Your body is like that on-and-off relationship with a confused/toxic guy, you were once/still are deeply in love with: It’s complicated. While you have the luxury of bidding the relationship goodbye, the same can’t be done with your body—unless, of course, you want to be living a life with ailments, diseases, and weakness, as a result of your ignorance towards your body and health.
One of the many and the most common complications of this unassailable aspect of life is diabetes, a health condition in which the body usually becomes less responsive to the insulin hormone (type-2 diabetes), which is responsible for carrying the glucose to different organs so as to provide them with the energy to carry out different functions. The result?
With all the unused glucose still remaining in the bloodstream, the blood sugar levels can peak, leading to several health complications such as obesity and heart diseases.
In some cases, it also happens due to no/decreased insulin production as result of your immune system mistaking your own healthy, insulin-producing beta cells as foreign invaders and attacking them (type-1 diabetes).
But what causes this chaos?
Poor lifestyle and eating habits could be the reasons behind this chaos. However, according to the American Diabetes Association, your genetics too have a role to play in making you more prone to getting diabetes.
“There have been family studies that have pointed out that first-degree relatives of individuals with diabetes are about thrice more likely to develop the disease than those without a positive family history of it. Nonetheless, this does not mean that if your mother or father has (or had) diabetes, you are definitely going to develop it. It instead, means that you have a greater chance of getting it,” explains Dr Jugal Gada, endocrinologist, Bhatia Hospital, Mumbai.
So, how can you prevent diabetes if you have a family history of it?
Dr. Gada, along with Pooja Thacker, chief dietician, Bhatia Hospital, Mumbai have a few suggestions for y’all:
1. Eat mindfully
“Avoid or limit the intake of refined and starchy food items such as maida, rava, white bread, potatoes, and other tubers, processed foods and meats, fried foods, sweets,” says Dr. Gada.
“Use trans fats such as margarine, dalda/vanaspathi and restrict the use of table salt and consumption of alcohol,” he adds.
He also suggests including high-fibre foods (whole grains, pulses, and all green vegetables) in your diet and says that eating vegetable salads with lunch and dinner is quite effective.
Stressing on the importance of portion control while eating and making healthy food choices, he urges people to read food labels and select foods that are low in fat, salt, and sugar.
2. Measure your waist
Thacker warns that excess body fat, especially, if stored around the abdomen, can increase the body’s resistance to the insulin hormone. This can lead to type-2 diabetes.
So, she recommends that you check your weight and waist circumference and make sure it falls within the recommended parameter of up to 40 inches for men and less than 35 inches for women.
3. Be physically active
Physical inactivity raises the risk of diabetes according to Thacker. And moderate physical activity on most days of the week helps manage weight, reduce blood glucose levels, and improve blood pressure and cholesterol too.
4. De-stress by meditation or yoga
As per Thacker, stress triggers the release of several hormones like cortisol that increase blood sugar. Mindfulness meditation improves the ability to cope with stress and can keep the blood sugar levels in check.
5. Get regular blood tests done
Dr. Gada recommends keeping a tab on your blood sugar levels, fasting plasma glucose, and glycated haemoglobin (Hba1c) via regular blood tests, so as to get an idea about whether you’re on the right track with your lifestyle habits or not.
Just a few preventive measures can help you go a long way in keeping diabetes at bay.