Submitted by Wendy Chirieleison, MS Ed
Community Health Educator
Get Screened For Diabetes Every Year Starting At Age 45
According to the Mayo Clinic, if you are overweight or have a family history of diabetes, then you are at risk for developing diabetes. Other risk factors are age, race, inactivity, high blood pressure, or abnormal cholesterol.
While this may be bad news, on the bright side, it is never too late to make changes in your life that can help reduce your risk of, or even prevent, diabetes. The Mayo Clinic recommends five easy steps that are as simple as eating right, moving more, and shedding a few pounds.
STEP ONE: INCREASE YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Research shows that an exercise regimen of both aerobic and resistance training worked best in regards to preventing diabetes. What can you do to increase your activity level? How about joining walking groups, using a stationary bike, trying a workout video, playing a sport with friends, or taking a class?
Are you tech savvy? How about downloading a pedometer app to your smart phone or IPhone? According to the research conducted by the National Institute of Health, these types of apps do increase physical activity and help people enjoy exercise more.
STEP TWO: GET PLENTY OF FIBER
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds can pack a big punch when consumed on a regular basis. Not only can fiber help maintain blood sugar levels, fiber can also help you lose weight by making you feel full, and lowering your risk of heart disease.
So how can you add more fiber to your diet? According to WebMD, it is easier than you think! Start your day with a high fiber cereal, eat your daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, add beans to your diet a few times a week, and try adding a tablespoon of flaxseed into your smoothies, soups, or other dishes like casseroles. Remember that the difference between fiber and whole grains is that fiber is a component of the food we eat, where whole grains are ingredients.
STEP THREE: CHOOSE WHOLE GRAINS
‘Make half your grains whole’ is a new slogan created by the US Department of Agriculture to teach people of the importance of consuming whole grain foods, how to spot a whole grain food from an imposter, and simple substitutions that we can make each day to increase consumption of whole grains.
While shopping for whole grains, remember it is not the color of the food item, but rather the ingredients that count. In order for a product to be considered whole grain, ingredients such as whole wheat, brown rice, bulgur, buckwheat, oatmeal, whole grain cornmeal, whole oats, whole rye, or wild rice must be listed first. Otherwise, it is not a whole grain product. Products labeled as multi-grain, stone-ground, 100% wheat, cracked wheat, seven-grain, or bran are usually not 100% whole-grain products, and may not contain any whole grain at all, so be sure to read labels.
STEP FOUR: LOSE WEIGHT
The good news is, if you are following steps one through three, you should lose weight without any additional effort! Every pound you lose decreases your chances of getting diabetes. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, losing just seven percent of your body weight can reduce your risk of diabetes by up to 60%!
STEP FIVE: MAKE HEALTHY CHOICES
If you are following steps one through four, you are well on your way to making healthy choices. There are many other things you can do as well!
- Make sure you talk to your health care provider about getting screened for diabetes.
- Take advantage of screenings being offered in your community. HealthLink offers free or low cost screenings on a regular basis.
- Skip fad diets, as they typically don’t work. Visit MyPlate.gov to get a personalized diet and other suggestions to help you stay on track with making healthy choices.
- Try adding more fish to your diet. Not a fan of that ‘fishy’ taste? Jamie Oliver, Ted Talks Award winner and author of Food Revolution, says if you buy the right kind of fish, it will not be fishy at all. Talk to the seafood department where you shop to find out what days their fish is delivered so you can buy the freshest fish possible. Also, try seasoning your fish not only with lemon juice, but with lemon zest and garlic. If you are adventurous, try lime or orange juice and zest as well.
For more information, contact HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120. You can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, see our website at nlh.org, or visit our wellness center at 213 Harrison Street Ext. in Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.