The prevalence of diabetes is on the rise, not just in Canada, but worldwide. It has reached
epidemic proportions, affecting 422 million adults across the globe. The rates in Canada
alone have almost doubled over the past decade and are expected to climb even higher if
the trend continues. Despite this fact, millions more don’t even know they have the condition
or are living with pre-diabetes, which puts them at a greater risk of developing it down the
road. It’s time to hit the breaks on this train and make a change on a global scale. Read on
to learn what you can start doing today to reduce your risk, because in many cases
diabetes (type II primarily) is largely preventable.
Cut out the sugar
One of the single most important things that you can do for your health is to pay attention to
the food that you are eating. This means that reading labels is a must. Refined or “added”
sugars, found largely in sodas, breads, sweets, and processed foods cause rapid spikes in
blood glucose levels, which overtime can contribute to weight gain and insulin resistance.
When planning your meals aim for the slower digesting “complex” type of carbohydrates,
which are found primarily in vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. Always pair your
carbs with a protein and healthy fat to help lower the overall glycemic load of the meal. For
example, instead of plain toast for breakfast, combine it with an egg and some avocado.
Struggling with sugar cravings? Try a dose of L-glutamine, an important amino acid that can
help the brain fight the urge for those pesky sweets.
Type II diabetes is very much a lifestyle disease, which means that proper diet and exercise
are key for both prevention and treatment. It is recommended that patients get a minimum
of 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 days a week. A simple way to gauge your
intensity is through the “talk test” – exercise should be intense enough that it is slightly
difficult to carry on a conversation. This is not only great for keeping your blood sugar levels
in check but it also helps to improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin, aid with weight loss,
and protect against cardiovascular disease.
Spice it up
Believe it or not but your own kitchen cupboard may contain items that can effectively aid in
diabetes prevention. One of the most studied is cinnamon, which has been found to
significantly reduce blood sugar, triglyceride, and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in diabetics. It
is important to note that cinnamon comes in two major varieties called Cassia or Ceylon.
Opt for the more expensive Ceylon variety, as the Cassia type contains coumarin, a
compound that can be toxic to the liver in high doses. Turmeric, the famous bright orange
spice, also plays a role in the prevention and progression of diabetes, as it contains a
compound called curcumin that acts to sensitize the body to insulin and reduce
Correct for deficiencies
Several studies suggest that type II diabetics are often deficient in minerals, including
chromium, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Each of these plays an important role in blood
sugar regulation so it is important to ensure that you are obtaining enough on a daily basis.
Speak to your doctor to determine if supplementation is right for you, or up your intake by
consuming a diet rich in green leafy veggies, meat, seafood, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole