When your blood sugar is higher than usual but still not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes, you may be pre-diabetic.
It’s unknown what exactly causes prediabetes. However, it is associated with the insulin hormone. Pre-diabetic people often experience insulin resistance which is when cells stop responding to the insulin hormone.
Insulin allows sugar (glucose) to enter your cells and is produced in the pancreas. So when your body isn’t using insulin properly, sugar can accumulate in your bloodstream.
Prediabetes is often asymptomatic, but some people develop darkening of the skin around the armpits, neck and elbows. If you suspect that you have prediabetes, you can be diagnosed by a simple blood test.
Fortunately, if you are diagnosed with prediabetes, that does not mean you will develop type 2 diabetes, especially if you take preventative actions.
Continue reading to learn eight tips to reverse prediabetes naturally.
8. Eat clean
Poor diet is a major risk factor for developing prediabetes. Luckily, you are in total control of the food you eat and can make changes. Start by cutting out any highly processed foods because they contain added fats, calories and sugar. Reducing your red meat intake will also help reduce risk.
Incorporate more whole foods into your diet by aiming to eat 80% whole foods and 20% processed foods. For example, eat more vegetables, fruit, whole grains and healthy fats. This helps to return blood sugar levels back to normal and reverse prediabetes.
7. Exercise Regularly
Everyone knows how crucial physical exercise is to our overall health and wellbeing. Some benefits include lowering blood pressure and improving heart health.
Most importantly, regular exercise protects against chronic diseases like diabetes. It does this by lowering your blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity which allows the cells in your body to use insulin efficiently.
If incorporating a workout into your weekly routine is new to you, you should start out slow. Any type of movement for 15 to 20 minutes is great, whether walking, jogging, biking, etc.
However, it would help to increase the intensity and length as you get in better shape over time. Set a goal to exercise for 30 to 60 minutes at least 5 days a week!
6. Lose Excess Weight
What’s great about exercise is that along with improving your mental health, it also helps you lose some excess weight. However, it’s not necessary to have a total body transformation to reverse prediabetes. Losing just 5 to 10% of body fat can improve your blood sugar level.
Insulin resistance increases when you have more body fat. So it’s crucial to eat healthily and incorporate exercise into your life. If you need someone to help you through this process, hiring a personal trainer and dietitian might be helpful.
5. Stop Smoking
You probably already know that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer, but did you know it also can cause insulin resistance, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes? Yep! And unfortunately, quitting is not going to happen overnight.
Make sure you get the help you need. Your doctor can help you find smoking cessation programs or prescribe you medications that curb cigarette cravings. Using nicotine patches or nicotine gum is also helpful in easing off the smoke.
4. Avoid Carbs
Certain carbohydrates are great for providing energy, but some should be avoided when trying to reverse prediabetes. Bread, pizza dough, pasta and pastries taste delicious, but are highly processed and should be the first to go from your diet. You should also avoid simple carbs because they digest quickly and spike your blood sugar. This includes candy, yogurt, honey and juices.
Instead, you should eat unprocessed carbs like vegetables, whole grains and beans. These carbs are filling and rich in fiber which helps aid in digestion. They also prevent blood sugar spikes since they take longer to break down and absorb into your body at a slower rate.
Related: Avoiding This Artificial Sweetener May Prevent Diabetes
3. Treat Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is associated with insulin resistance and should be treated to help reverse prediabetes. It’s a frightening condition where breathing repeatedly stops throughout the night due to the relaxation of the throat muscles.
If you are unsure whether or not you experience sleep apnea, some signs include loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, daytime sleepiness and choking during sleep. Treatment often involves using an oral appliance that keeps the throat open during sleep.
2. Drink More Water
There are so many excellent benefits of drinking a lot of water. According to the Mayo Clinic, women should drink about 11.5 cups, and men should drink 15.5 cups of water per day.
Water helps reverse prediabetes by controlling blood glucose levels. So instead of drinking soda and juices, which are loaded with sugar, drink more water! If you can’t stand the boring old taste of water, try adding slices of lemon, orange or cucumber to create a refreshing, hydrating beverage.
1. Consult With a Dietitian
As you already know, diet plays a key role in reversing prediabetes. Consulting with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) is extremely helpful in deciding when and what you should eat. Everyone has different preferences and needs, so a dietitian can help you come up with a meal plan specific to you.
Related: 7 Common Signs That You May Have Diabetes