People often think that if a parent or aunt had type 2 diabetes then that means they’re going to get it too, or that there’s nothing we can do to improve our metabolic health.
But we’re not chained to our genetics, as genetics is only one factor of many in what conditions we find ourselves at risk for!
So I decided to talk about eight ways that we can free ourselves from our DNA inheritance, simple changes that can make all the difference in the world.
Perhaps the following suggestions can help. They are:
- Reduce stress!
- Drink more water
- Use low glycemic index foods
- Add protein and amino acids
- Eat more soluble fibers
- Resist extra portions of food
- Get more quality sleep
- Reduce extra exposure to toxins/chemicals
Let us take the journey to a better awareness of the management of diabetes. These are some important considerations:
1. Reduce Stress
Stress is a process and a sign that often gets overlooked, minimized, or even seen as a form of weakness. How many times have we heard people make fun of others who supposedly let their “nerves” get the best of them? People who show stress are often seen as lacking confidence or even being cowardly.
Well, these attitudes about stress are completely misguided. In fact, stress is a natural physiological process. When stress is occasional or in short bursts, it is valuable and can even be life-saving. When our adrenaline kicks in after somebody cuts us off on the road, our reaction time and strength are momentarily increased.
But when stress is constant and never-ending, that’s when levels of bad-boy hormones, like cortisol, or inflammatory markers, like C-reactive protein (CRP), contribute to a whole range of problems that hurt the body, like heart disease and diabetes.
In fact, a 2010 study showed that people with stress, anxiety, or depression are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
And, in addition to the direct effect of stress on diabetes risk, stress is known to bring on (or be associated with) other factors that also contribute to diabetes on their own, such as a poor diet, not enough exercise, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption.
While it would be impossible to avoid all stress, fortunately, research has shown that mindfulness-based techniques (like meditation and yoga) improve glucose and insulin health markers in people with or without diabetes.
And better yet, science also shows that certain nutrients are critical for helping the body handle stress and mood.
B vitamins are big for natural approaches to stress. In fact, a 2013 study showed that supplementation with B vitamins reduced levels of perceived stress and feelings of fatigue.
The low-glycemic high-protein supplement, Almased, is rich in B vitamins, and even supplies 350% of the standard daily value for riboflavin!
2. Drink More Water
Are you drinking enough water? Staying hydrated is important for everyone because water makes up more than half of the human body: muscles are 75 percent and our brains are 85% water.
The Institute of Medicine suggests that 75% of Americans are always dehydrated. How does lower hydration impact people with diabetes? For people with diabetes, their risk of becoming dehydrated is greater because elevated blood glucose depletes their fluids. And so, to eliminate the glucose, the kidneys try to excrete it through urine, but that process requires water!
How much water should I drink? Six to eight ounces of non-sugar water six to eight times a day is best for everyone! This is over a half-gallon of water. Do it!
3. Choose Low-Glycemic Index Foods
Why are low glycemic foods important? As the science of nutrition has evolved, the relationship between diet and optimal health is now widely accepted.
A low-glycemic diet can help control weight by minimizing spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels.
Science tells us that eating low-glycemic and fiber-rich foods — peas, lentils, legumes, whole grains — in one meal, for example, can prevent blood sugar levels from spiking upward after eating the next meal.
Complex carbohydrates are found in such foods such as whole grains and vegetables.
Good examples of low-glycemic vegetables, beans, and legumes are asparagus; broccoli; carrots; celery; chickpeas; green beans; kidney beans; lentils; lettuce; peppers; soybeans, spinach; tomatoes; and zucchini.
LGHP foods can have a notable effect on metabolism – and without the chore of counting calories!
Luckily, Almased is the LGHP meal replacement and food supplement. It provides not only a full 27 grams of protein per serving but also separately provides nearly 15 grams of essential amino acids.
4. Supplement Protein and Amino Acids
Certain foods can increase our metabolism through something called the thermic effect of food (TEF), which is caused by the extra calories needed to process some nutrients.
Protein gives us the biggest boost in TEF, increasing our metabolic rate by 15–30 percent.
It also makes us feel fuller, which makes us less likely to overeat, too. And when we’re trying to lose fat, protein helps keep our metabolism primed so we can hold onto our lean muscle mass.
Making sure that we’re getting high-quality amino acids, the building blocks of protein (such as taurine), is just as important.
Fortunately, Almased, the low-glycemic, high-protein meal replacement and food supplement, provides us with not only a whopping 27 grams of protein per serving but also separately provides us with nearly 15 grams of essential amino acids.
5. Eat More Soluble Fiber
Why do people with diabetes need more soluble fiber? Soluble fibers come from most plant sources. Soluble fiber can be found in barley, beans, lentils, peas, nuts, oat bran, seeds, and some fruits and vegetables.
Why is soluble fiber important? Dietary fiber or roughage or bulk includes part of plant foods the body needs and cannot digest or absorb.
Unlike other necessary food ingredients, such as fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, which the body breaks down and absorbs, fiber passes through the stomach, small intestine, and colon and out of the body. It does, however, help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and healthy blood sugar levels. In fact, it even slows the absorption of sugar and helps improve blood sugar levels.
In addition to keeping our bowels working well, good fiber intake is both filling and low in calories, which is why it's key to many successful weight loss programs.
A great high-fiber addition to Almased is to add one to two tablespoons of chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, or flaxseeds to each shake.
6. Exercise Portion Control
Small portions will still fill hunger needs. Allow your body and brain to know you are full! Many individuals (those with diabetes or not) actually experience a shrinking of the stomach as they use portion control on a continual basis. I personally have experienced this.
7. Get More Quality Sleep
Did you know that food can help us sleep better? That’s right, certain things we eat can affect how good, how deep, and how long we sleep.
And not getting enough sleep is linked to insulin resistance and diabetes.
Want better sleep? Well, fortunately, there’s a lot more you can do than just avoiding caffeine at bedtime or counting sheep! Natural sleep support is mainly focused on giving your body the nutrients it needs.
One super-important nutrient is L-tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body make serotonin, a chemical in the brain needed for relaxation and sleep.
Tryptophan is also needed to make melatonin, a hormone that controls the “sleep-wake cycle,” or the circadian rhythm.
And while B vitamins specifically help with our melatonin levels, all of these nutrients boost our Zs, one way or another: vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Almased is rich in L-tryptophan, B vitamins, and other sleep-supportive nutrients.
8. Reduce Your Exposure To Toxic Chemicals
Do you work in a toxic environment? Do you live in a toxic environment? How do we stay healthy in a toxic world? Do you consume highly processed foods with toxins? Many chemicals included in highly processed foods and the environment can influence diabetes complications.
How does this happen? It involves both lifestyle and food choices. Highly processed foods that have chemicals included to extend shelf life can impact the immune system and immune-compromised people with diabetes.
Remember that water choice is also very important. Distilled water, not purified water, has no unwanted chemicals or toxins. Water drinking additives are not acceptable. City or rural (ground well) drinking water, although considered safe, does not often meet low levels of contaminants.
Recent environmental challenges with new communicative diseases, based upon inhalation of contagious viruses like COVID-19, are now a lifestyle consideration and may be present for the months ahead.
Many people with diabetes have high blood pressure and other chronic respiratory issues that make them very vulnerable to challenges from environmental and food consumption choices. Now is the time to avoid highly processed foods and stick with recommended ways (like masks) to avoid inhalation and or physical contact with viruses. Handshakes are no longer vogue!
Be Well and Be Safe!