Can You Prevent Type 2 Diabetes? Follow These 5 Simple Steps

October 29, 2021 | Written By: Nazirul Mubin

Diabetes in Malaysia is no longer a disease exclusive to the elderly. In 2019 alone, 17.6 percent of known diabetics consists of people in the age of 40s and below. This trend is of great concern as diabetes is a disease requiring life-long treatment. The treatment not only adds significant expenditures to the patient, it also costs the country due to increase of medical spending and decline in workforce productivity. Hence, this shows the importance of prevention rather than treatment. Listed below are a few ways that can help you to prevent diabetes. 


1. Practice a culture of healthy and well-balanced diet 

This culture includes consuming food from all nutritional classes, amount of calories intake per-serving, daily meal time and its frequency. 


Practicing a specific diet or superfood is a wrong take on a healthy diet. This is because a healthy and well-balanced diet should include foods from all categories in the food pyramid to fulfill daily nutritional requirements. This concept can be further simplified into the quarter-quarter-half plate arrangement. Half of your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, a quarter of it can be filled with protein such as fish and another quarter complete with carbohydrates such as rice, noodles or bread.


The amount of calories consumed should also match the amount of energy used for daily activities. Total amount of energy used daily by each person may vary from one another according to their age, gender, BMI, metabolic rate and level of physical activity. In general, the level of energy requirement can be summarized into 3 categories based on their physical activities which are low, medium or highly active. Low physical activity personnel are elderly and those who sit all day long. This group of people are suggested to consume about 1,500 kcal per-day. While those with medium physical activity are advised to take approximately 2,000 kcal per-day. Finally those with a highly active lifestyle or quite underweight should eat about 2,500 kcal per-day.


Correct and consistent meal time are also important factors in the culture of healthy and well-balanced diets. Each individual is advised to practice a consistent minimum 3 main meals consisting of breakfast, lunch and dinner. This step has been proven to stabilize blood sugar level as normal insulin hormones fluctuate throughout the day. The consistent meal time is also able to prevent the dangerous and unhealthy habit of binge eating that can lead towards harmful levels of sugar in blood. 


2. Reduce blood sugar level by exercising

Recent study shows that a combination of exercise for 150 minutes per-week with a well-balanced diet is the best way to prevent diabetes. It can also successfully reduce 5-7% of body-weight. All forms of exercise that can cause someone to sweat is adequate to reach the 150 minutes per-week target. For the elderly, low impact exercises are a viable option such as brisk walking for 30 minutes daily. However, for a more active age-group, high energy exercises such as aerobic exercise can be done. Aerobic exercise has been proven to increase up to five times sugar intake by the muscle tissue. Hence, completely lowers blood sugar level.


Diabetic patients or newly diagnosed diabetics are also advised to regularly exercise as it helps them lower their sugar level. Such exercises that they can do are mostly based on their age-group and individual ability. Elderly that have diabetes can opt for exercises that increase flexibility, stability and muscle strength. Adults below 50 on the other hand, can try more intense and resistance type exercises. However, an important precaution should be taken by diabetics before starting exercises is to check their sugar level and get clearance from their physicians. This is to prevent hypoglycemic incidents or cardiovascular problems during strenuous activity.


3. Maintain a normal BMI and waist circumference measurements

BMI is also known as body mass index is a ratio of mass with height. The formula for calculating BMI are weight (kg) divided by height to the power of two (m2):


BMI = Weight (kg) Height to the power of two (m2)


Normal BMI level is between 18.5 - 24.9 kg/m2. While a normal waist circumference measurement for Malaysians is less than 85 cm for males and 80 cm for females. Optimum waist circumference measurement and BMI level can significantly reduce the risk of developing diabetes. A study from the UK indicates that people with BMI more than  22 kg/m2 already have an 80-85% risk of getting diabetes.


Furthermore, one of the most common problems among the middle-aged population is a large belly or also known as dad-body. This phenomenon occurs when excess fats are collected at the abdomen inside the omentum or underneath the skin. Ultimately leading to a larger than normal waist circumference measurement. It usually happens from a sedentary lifestyle. Maintaining a normal waist circumference measurement not jut lowers the risk of diabetes, it can also protect against cholesterol or heart problems. Optimum waist circumference measurement can be obtained by the aforementioned combination of healthy diet and regular exercise.


4. Implement healthy habits and lifestyle

All of the advice above can be categorised as part of the step into a healthier lifestyle. However, there are more initiatives that can be taken to improve your health and fundamentally reduce the risk of diabetes.


These efforts include smoking cessation. This is because smoking can actually increase the risk of getting diabetes between 30-40% higher. Other than causing addiction among smokers, nicotine also disrupts insulin hormone efficacy in lowering blood sugar level. It will cause sugar levels in an individual to rise uncontrollably. Stop smoking can also lead to a myriad of benefits such as reducing the cost of daily expenditures. For more information, please click the article link below.

Wonderful Things That Happened After You Quit Smoking

The next healthier lifestyle step is to reduce alcohol intake. People with diabetes especially should really avoid drinking alcohol with anti-diabetes medications such as insulin or sulfonylureas. It is because alcohol can increase the risk of hypoglycaemia when combined with the aforementioned drugs. Alcohol also has a high level of carbohydrate, this directly disturbs efforts of lowering blood sugar level. Therefore, clearly showing uncontrolled alcohol consumption does not help in preventing diabetes.

Moreover, drinking a lot of plain water is also part of a healthier habit which can prevent diabetes. This healthy routine helps with maintaining optimum level of hydration and avert individuals from taking carbonated drinks. The suggested amount of daily water intake for adults is a minimum of 8 glasses per-day. However, it is sufficient to drink plain water until you notice your urine is off pale yellow or clear colour. Those who drink plain water at least 1 litre per-day can reduce the risk of diabetes by 28%. 

5. Taking supplement such as Habatus Sauda (Nigella Sativa) to reduce sugar level

Habatus sauda is a plant naturally found in South-West Asia and South Asia. The seeds of Nagilla Sativa are often used as spices for traditional cuisine in India, South Asia and Polland. It is also known as sunnah among the Muslim population. Supplement from this plant can be obtained in liquid, powder or capsule form. Systematic review study reveals evidence showing that Habatus sauda can lower blood sugar level effectively in humans. Pre-diabetic individuals that take 2 g Habatus sauda daily have a much lower glucose level compared to those who did not. Other traditional anti-diabetes remedies include bitter gourd, aloe vera, fennel seeds, cinnamon and ginseng

Conclusion

The information above are simple steps that you can take to reduce the risk of developing diabetes. If you have any doubts or health conditions, do refer to your physicians whether these steps are suitable for you especially prior to starting supplements or vitamins. Steps towards a healthier lifestyle are easy to do but the difficult part is to consistently follow the regiment. However, these changes are necessary for a healthier golden years of your life. Goodluck!


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