By Adrian Schirr
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that’s caused by high blood sugar. It is a dangerous disease that can lead to many other health conditions when it’s not managed properly. This includes kidney disease, blindness, leg and foot amputations, nerve damage and even death.
While it affects many adults, the elderly are high risk for developing type 2 diabetes due to the combined effects of increasing insulin resistance and impaired pancreatic islet function with aging.
In fact, more than 25% of Americans over the age of 65 have type 2 diabetes. That’s more than 12,000,000 people and does not account for the millions of elderly Americans who are pre-diabetic.
There are several causes for developing type 2 diabetes such as poor diet, obesity, inflammation, a sedentary lifestyle, high levels of stress and high blood pressure.
Now, here’s the good news: Type 2 diabetes is completely preventable and reversible with diet and lifestyle changes.
At Nuview Nutrition, I’ve learned how to avoid type 2 diabetes and you can, too. It’s not too late. With these tips, you can reduce your chances of getting the disease or even reversing the condition if you’ve already been diagnosed.
Nutrition: A functional medicine approach to type 2 diabetes is quite simple as it focuses on a Mediterranean, low glycemic, whole foods nutrition plan. The first step is to remove inflammatory substances such as trans fat, refined sugar, gluten, dairy, hydrogenated oils and alcohol.
Once your kitchen is officially anti-inflammatory, replace those dangerous foods with options that have shown to prevent or fight diabetes like foods high in fiber, healthy fats, and foods with a low glycemic load.
Tip: If you’re struggling with understanding the right foods, it’s important you don’t do this alone. A functional medicine nutritionist will be able to design the right diabetes plan for your body’s needs.
Exercise: Exercise reduces chronic disease and can help reverse diabetes naturally when combined with the right nutrition plan. Make it part of your daily routine.
Simple forms of physical activity, like walking for 20 to 30 minutes every day, can be extremely beneficial, especially after meals. Other great options include water aerobics, yoga, pilates or even something simple at home with props like resistance bands and dumbbells.
Tip: Don’t just dive right in if you haven’t been exercising for some time. It’s best to discuss this with a professional to help get you started with the right plan.
De-stress: When you are unmotivated, irritable, depressed, restless or anxious, high levels of stress hormones prevent insulin-producing cells in the pancreas from working properly and reduce the amount of insulin they make. This is a large contribution to the development of type 2 diabetes.
DE-stress and protect yourself with daily, self-care rituals such as meditation, gentle yoga, time for yourself and anything else that relaxes you. Learn to say NO to things that cause you stress. It’s okay to put your mental health first.
Aging does not have to include chronic disease. It is possible to live in health and vitality all the way to the end. If you are one of the millions Americans struggling with diabetes symptoms, begin the steps to reverse it naturally by contacting a functional medicine nutritionist. With a customized nutrition program, increased physical activity and a good plan to de-stress, you can quickly regain your health and prevent or reverse type 2 diabetes.
Adrian Schirr works at Nuview Nutrition in Clarkston.