a salad or grilled chicken sandwich.
• If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, it’s time to make a change. Set quotas for TV viewing. For example, one hour of news and one hour of entertainment — or, stay active while watching television by doing squats, crunches, lifting small weights or stretching. Get outdoors for at least 15 minutes a day — rain or shine! Walk, bike, garden, clean or play a game, it doesnt matter, as long as you are moving.
• A structured meal plan and nutrition-rich foods can help you manage diabetes and weight issues without needing to count calories, carbs or points. Look for a program that meets the nutritional guidelines of the American Diabetes Association and that offers personal support in the form of certified diabetes educators, dietitians, food and glucose trackers, and an online support community. For example, Nutrisystem D is clinically proven to help people with type 2 diabetes lose weight and lower their A1c, offering meals that contain the right balance of low glycemic carbs, fats, high protein. Meals are also fiber-rich to ensure participants feel full. More information can be found at www.Nutrisystem.com.
Healthy habits can benefit your overall health, as well as reduce your risk for complications from diabetes.