When it comes to managing and preventing type 2 diabetes, lifestyle changes are really important.
Here are three diabetes dos and three diabetes don’ts to help you effectively manage, prevent, or even reverse type 2 diabetes.
1. DO mind your carbohydrates—and eat more fiber.
Avoid foods that have a high glycemic index (GI), like white bread, soda, juice, and russet potatoes. These foods raise your blood sugar faster. Switch them out for medium- to low-GI foods, such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, beans, carrots, and greens. Although you can’t find the GI level on the nutrition label, you can figure it out based on the fiber content. Generally, the higher in fiber, the lower the GI. Fiber improves digestion and helps you feel fuller, longer—making you less likely to overeat or reach for high-sugar, high-carb snacks. Enjoy whole-grain cereals, breads, and pastas, as well as fruits and veggies with edible skins, to get your daily fiber.
2. DO practice portion control.
Use nutrition labels to determine the correct serving size. (It’s often much less than we think.)
Be especially cautious at restaurants, where portions are typically far beyond a single serving size. Try placing half your meal in a to-go box before you start eating. Also, ask your server to skip the bread plate.
3. DO get physical activity every day.
Getting some sort of physical activity every day is important. Physical activity can help control blood sugar and reduce the need for medications, both the number of medications and the doses you take.
1. DON’T smoke.
Smokers are 30 to 40 percent more likely to develop diabetes than people who have never smoked. Once you quit, that risk drops and continues to decrease the longer you go without smoking. If you’re ready to stop smoking, talk with your doctor about the best approach. There are ways to ease withdrawal symptoms and set you up for success.
2. DON’T avoid your doctor.
With regular checkups, you and your doctor can track your condition. Your doctor can also connect you with other helpful resources, such as a nutritionist.
3. DON’T set yourself up for failure.
If you hate going to the gym, for example, telling yourself to go to the gym every day is not going to stick. Get your physical activity in whatever form you like. For example, you may enjoy taking walks—that’s great! It’s important to find what works for you. The same goes for food. While it's smart to limit sugar and carbs, if rice has been a big part of your diet for 50 or 60 years, it may not be realistic to cut out rice completely. A nutritionist can suggest foods that are familiar or part of your culture.
Are You at Risk for Diabetes?
If you have any questions, talk with your primary care provider (PCP). If you’re a Clover Health member and need help finding a PCP near you who can help you manage your health, visit our Find a Provider page. (Here are a few more reasons why it’s so important to have a PCP plus more tips for how to find one.)
And if you want to learn more about Clover Health, our Medicare Advantage plans, and our broad network of primary care doctors, give us a call at 1-800-836-6890 (TTY 711) 8 am–8 pm local time, 7 days a week* to speak with a member of our team. We’re happy to help answer any of your questions.
Photo credits: iStock, Getty