Prevent diabetes and boost your metabolic health in 5 simple steps

If you want to prevent diabetes, then you need to take care of your metabolic health. Wondering how to do that? Here’s help!
diabetes and sweets
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Dr Altamash Shaikh Updated: 30 Oct 2023, 16:01 pm IST
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Did you know 70% diabetes is preventable! You just need to maintain your metabolic health in order to reduce your risk of diabetes. 

What is metabolic health, you ask?  

Well metabolic health is having optimal levels of blood glucose ( a kind of sugar),  bad fat (triglycerides), good fat cholesterol (HDL), blood pressure (hypertension), and waist circumference—preferably without the need for medications. 

With increased sedentary lifestyle and artificial intelligence working for mankind, coupled with reduced sleep and altered eating habits, our  metabolic health is at a threat. It has, in the recent decades, affected the younger population too and needs to be tackled in efficient ways to suit the needs of the current way of living.

Yes, it has to do with your metabolism 

The rate or speed with which our body burns or uses calories to make energy is called metabolism. When there is a state of insulin resistance (a metabolic condition) and metabolism is hampered, there are a variety of health risks and diseases that may affect health. The usual problems associated with insulin resistance are obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure, and PCOS. 

Helpful metabolic changes may be obtained by appropriate choice and changing the way we deal with daily behavior of living. 

Here are five steps to follow to improve your metabolic health and prevent diabetes:
1. Watch your weight

Lose weight to gain health! This is the factor where, lesser is better. Get your targets and goals with the help of your doctor, and start working on it. Just five to ten percent of body weight loss helps in several metabolic health parameters.

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It also improves insulin sensitivity and energy levels. Once you see the effect of weight loss on the lost healthy parameters and energy levels, you yourself will strive more to lose and maintain weight and gain health.

2. Deal with your meals

Having a healthy and balanced diet is important. Eat fresh, eat regular, eat slow, and chew slow. Avoid taking large meals, but also avoid very small meals. Avoid haste in eating and get interested in different tastes and flavours.

Remember: all that tastes good may not always be healthy. Portions of carbohydrate, proteins, fats and various vitamins and minerals can be discussed with your doctor or nutritionist for that particular goal. Inflammatory or unhealthy foods, rich in bad fat or high carbs, must be avoided. At the same time you also need to have adequate amounts of water and fluids and hydrate yourself well.

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3. Work it out

Given a choice to exercise, workout smarter, not harder. Strength training and high intensity training (HIT) helps to increase metabolism.

You can start with alternate bouts of high workout and slow down. For example,you can try a fast/brisk walk for five minutes followed by slow walking; or alternate jumping jacks/jogs with slow recovery phases. If you have an existing health issue, you may start with a steady cardio type of exercise like walking, swimming or cycling after consulting your doctor.

Another benefit of exercise, particularly resistance training, is muscle building! For this you may build your muscles by using your own body weight, resistance bands or actual weight lifting as allowed by your existing health and body condition.

Muscle has better metabolic rate than fatty tissue in the body. Talk to your doctor for an exercise regime that suits your needs.

4. Get sound sleep

Quality and sound sleep are of immense value for metabolism. It’s the only time the body gets to do repair and rejuvenate internally. Following appropriate sleep hygiene is of the utmost importance and needs to be practiced by everyone. Minimize or stop screen time one hour before sleep and get around seven to eight hours of sound sleep.

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5. Be kind to your mind

De-stressing yourself is as important as your physical health. Talk to family or friends if any point is of concern and disturbing your mental peace. Avoid being a ‘worry water’. Not taking unwanted stress and/or controlling unnecessary anxiety goes a long way. You might need counseling as too much stress can manifest itself via faulty eating patterns, increased hunger, rebound weight gain, and hormonal imbalances.

So let’s focus on taking essential and necessary steps to strengthen our metabolic health and prevent diabetes.

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About the Author

Dr Altamash Shaikh is a consultant endocrinologist, diabetologist, and metabolic superspecialist at Masina Hospital, Mumbai. ...Read More

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