By Eileen Johnson

Many warnings can be heard in the media about the growing number of people diagnosed with type two (previously called adult onset) diabetes, including a significant number of adolescents. 21 million Americans have diabetes, about 6 million are undiagnosed. Complications include heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease and heartbreaking amputations.

Lifestyle changes can significantly affect your chances of preventing this disease or controlling the disease after diagnosis.

  • Start with our children
    • Help children set up great habits at an early age and get used to whole foods that don’t have to be heavily salted or sweetened.  Include fresh vegetables and fruits, fresh nuts, grass fed or free range meats and deep sea fish, whole grains and unadulterated dairy products in their diet. Cook with omega 9 rich oils like grape seed or olive oil, and include omega 6 oils such as fish, flax or walnut oil on a daily basis. Make exercise a part of your family routine, a significant factor that insures optimum weight and healthy insulin sensitivity in the cells. Make trips to the fast food restaurant and consumption of sugary treats a special occasion only or avoid altogether.
  • Know your numbers
    • Pre-diabetes can be detected early by observing changes in cholesterol, or numbers such as fasting glucose, rising blood pressure or expanding waist measurement.
  • Weight control
    • BMI (Body mass index) can give you a better picture of your health status than just weight. It is determined by dividing kilograms weight by height in meters squared. Confused? Just get on the internet and put BMI in your search engine. There are many sites that will help you calculate BMI, which should be between 18.5 and 24.9 for adults. Look for sites or ask your doctor to determine the healthiest BMI for a child.
  • Fruits and vegetables
    • 5-10 ½ cup servings of fruits and vegetables a day ensures needed antioxidants to keep organs healthy and prevent damaging inflammation.
  • Get the max magnesium
    • Magnesium is crucial in preventing and managing diabetes. Magnesium actually improves the cell’s response and sensitivity to insulin. Foods rich in magnesium include dark green vegetables; oats; fresh, raw nuts and seeds; and pumpkin seeds.
  • Consume enough fiber
    • The average American adult should eat 35-50 grams of fiber a day to reduce inflammation and cholesterol. High fiber foods also prevent radical blood sugar changes that gradually decrease the body’s response and sensitivity to insulin.
  • Reduce stress
    • Stress will raise cortisol levels in the body, a hormone that stimulates the body to store more fat around the waistline and increases the desire to eat more food than needed.
  • Exercise
    • A 20-30 minute walk each day will help keep weight down and cells sensitive to insulin.
  • Beverage choices
    • A very easy way to put on the pounds and create inflammation is to consume pop or coffee drinks on a daily basis. Try fresh juices or water.
  • Supplementation

Helpful supplementation can include fish oil capsules, chromium, vanadium, cinnamon, bitter melon, fenugreek, bilberry and zinc.

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