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    Diabetes (Blood Sugar)


    Understanding Diabetes

    Diabetes is a disease caused by high blood sugar or glucose in our body. Blood sugar or glucose is a major source of energy that comes from the food we eat. A hormone called Insulin helps break down the glucose to energize the cells. But sometimes the body stops making enough insulin to break down the glucose or stops making insulin altogether. So, the glucose stays in the blood and doesn’t get consumed by the cells, leading to high blood sugar. Over time, having too much glucose in the body starts causing various health problems. Diabetes has no cure but there are steps that can help us manage diabetes and stay healthy.

    While the condition can be genetic, diabetes is also among the most common lifestyle diseases causes by unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle. There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2.

    • First, it can be genetic. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics where the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to break down the blood sugar into energy. It’s usually acquired at birth or during childhood and hence referred to juvenile diabetes.
    • Secondly, it can be related to your lifestyle. Type 2 diabetes is caused by unhealthy living and diet.
    • There is yet another condition called gestational diabetes. It develops during pregnancy in women who are not diabetic. Usually, gestational diabetes recedes after delivery but there is some risk of the condition developing into Type 2 diabetes in future.

    Symptoms of Diabetes

    Diabetes can be controlled with timely diagnosis. While the disease itself has no cure, there are effective ways of managing diabetes with proper health and wellness coaching. However, stopping or neglecting your diabetes management routine or getting back to a sedentary lifestyle can lead to return of the symptoms.

    The most common symptoms of high blood sugar include,

    • Feeling more thirsty than usual
    • Frequent urges to urinate, especially during the night
    • Frequent pangs of hunger
    • Sudden weight loss
    • Feeling of weakness and lethargy
    • Compromised vision
    • Slow recovery from wounds and sores.
    • Numbness or tingly feeling in fingers and toes
    • Irritability and frequent mood swings

    Causes of Diabetes

    Different types of diabetes will have different causes.

    While the exact cause of Type 1 diabetes is unknown, some studies suggest that it’s because the body’s immune system starts attacking the insulin. Apart from genetics side effects from another disease or underlying body condition may also affect insulin production in the body. On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes can be caused due to numerous reasons – which are all related to lifestyle. However, it’s still unknown why some people develop diabetes while others do not, even when having similar lifestyle.

    Obesity

    Being overweight or obese is often associated with unhealthy eating and lifestyle. Excessive body weight means having higher fat deposit in your body. The fat can stick around the cells and prevent insulin from getting attached to the cell membrane and open way for sugar to enter inside and break down into energy.

    Sedentary Life

    It means when you are spending most of your time sitting or lying down. Without physical activity your body will start accumulating fat which in turn will cause weight gain and obesity. In time, the excess fat will start creating blockage against insulin, as explained above.

    Genetics

    If someone from your family is diabetic or if there is a family history of being diabetic since generations then there are more chances of you developing the condition.

    Ageing

    While diabetes also affects younger people and kids due to other reasons, ageing can be a cause too. As people age, they tend become less active, lose muscle mass and gain weight. Older people also suffer from different medical conditions that may contribute to spikes in blood sugar levels.

    High Blood Pressure

    Having high blood pressure or other cardiovascular conditions has also been connected to developing the risk of diabetes due to medication and diet related reasons.

    Insulin Resistance

    In some people the body is unable to utilize insulin effectively. To counter this, the body starts producing more insulin. But after some time, the pancreas become overwhelmed due to continued insulin resistance, leading to high blood sugar level.

    Ways to maintain Blood Sugar or Diabetes

    Whether you are trying to fight existing diabetes or chances of having diabetes, there are ways to take control of your blood sugar, here’s how:

    • Exercise - Doing regular exercise has many benefits for diabetics. Firstly, it boosts insulin sensitivity. Secondly, it helps reduce weight which is one of the main causes of high blood sugar. Thirdly, it cuts down body fat that can act as barrier for insulin to work on cells.
    • Avoid Unhealthy diet - Avoid fatty, sugary and high-carb foods. Also skip processed food which contains lot of unwanted fat and carbs. Stocking fat and sugar components in body will put more pressure on the body to utilize it. In case of people with insulin resistance this will immediately result in blood sugar spikes.
    • Eat Super Foods - Eat food that helps fight against diabetes. Include food that contains fiber, vitamin D, complex carbs, good fat like MUFA and omega 3. Eating lots of fruits, green and leafy vegetables, whole grain foods, beans, oats, etc. is advised.
    • Stick to Routine - Just eating the right food is not enough. It is also important to eat in correct manner. Eating too much in one go will suddenly spike the sugar levels. Cut down on portion size. Eat after every 2-3 hours but in smaller quantity. Small portions will ensure that the sugar is released slowly and absorbed accordingly.
    • Lose Weight - Check your BMI, if you are in the obese or overweight category try healthy weight management with proper coaching. Obese people carry excess weight around abdominal organs like liver. The fat creates inflammation and insulin resistance which are among the prime reasons behind diabetes.
    • Drink more Water - Switch water with any kind of beverages. All beverages that are available in the market are loaded with sugar. You do not want to have excess intake of sugar when fighting against the risk of diabetes. High water consumption has proven to result in elevated insulin response and better sugar control.
    • Change your Lifestyle - Exercising just once a day is not enough. Cultivate habits that bring you out of the comfort zone and sedentary lifestyle. Stay active, especially after eating food. Once digestion of food starts, it releases sugar. Being inactive will reduce your body’s need for energy and allow the sugar to accumulate. Take a small walk after each meal or do small chores to ensure the energy is being utilized. Sitting for long hours or sleeping right after eating will make you fat and prone to diabetes.

