Type 2 Diabetes is a serious disease plaguing our society. Genetics, eating habits, and weight is a factor that can lead to the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.
Being overweight, inactive, and eating fatty and sugary foods are great risks for developing Type 2 Diabetes.
The good news is that there are lifestyle changes you can make to prevent or reduce symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes. These include implementing healthy foods and physical activity in your daily routine.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
First, let’s talk about Type 2 Diabetes. It is a disease in which blood sugar levels are too high because the body cannot correctly use insulin to deliver the sugar to our cells. Because of this, our body does not get any energy from the food we eat.
A person is diagnosed as having Type 2 Diabetes when they have a fasting blood sugar level of 126 mg/dl or higher, and a random blood sugar level 200 mg/dl or higher.
Type- 2 Diabetes is a serious disease because it can lead to chronic diseases including heart disease, retinopathy, neuropathy, and stroke. Two out of three people with Diabetes die from coronary heart disease or stroke.
Most people with Type 2 Diabetes have high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol, which increase their risk for heart disease and stroke. Because of the frequency of this disease, it is important to get regular check-ups with your physician.
According to the American Diabetes Association, almost 10 percent of the American population, meaning more than 23.6 million Americans, have Diabetes.
Fifty-seven million Americans have pre-Diabetes, which frequently progresses to Type 2 Diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes affects both adults and children, and currently, 200,000 children are diagnosed. Minority groups, including South Asians, Hispanics and Blacks are more likely to get the disease. Currently, 7.5 percent of Asians and South Asians, 10.4 percent of Hispanics and 11.8 percent of Blacks have Type 2 Diabetes.
Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes
1) Luckily, minority populations can greatly cut their risk of developing Diabetes by eating a healthy diet that includes fiber and monounsaturated fat, as shown in a 2006 study by Dr. Iris Shai.
2) Nuts are one type of food that reduce symptoms of Diabetes because they contain both fiber and monounsaturated fat.
3) Monounsaturated fat helps those with Diabetes and pre-Diabetes because it improves the body’s ability to use sugar from food as energy, instead of leaving it to do damage in the body.
4) Fiber is beneficial because it decreases the body’s absorption of fat, cholesterol, and carbohydrates from food. Numerous studies prove that regular nut consumption reduces symptoms of Diabetes. In 2003, a 24-week study by Dr. Michelle Wien showed that daily consumption of nuts decreased symptoms of Diabetes, led to weight loss, and reduced the need for Diabetes medication.
5) A 2002 study by C.M. Alper showed that a low-fat diet including nuts led to sustained weight loss, while a low-fat diet without nuts did not. It is also a valuable food to consume to prevent getting Diabetes, as shown in a 2002 study by Dr. Rui Jiang, where nut consumption reduced the risk of developing Diabetes by 45 percent.
6) Because of the great benefits of consuming nuts, the American Diabetes Association recommends including them in your daily diet.
7) Nuts and nut butter are part of the protein food group, just like chicken, fish, tofu, lentils, and beef.
8) Therefore, nuts can substitute as a protein source in place of meat. Men need 6-8 ounces of protein a day and women need 5-6 ounces of protein a day.
9) Just eating half an ounce of nuts or 1-2 tablespoons of nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, etc.) a day counts as 1 ounce of protein. Please note that you should not consume nut butter that contains palm oil or hydrogenated fats, however.
10) The best way to get the benefits of nuts without gaining weight is to eat no more than this amount.
11) A half-ounce of nuts is equal to twelve almonds, eight cashews, six walnuts, or 20 peanuts. Nuts are a good substitute for meat because they have protein like meat, but contain no cholesterol and little-saturated fat.
12) There are many ways to include nuts and nut butter on a daily diet.
13) They can be eaten alone or mixed in foods, such as a topping on toast, cereals, yogurt, cooked vegetables or salads.
14) Nuts are also a beneficial snack and could substitute for typical snack foods such as chips or chocolate.
15) Peanut butter actually has a sweet flavor that makes it a very satisfying dessert.
16) Dietary changes have a major influence on the onset of Type 2 Diabetes so it is highly recommended to implement nuts into your diet.