How to Prevent Diabetes from Developing in Older Adults
World Diabetes Day is on the 14th of this month, which means it’s the ideal time to spread awareness about this serious health condition. For those who may not know, diabetes causes higher than normal glucose levels that we obtain from our food. Our bodies produce a hormone called insulin that processes our glucose levels to create energy. When our bodies do not produce this insulin fast enough, they can’t process blood sugar levels properly – which can be life-threatening, especially for older adults with other existing health conditions.
Crucial to act now, as there are many ways to prevent diabetes from developing in seniors. In this article, our short-term rehab specialists in NJ will go over some diabetes prevention tips in detail.
Diabetes prevention tips for seniors
- Enhance your diet. A healthy and nutritious diet is one of the most effective things you can do to help prevent diabetes. This is because it not only nourishes your body and mind, it keeps blood sugar levels stable so that the system isn’t under pressure from a high influx of sugars. It’s best to stay away from sugar and processed food and eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein, and wholegrain carbohydrates.
- Go plant-based. Plant-based vegetarian and vegan diets are very good at controlling blood sugar to prevent diabetes and other health conditions – and they are tasty too! Try to slowly introduce plant-based foods into your week, trying out new cooking styles, and prioritizing heart-friendly foods. Even just a few plant-based meals per week can make a big difference!
- Control your portions. Everything in moderation is key for preventing diabetes – and it’s a good maxim to live by because it doesn’t mean you have to avoid the food you love. For example, you may love fries, but your heart doesn’t – so try to have a small portion of fries maybe every 2 weeks. Or you might love chocolate, so you can have a brownie, but limit yourself to one small brownie and treat yourself every few weeks.
- Increase your fiber. High-fiber foods take more time to digest, so they release sugar in a slower, more controlled fashion. Diets rich in fiber can also help prevent other health conditions like colorectal cancer, hemorrhoids, and constipation. Ideally, you should have 25-30g of fiber, which can be found in leafy green vegetables, wholegrain cereals and bread, brown rice, beans, and fruit.
- Start exercising –Everyone should have at least 30 minutes of exercise per day to process glucose, control blood sugar levels, and support heart health. It’s best to choose something you enjoy, as this is easier to stick to. Think of nature walks, chair yoga, dancing, gardening, and water aerobics, and find someone you can exercise with!
- Limit alcohol, quit smoking –Smoking and alcohol have very bad effects on your heart and circulatory system, clogging arteries, causing blood sugar levels to spike, and affecting the performance of your heart, kidneys, and liver. If you smoke, it’s best to try to quit. If you drink alcohol, then you can quit or stick to the national guidelines of no more than 2 drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.
Preventing and controlling diabetes in seniors is an essential part of maintaining a full, healthy, and happy life – which is something the team at Bristol Glen is all about! If you’d like more information on our assisted living community and how we can manage health conditions in older adults, please get in touch with our short-term rehab team in New Jersey or take a look at our website here