Diabetes mellitus is characterized by increased levels of sugar in the blood. The cause can be related to heredity to obesity. Prevention of type 1 diabetes is difficult because it is related to genetic factors.
Meanwhile, type 2 diabetes, which generally starts from an unhealthy lifestyle, can still be prevented. The way to prevent diabetes is to focus on maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
The phrase “prevention is better than cure” is true. The reason is, diabetes is a disease that requires lifelong treatment. Therefore, it is important to take diabetes prevention steps from now on.
How to prevent diabetes mellitus
The increase in blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes begins with a condition of insulin resistance. This condition causes the hormone insulin to be unable to be used optimally by the body’s cells.
Though insulin functions to help the body’s cells absorb blood sugar (glucose) which is then converted into energy.
However, about 9 in 10 cases of type 2 diabetes can be avoided with simple prevention that includes lifestyle changes. By living a healthier lifestyle, the sensitivity of the body’s cells to insulin can increase, thereby preventing the risk of insulin resistance.
The following are ways to make lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes:
1. Maintain an ideal weight
Having an ideal body weight is one way to prevent diabetes in the future. This is because obesity (being overweight) is one of the main causes of diabetes.
Obesity interferes with the work of metabolism which ultimately makes the cells in the body unable to respond to insulin properly. Your body becomes less or completely insensitive to insulin. As a result, insulin resistance leads to diabetes.
The results of clinical trials conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) also suggest this as a diabetes prevention measure. In its report, the NIH said by losing weight, preventing diabetes by up to 58 percent.
To monitor your ideal body weight, you can find out your Body Mass Index (BMI) through the BMI Calculator from Hello Sehat.
2. Eat a balanced nutritious diet
A good diet is another way to prevent diabetes. This prevention can help you control your body weight to stay ideal so that the risk of diabetes will decrease.
So far, most people tend to be accustomed to eating fast food, fat, and high sugar. So, to prevent diabetes, you need to rearrange these food choices.
To prevent diabetes, make sure your dinner plate always contains complete and balanced nutrition, namely carbohydrates, protein,v fiber, good fats, and vitamins and minerals.
You need to avoid certain types of food while increasing your intake of certain foods. Here’s the list:
Foods to avoid
- Foods are high in saturated fat, such as fatty cow’s milk, cheese, ice cream, sausages, nuggets, cakes, and fried foods.
- Packaged food and beverages.
- Foods are high in sodium, such as salt, instant cooking spices, and instant noodles.
- Foods and drinks are high in simple carbohydrates, such as candy, pastries, soft drinks, sweet snacks.
Food to Consume
- Complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.
- High-fiber foods, such as kidney beans, legumes, fruit, and vegetables.
- Good sources of fats, such as fish meat (without skin and not fried), avocado, olives, and almonds.
3. Pay attention to carbohydrate and sugar intake
Glucose which affects blood sugar levels is the result of the breakdown of carbohydrates. As a way to prevent diabetes, you can choose sources of complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice.
Carbs that are good for maintaining blood sugar have a low glycemic index because they are richer in fiber. That way, carbohydrates take longer to be broken down into glucose.
You also need to pay attention to your daily sugar intake. Daily sugar intake is often excessive due to the consumption of added sugar that is mixed into food and drinks.
The sugars in question include artificial sweeteners, liquid sugars, or crystalline sugars, as well as natural sugars in honey, fruit juices, and fruit concentrates.
Excessive consumption of high-sugar foods will trigger metabolic problems, disrupt the insulin production process, and lead to obesity or obesity.
According to the Indonesian Ministry of Health, the limit for added sugar in food and beverages is a maximum of 50 grams or the equivalent of 4 tablespoons.
4. Maintain food portions
The next step to prevent diabetes is to measure out the daily meal portions. Especially if you are used to eating large portions.
Eating excess portions make you consume more calories. This can increase body weight and risk of diabetes.
Using a smaller plate can be one way to maintain food portions to prevent diabetes. Eating with small plates makes you subconsciously so you have to eat less than usual.
Ideally, it is better to eat small amounts of food often rather than having to eat large amounts at once.
5. Increase physical activity
Lazy lifestyle movement also contributes to a slow increase in blood sugar levels.
A study in the journal Pediatric Academic Societies reported that adults who used to watch TV for more than 3 hours each day had a higher risk of premature death from chronic diseases, including diabetes.
Therefore, get used to being more active and avoid doing activities that cause you to sit or lie down for too long.
Physical activity can increase the body’s metabolism. This can encourage the storage of sugar in muscle tissue and increase the body’s response to insulin.
Diabetes prevention measures that can be taken daily to make the body move more actively include walking a lot, climbing stairs, gardening, and cleaning the house.
6. Exercise routine
Physical activity, including exercise that lowers blood sugar, which is done regularly can be used as a powerful way to prevent diabetes.
Exercise can help burn calories to produce energy and store glucose in muscles for energy reserves. That way, sugar does not accumulate in the blood.
Exercise also helps your body become more sensitive to insulin. This certainly prevents you from the risk of insulin resistance.
As a diabetes prevention measure, spend at least 30 minutes each day exercising.
7. Quit smoking
Quitting smoking can also help you prevent diabetes. In fact, type 2 diabetes is the type of diabetes most smokers experience.
A review study in the Journal of the American Medical Association analyzed several large studies on smoking and diabetes.
Active smokers have a 44% higher risk of diabetes than non-smokers. The risk increases by 61% if you smoke more than 20 cigarettes per day.
If you are an active smoker, there is no more effective way to prevent diabetes than to quit smoking. Even though it’s hard, you can start little by little.
8. Reduce the consumption of sweet foods
Limiting the consumption of sweet foods can be a surefire way to prevent diabetes. Eating too much sweetness can lead to weight gain.
For those of you who like sweet foods, limiting their portions is the best diabetes prevention measure even though it may not be easy.
Sweet cravings usually arise when you are stressed or in a bad mood. By eating sugary foods, most people assume a better mood and less stress.
However, eating sugary foods when under stress can make you addicted more easily. As a result, you eat too much of it.
So, how to prevent diabetes for sweet food lovers can be done by managing stress properly. Instead of consuming sugary foods, engage in beneficial activities that reduce stress such as reading a book, exercising, or chatting with friends.
9. Drink plenty of white water
You can prevent diabetes by reducing the consumption of sugary drinks, such as soda, energy drinks, and packaged fruit juices). Well, instead of drinking sweet things, it’s better to just drink water.
This way of preventing diabetes can increase the ability of the body’s cells to respond to insulin properly.
So that you get used to consuming plain water to prevent diabetes, start by bringing your own drinking bottle wherever you go. Also, provide drinking water at your desk or in your bedroom.
10. Don’t skip meals
Preventing diabetes can be done by reducing the habit of eating a lot. However, that doesn’t mean you can skip meals.
Skipping meals does not help prevent diabetes. In fact, it can drive you crazy to eat more. The reason is, you are already holding back your hunger so that your appetite will increase.
11. Take mineral supplements
Another way to prevent diabetes is to increase the consumption of mineral supplements, such as chromium and magnesium.
Both of these minerals are known to increase insulin sensitivity. Chromium plays a role in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates in the body. Meanwhile, magnesium is a mineral that acts as a tissue receptor in the process of glucose absorption.
Diabetes prevention is very important to do as early as possible considering this disease can affect anyone and cannot be cured.
If you have difficulty implementing ways to prevent diabetes especially if you are a risky group, consulting a doctor will be very helpful.