A whopping 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes each year, according to the American Diabetes Association. This expert-approved advice can help you stay healthy and prevent your risk of developing diabetes.
The nutritionist says ... eat one plant protein and one serving of veggies at every meal.
As often as possible, get your protein from low-carb plant foods like soy and nuts. Beans are also good protein sources, but they're high in carbs, so be cautious if that's something you're monitoring. Studies show that filling your plate with veggies and nuts helps improve chronic inflammation and insulin sensitivity.
And a plant-based diet can also help you lose weight, lower your blood glucose and blood pressure, and ward off heart disease — because you're getting more fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and healthy fats, and less saturated fat and cholesterol.
Try this: To reach your plant-based goals, throw some spinach into an almond-butter-based smoothie or toss some tofu cubes onto your salad.
Toby Smithson, M.S., R.D.N., author of Diabetes Meal Planning & Nutrition for Dummies.
The researcher says ... sign up for a prevention program.
Most doctors will tell you to eat better and move more, but how exactly do you start putting the advice into practice? That's why it's crucial to find a group that helps inspire you to create healthy, lasting habits. Research shows that when you engage in a yearlong lifestyle change program that includes diet, exercise, and support, you'll cut your risk of diabetes by over half, and by 70% if you're over 60, you'll also help prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Try this: More than 1,700 organizations around the country, like the YMCA, Medicare, Omada Health, and Kaiser Permanente, offer versions of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There are even online options such as ymca.net/diabetes-prevention.
Ann Albright, Ph.D., R.D., director of the Division of Diabetes Translation at the CDC in Atlanta.
The doctor says ... pop a Vitamin D pill.
While other supplements may claim to help manage or prevent diabetes, vitamin D is the only one with actual evidence to support it. In fact, one study of over 2,000 people with prediabetes found that the higher the level of vitamin D in the subject's blood, the lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun, but because people aren't going outdoors as much, it's very common to be deficient in this vitamin. And it's hard to reach the right levels just by eating.
Try this: Consider getting your levels checked with a simple blood test at your doctor's office or an urgent care clinic. And assuming you fall below the recommended 30 ng/ml, you'll likely want to take 2,000 international units (IU) of D a day.
Brian Jameson, M.D., board-certified endocrinologist at Geisinger Health System in Danville, PA.
This story originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of Woman's Day.
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