    Healthy foods for Blood Sugar or Diabetes Management

    Maintaining the right eating habits is winning half the battle against diabetes. Foods that have low glycemic index (GI) and low glycemic load (GL) are best suited for diabetics. Food with low GI and GL release sugars slowly into the blood. This helps manage blood sugar and its consumption.

    • Fruits - Fruits are good for diabetics except few which have high GI or GL, like melons, pineapple, overly ripe bananas, figs, mangoes, cherries, lychees, sapodilla, etc. Try to consume fruits in their fresh, natural form. Fruits that have high fiber content and antioxidants like berries, peaches, apples, apricots, oranges, pears, kiwi, etc. are best for diabetics. Avoid fruits which are processed or candied.
    • Vegetables - Veggies that have low carbs, starch and sugars are always good for diabetics. Most vegetables are full of nutrients, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, leafy greens, zucchini, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, and beans top the list of healthy vegetables for maintaining blood sugar.
    • Whole Grains - Grains can be eaten in many forms but they are most beneficial when eaten whole which includes eating the bran containing fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. When a grain is refined it loses most of its health benefits. Whole grains contain carbohydrates which give us energy and have fiber that keeps our stomach fuller for longer. Whole grains lower the risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
    • Nuts - Nuts are nutrient rich foods that can help in effective diabetes control. The unsaturated fats in nuts help in many important functions like protecting organs and promoting cell growth. Along with proteins, nuts contain fiber, folate, minerals, carotenoids, antioxidants, and thiamine. The nuts that are super beneficial for diabetics are almonds, walnuts, cashews, and pistachios.
    • Eggs - Eggs are another super food for diabetics as they have low carbohydrates and glycemic index. Eggs are also loaded with proteins. However, overweight people with high blood sugar should avoid the cholesterol rich egg yolk.
    • Good Fat Sources - There are two kinds of fats - good fats and bad fats. Good fats like monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) like omega 3 should be included in the diet because they maintain healthy weight and fight cholesterol deposit in veins, arteries, and cells. Olives, avocados, walnuts, and healthy fishes like salmon are sources of good fat. On the other hand, bad fats are saturated and trans. They hardly bring any benefits and should be avoided.

    Coaching for Diabetes Management

    Diabetes has been a common disease for long; people know about it. But when a person is diagnosed, it may lead to shock and confusion. Suffering from diabetes or living in the fear of diabetes can be life-altering but remember life does not end with diabetes. Having diabetes doesn’t mean you need to stop eating everything you once liked. It is just a matter of balancing out and doing things that will benefit you and assist you in fighting against this life-long disease.

    With help from a health and wellness coach you can overcome this disease. A health coach first understands your lifestyle before leading the way with holistic blood sugar management techniques.

    How can health and wellness coaches help with diabetes care?

    Where a doctor can simply prescribe medication and some guidelines for diabetes management, a health coach helps you chalk out a plan for lifetime diabetes care, which includes:

    • Identifying the root cause behind your rising blood sugar levels
    • Performing a personalized body evaluation and assigning a holistic health score
    • Creating a nutrition plan that caters to your special needs for blood sugar management
    • Anchoring healthy lifestyle habits that are based on scientific studies and evidence
    • Creating a personalized workout plan that does not feel like a chore/punishment
    • Imparting lifestyle skills that enable long term blood sugar control through behavioral adjustments
    • Assisting with the emotional impact of chronic illnesses like diabetes
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    Preeti and her team are doing groundbreaking work in personal health management and preventing lifestyle diseases in India. Preeti Rao’s key professional accolades include:
    • Integrative Health Expert, USA
    • Worksite Wellness Expert, USA
    • Integrative Health & Wellness Coach & Consultant, USA
    • 20 + National and International Experience in leading Integrative Health Centers, Hospitals, Corporates and Insurance Companies
    • Former Reebok Brand Ambassador, India.
    • Former Health & Wellness Coach & Expert at Max Hospitals World
    • Winner of “Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur- Health” Award, ASSOCHAM
    • Presenter, speaker and panelist in leading TV Channels, Industry Events and Conference
    • Best Wellness Coach India, ICF (India Coaching Federation) under Navi Mumbai Chamber of Commerce
    • Managing Director, Delhi Chapter, India Coaching Federation
    • Recognised as Top 50 Health and Wellness Entrepreneur India, Times Group

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    “Change does not happen over night. Change is a process. There are no magic pills or medications that can completely eradicate your health and wellness concerns.

    Together in partnership, we eradicate the root cause of disease and reduce the changes of it recurring by making lifestyle behavioural changes that last a lifetime” – Preeti Rao

    *Individual results vary. Specific Outcomes may not occur.

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