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November is Diabetes Awareness Month!

You’ve heard it countless times before – eat healthy.  Here is one more reason to follow that advice.  Science has proven that if you lose a small amount of weight by eating healthier and being physically active 30 minutes a day, five days per week, you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

The National Diabetes Education Program, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has developed educational materials for many audiences and in several languages as part of the Small Steps. Big Rewards Prevent type 2 Diabetes campaign. Although there are lots of diet choices and weight-loss plans available, taking small steps to reduce fat and caloric intake and becoming more physically active is most likely to lead to successful weight loss—and helps to keep the weight off as well.

Why is preventing type 2 diabetes so important?
Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot process glucose, one of the fundamental things our body needs to have energy. If undiagnosed or not managed properly, diabetes can be very dangerous. When your body doesn’t make or use insulin properly, it can’t covert glucose into energy in order for your body to function. All this extra glucose builds up in your blood stream, depriving your body of the energy it needs. This results in high blood sugar levels.

Prolonged periods of high blood sugar can lead to a lot of problems. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to:

  • Kidney disease
  • Nervous system disease
  • Amputation
  • Eye problems or blindness
  • Skin problems
  • Heart disease
  • Peripheral Artery Disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Dental problems
  • Stroke
  • Death

Here are some tips for eating healthier and getting you on the road to diabetes prevention:

  • Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.  A serving is one medium- sized fruit; ¼ cup of dried fruit; 1 cup leafy vegetables; ½ cup raw, cooked, frozen or canned fruits or vegetables.  Buy a new fruit or vegetable during each shopping trip.  Try eating at least one serving of a fruit and vegetable at each meal.
  • Choose water instead of regular sodas or fruit drinks.
  • Instead of fried chicken, try it grilled or baked. Instead of French fries or potato chips, slice a few potatoes, sprinkle them with a little oil, salt, and pepper, and bake them in the oven.
  • Curb your craving for dessert or a sweet snack by eating a piece of fruit.
  • Instead of salty, fat-filled snacks, eat crunchy veggies with low or reduced fat dip.  

You can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes through a healthy lifestyle. Change your diet, increase your level of physical activity, maintain a healthy weight…with these positive steps, you can stay healthier longer and reduce your risk of diabetes.

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