Diabetes disproportionately affects older adults, and recent studies have shown that around 25 percent of the senior population currently has this metabolic disease. Even though diabetes can be devastating, it is often reversible with proper diet and a few lifestyle changes. Here are a few tips older adults can use to avoid this serious health condition.
Perform Regular Blood Tests
Seniors may not be able to come up with a good prevention plan until they know exactly how their bodies respond to certain foods. If your loved one hasn’t been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, have his or her blood tested once every few weeks. Seniors who have issues with their insulin levels might need to test their blood as often as once every two or three days. As soon as you notice any abnormalities, you must immediately contact your loved one’s doctor for further testing.
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Stay at a Healthy Weight
Obesity doesn’t directly cause type 2 diabetes, but being overweight increases the risk of developing this condition. Maintaining a slight caloric deficit is one of the best ways to safely and consistently lose weight. To lose a few pounds a week, your loved one will most likely need to reduce his or her daily caloric intake and start an exercise program. Seniors who are having a difficult time losing weight should speak with a dietitian or trainer about designing a rigid meal plan they can then tweak to maintain healthy insulin levels.
Avoid Processed Grains and Sugar
The human body requires carbohydrates, but seniors who have diabetes or prediabetes need to be very careful where their carbs come from. Complex carbohydrates that slowly release energy are much healthier than processed grains that spike insulin levels. Your loved one also needs to be wary of eating foods that contain processed sugar. Sweet treats like candy bars and soda put an incredible amount of strain on the pancreas and kidneys.
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Cook with Healthy Fats and Oils
According to the American Diabetes Association, eating healthy fats is one of the most effective ways to stabilize insulin levels. Healthy fats can be found in a wide variety of foods including tuna, mackerel, nuts, legumes, mayonnaise, and avocados. When cooking with oil, your loved one should avoid highly processed products that have been made from corn, rapeseeds, or soybeans. As an alternative, he or she can use avocado, walnut, or flaxseed oil.
Eat Plenty of Fresh Vegetables
The most important food group in your loved one’s diet should be fresh produce. Even frozen vegetables are much healthier than complex carbohydrates and sugar-laden snacks. When shopping for produce, your loved one should try to find many different types of vegetables. Leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach are packed with the nutrients the organs need. Many root vegetables are nutrient-dense as well, but you should make sure your loved one isn’t eating too much starch.
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