Could a plant-based diet help you with this?
Diabetes remains a big concern in the United States. Type 2 diabetes, or adult onset diabetes, is developed later in life when the body starts to resist – or fails to produce enough – insulin.
It’s commonly linked to excess body weight and limited physical activity. Those with type 2 diabetes may experience:
- Increased thirst or hunger
- Frequent urination
- Blurry vision
But even if you haven’t experienced any of these symptoms, you may still be at risk for diabetes.
“For those at risk or already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes,” says Dr. Sarah Swarts, endocrinologist at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay, Wis., “there is hope that your insulin levels may be stabilized with a healthy diet and exercise regimen.”
A recent study by JAMA Internal Medicine shows that a plant-based diet may not only help you lose weight, but also decrease your risk of developing diabetes. The study shows that those who incorporate plant-based foods into their diet see a 23% decrease in their risk for diabetes.
Plant-based diet? What’s that mean?
“A plant-based diet is just that – eating foods all or mostly derived from plants,” explains Dr. Swarts. “Sticking to a natural diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts helps you avoid processed foods. “
Try to avoid foods with refined grains, starches and sugars. Though refined grains, starches and sugars can be considered “plant-based”, they have been stripped of essential vitamins and minerals.
With such abundant access to processed foods, living a healthier lifestyle isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Dr. Swarts offers some tips to follow when sticking to a diet:
- Focus on the goal. Health is a strong motivator, especially when your own body is at risk. Replace your excuses to stray with reasons why you need to follow a diet plan.
- Find foods you love. If you don’t like certain foods there are plenty other healthy, delicious alternatives.
- Pack your own lunches. Make time for meal prep – whether it be at night before bed or in the morning. It’s easier to know what you’re putting in your body when you’re cooking it yourself.
- If you have a slip up or have a “cheat day” don’t let that be the end-all. One small bump in the road does not need to be the end of your journey. Help the slip-up motivate you to get back on track and on pace with your goals.
Want to learn more about your risk for diabetes? Take a free, quick online assessment by clicking here.
About the Author
Cali Nygren, health enews contributor, is a marketing intern for Aurora BayCare with a BA in business administration from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. In her spare time, you may find Cali cracking jokes, watching Marvel movies, and spending time with her friends and family.