Now that we’ve spent an entire month talking about women, it’s only fair to now take a whole month to focus on the men in our lives! So this month is all yours fellas! Sit back, relax, and get hit by some knowledge.
This week I will focus on type 2 diabetes prevention, June 8th will be cardiovascular health and lung cancer risk, June 15th is all about being a healthy dad (Happy Father’s Day!), June 22nd focuses on prostate cancer awareness and finally on June 29th, skin care tips for men! Yes gentleman, you need to moisturize too.
Type 2 diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes (its clinical name) is a chronic disease in which your body can no longer properly metabolize the sugar you put into your body. In most cases, your body either isn’t listening to the insulin (hormone that regulates the response to sugar), or isn’t producing enough of it. In both cases, the result is simply too much sugar left in the blood and that isn’t good! Some of the complications are heart disease, nerve damage, skin conditions, and hearing impairment, among many others.
The best way to deal with diabetes is to prevent it in the first place with proper diet and exercise! This includes eating a balanced diet of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, lean protein and unsaturated fats. Limiting the added processed sugars and following portion sizes is also very important as this helps your body to maintain blood sugar levels as opposed to spiking and falling. Sugars are essential to our health, but it’s important to eat the right ones…. You may have heard “stay away from anything white”… I find this “friendly advice” very unhelpful as there are a lot of vegetables and whole grains that are white (cauliflower, popcorn, onions and garlic to name a few).
The better way to think about food is “is it whole from a plant or is it processed?” Eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables gives you sugar, yes, but it also gives you fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, all of which helps to slow down and normalize the introduction of the sugar into your system. This allows your body to maintain its energy level. When you eat processed foods (chips, table sugar, white rice, etc.), all of the fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals are stripped away, giving your body nothing to help slow down the sugar stampede into your systems causing highs after eating and lows hours later. This also causes overeating because your body thinks it’s hungry during those lows.
So what about exercise? That is important too! Aerobic exercise increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin, allowing it to listen better and respond accordingly. It also lowers the amount of sugar in the blood because it’s using it for fuel. Pick something you enjoy so that you’ll want to do it regularly and as always discuss any new exercise with your doctor before starting.
What are the symptoms of diabetes? How can I notice it before it gets bad?
- Get your blood tested every time you go for a physical
- Fasting blood sugar: <100 = normal, 100-125 = prediabetic, >125 = diabetic (two tests)
- Hemoglobin A1c: <5.7 = normal, 5.7-6.4 = pre-diabetic, >6.5 diabetic (two tests)
- Increased thirst and urination
- Increased hunger
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Slow wound healing or frequent infections
- Areas of darkened skin
Here are some great recipes to get you started on your journey to a whole, plant based diet. Your body will thank you, because this not only lowers your risk for diabetes, but other diseases like heart disease and cancer! http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/diabetic_diet
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