The secret to managing type 2 diabetes doesn’t come in a pill. In most cases, these simple lifestyle changes will do the trick.
Keeping close tabs on your diet is a major way to manage type 2 diabetes. A healthy diet for people with this includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean meats, and low-fat dairy. Focus on eating fruits and non-starchy vegetables, like broccoli, carrots, and lettuce, and having smaller portions of starchy foods, meat, and dairy products. Be especially careful about loading up on foods that are high on the glycemic index (GI), a system that ranks foods according to how they affect glucose levels. High-GI foods include white breads, white rice, and soda.
Managing Type 2 Diabetes: Lose Weight
Shedding pounds can improve blood sugar levels and help keep type 2 diabetes under control. And you don’t have to lose a lot of weight to make a difference. “If you already have this, losing just 10 to 15 pounds can lower your glucose levels,” says McLaughlin.Where your fat is distributed also affects your diabetes risk and management. People who carry most of their fat in their belly (apple shape) are more prone to this disease than those with fat mostly in the thighs, hips, and buttocks (pear shape).
Managing Type 2 Diabetes: Exercise Regularly
Even without losing a pound, exercise can help keep type 2 diabetes under control.“When you do physical activity, such as walking, your muscle contractions push glucose out of your blood into your cells,” explains McLaughlin. The result: Better blood sugar levelsOf course, the more intense the exercise, the better. In one study of vigorous exercise and type 2 diabetes, women who walked quickly gained more protection from type 2 diabetes than those who walked at a more leisurely pace.
Managing Type 2 Diabetes: Control Sleep Apnea
Many overweight people with type 2 diabetes also have sleep apnea, a condition in which a person stops breathing temporarily while sleeping.People with type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea are at higher risk of death from heart attack and stroke. Their blood sugar levels also fluctuate more dramatically while sleeping than in those who have type 2 diabetes, but not sleep apnea, according to one study. These fluctuations have been linked to a higher risk for diabetic complications.
Managing Type 2 Diabetes: Soothe Stress
Stress can make blood sugar levels harder to control, says McLaughlin. Try relaxation techniques to chase away stress. Top-notch stress busters include yoga, tai chi, meditation, massage, and soothing music.As a bonus, stress relief may help you sleep better, important because studies show that not getting enough sleep can worsen this. Sleeping less than six hours a night has also been found to contribute to impaired glucose tolerance, a condition that often precedes type 2 diabetes.