Contributor: Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDE, FAND
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and November 14th is World Diabetes Day. This is a perfect time to spread awareness about a topic that affects so many of us. It is estimated that there are 84 million adults who have prediabetes and over 30 million with diabetes in the United States. It is important to get examined and accurately diagnosed so you can follow an appropriate course of action.
Are you at risk for prediabetes/diabetes? Check out this link to take a quiz: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/takethetest/
Key steps to help decrease your risk:
- Eat right - enjoy regular meals, be mindful of portions, and balance your plate with lots of produce, some lean protein, whole grain carbs, and healthy fats.
- Move more - Physical activity plays an important role in helping decrease our risk for many health conditions. Did you know that exercise can help naturally lower your blood sugar? Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity 5 days per week. Remember that it does not have to be all at once. You can break it up into three 10 minute sessions or two 15 minute sessions depending upon your schedule and energy level.
- Schedule regular check-ups with your physician to monitor your blood work and closely monitor any trends.
- If you currently smoke - please get help to quit.
If you currently have diabetes or prediabetes, use this month to refocus on self-care. Here are a few strategies to get you started:
- Balance your carbs with protein, especially at snacks
- Be portion savvy, especially when it comes to carbs.
- Enjoy high fiber foods, especially soluble fiber (such as beans, lentils, oatmeal).
- Add heart-healthy fats, especially omega-3 rich foods such as salmon, tuna, walnuts, chia seeds on a regular basis.
- Pay attention to your skin, teeth, and eyes - get regular dental and vision exams.
- Try some new heart-healthy and diabetes-friendly recipes to keep your meals exciting.
- Consider joining a support group.
- Keep track of all your medications and lab reports.
Finally, take action and get involved in your community to promote diabetes awareness.
Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDE, FAND is on a mission to help people thrive with diabetes. She is the author of My Indian Table: Quick & Tasty Vegetarian Recipes. Vandana received her BS in Nutritional Science and Coordinated Dietetics and became a registered dietician nutritionist in 1997, and has been a certified diabetes educator since 2008. She is an active member of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), the California Dietetic Association (CDA), and is currently a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Learn more about her at vandanasheth.com.