Diabetes has become a worldwide epidemic, with over 380 million of people affected. Of all those cases, 90 to 95 percent of them have type 2 diabetes.
Some of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes are being overweight/obese, being inactive, having a family history of this disease and also being of certain ethnicities, such as Asian American. Asian Americans are twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-Hispanic Whites. There are increasing numbers of studies that show other factors such as not getting enough sleep and/or stress may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In my new book, Diabetes Reset, I’ve shared 8 strategies that will help in preventing and managing diabetes. Previously, I shared with you four of the strategies on how to make healthier food choices, and the benefits of staying active and losing weight. Here, I’ll share with you four more ways to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes.
1. Become an inflammation fighter
Inflammation—the process of swelling and reddening—is an important defense and regeneration system in your body and is essential for good health. When part of your body becomes inflamed, either through an external injury or an internal infection or reaction, that tells your immune system that you are in need of assistance.
The inflammatory process is usually over relatively quickly; however, when being exposed to inciting agents for an extended period of time, the process will become chronic. Being overweight is one of the main causes of this chronic, low-grade inflammation. Ongoing chronic inflammation can have damaging effects, such as contributing to insulin resistance, a condition in which your body becomes less sensitive to insulin. If your body is resistant to insulin that means you can’t use the glucose in your blood stream as efficiently, leading to high blood glucose levels and eventually diabetes.
Losing weight, quitting smoking and consuming foods that have anti-inflammatory effects (for example, whole grains and whole grain products, nuts, colorful fruits and vegetables such as raspberries, blueberries, broccoli, and certain spices) are helpful in preventing this inflammation.
Increasing your physical activity level is essential in your weight loss plan. The higher the intensity of the activity the more calories will be burned. Find out more about how many calories are burned in some common activities: English | Chinese
2. Get 7 to 8 hours of high-quality sleep every night
A growing body of evidence suggests that a lack of sufficient sleep will increase insulin resistance. On average, people in the United States and westernized Asian cities are getting fewer hours of sleep than they have in the past due to lifestyle.
You can ease your night’s sleep by creating a sleep-friendly environment in your bedroom. Avoiding bright blue light stimulation from television or computer monitors before bedtime; this type of light simulates the light from the sun and can confuse your body into thinking it’s still daytime. When you’re trying to sleep, you should keep the room as dark as possible. Try not to eat or drink an hour before bed, so you are not disturbed during the night.
Some people may also have poor-quality of sleep due to various medical conditions such as sleep apnea. If you are told that you snore, or if you wake up in the middle of the night trying to catch your breath, talk to a doctor about getting tested for sleep conditions such as sleep apnea.
3. Reduce stress and your manage mental health
Acute and chronic stress, depression and anxiety have been found to increase insulin resistance. Identifying your stress factors and finding ways to avoid them can help. Something as simple as meditation can help reduce stress. You can meditate by focusing on your slow, regular breathing while keeping your mind concentrated on a sound or image that is non-stress related. You can also try to find support groups or other means of social support that will help you learn to cope with your stress.
4. Boost your own natural antioxidants
Oxidative stress is a metabolic process resulting in byproducts called free radicals that can cause damage to the individual cells of your body. Oxidative stress and free radicals can increase insulin insensitivity, and can even damage the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.
Antioxidants combat free radicals, and can be found in nutrients that are present in different plant-based foods. The Asian American Diabetes Initiative (AADI) has completed a study that looked into the benefits of the plant-based Traditional Asian Diet. A Traditional Asian Diet is higher in fiber (15 g fiber for each 1,000 calories you consume) and lower in fat (only 15 percent of the calories you need). This diet also encourages you to have more plant-based proteins rather than proteins that come from animals. By promoting a higher intake of phytonutrient-rich vegetables, this meal plan helps you to increase the antioxidant levels in your body.