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Prediabetes

Superfoods to Reverse Prediabetes

Pre-diabetes is a medical condition where the blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered as Type 2 diabetes. In other words, it is the precursor to Type 2 diabetes. Although there are no clear symptoms experienced by individuals with prediabetes, there are several risk factors that increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Some of these include having high blood pressure and having an abnormal blood cholesterol level. And the only reliable method to diagnose this condition is through blood tests1 such as HbA1c, Fasting Blood Glucose (FBG) and Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT).


Normal

Prediabetes

Diabetes

Fasting Glucose

< 6.1 mmol/L

6.1 – 6.9 mmol/L

> 7.0 mmol/L


What should you do if you have Pre-diabetes?

1. Weight management

Being overweight increases the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes by seven times, while being obese makes you 20 to 40 times at a higher risk to develop diabetes than an individual with a healthy weight (i.e., BMI of 18.5 to 22.9 kg/m2)2.

2. Stay Active

A sedentary lifestyle, especially one that is spent watching television for long periods is the most detrimental form of inactivity. For instance, every two hours spent watching TV rather than performing any physical activity increases the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes by 20%, cardiovascular disease by 15%, and premature death by 13%3. Unhealthy snacking associated with TV watching may also explain this relationship. Hence, rather than snacking on unhealthy snacks, consider healthier and organic snacks that can improve satiety, such as sacha inchi seedssweet cacao nibs, and quinoa puffs. Organic snacks such as organic dried incan golden berries, dried figs, and dried apricots are also great alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Inactivity promotes Type 2 diabetes. Hence, start working your muscles more often to promote their ability to use insulin and absorb glucose efficiently. Physical activity also reduces the stress put on your insulin-making cells4. Rejoice, as you do not need to do long bouts of hot and sweaty exercise to reap this benefit. Based on the findings from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, it was suggested that a daily half-hour (30-min) brisk walking session can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 30%5. Aside from lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes, exercise also provides other benefits such as improved cardiovascular health.

Healthier Eating Habits

1. Choose wholegrains

Evidence has indicated that a diet rich in wholegrains and superfood grains and seeds like organic quinoa seeds, brown rice, oats, and the likes reduces one’s risk of developing diabetes. For instance, based on the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II, it was observed that individuals who consume 2 to 3 servings of wholegrains a day were 30% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who rarely consume wholegrains6. Furthermore, it was observed that individuals who eat an extra 2 servings of wholegrains daily lowered their risk of Type 2 diabetes by 21%.

2. Skip the sugary drinks

Based on research, every additional can of sugary beverage (i.e., 330 mL) that people drink each day increases their risk of Type 2 diabetes by 25%. This is attributable to weight gain from the consumption of sugary beverage7.

Plain water is a great choice to drink in place of sugary beverages. Alternatively, you can also consider coffee and tea as long as you do not add excessive amounts of sugar and creamer. If some sweetness is preferred, you can consider adding some yacon root syrup, which is a low-calorie natural sweetener. A healthy type of sugar alternative, yacon root syrup provides a pleasant caramel-like flavour and has a beneficial effect on our gut.

3. Choose good fats

Good fats such as monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fats that are found in oils such as olive oil, canola oil, chia seed oil, and nuts and seeds like sacha inchi seeds and black chia seeds can help to ward off Type 2 diabetes8.

Taking Steps Towards Reversing Prediabetes

It is never too late to take steps and measures for prediabetes reversal. By making some changes to your lifestyle and eating habits, your risk towards Type 2 diabetes can be reduced significantly even though you may already be pre-diabetic.


References


  1. Ministry of Health Singapore. 2019. Understanding Prediabetes: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment. Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/a-z/diseases-and-conditions/730/Understanding-Prediabetes-Signs-Symptoms-and-Treatment. [Accessed 21 April 2021] 


  1. Hu FB, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, Colditz G, Liu S, Solomon CG, Willett WC. 2001. Diet, lifestyle, and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in women. New England journal of medicine. 345(11), 790-797.


  1. Grøntved A, Hu FB. 2011. Television viewing and risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 305(23), 2448-2455.


  1. Rana JS, Li TY, Manson JE, Hu FB. 2007. Adiposity compared with physical inactivity and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Diabetes care. 30(1), 53-58.


  1. Tanasescu M, Leitzmann MF, Rimm EB, Hu FB. 2003. Physical activity in relation to cardiovascular disease and total mortality among men with type 2 diabetes. Circulation. 2003. 107(19), 2435-2439.


  1. de Munter JS, Hu FB, Spiegelman D, Franz M, van Dam RM. 2007. Whole grain, bran, and germ intake and risk of type 2 diabetes: a prospective cohort study and systematic review. PLoS medicine. 4(8), e261.


  1. Malik VS, Popkin BM, Bray GA, Després JP, Willett WC, Hu FB. 2010. Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. Diabetes care. 33(11), 2477-2483.


  1. Havard T.H. Chan. 2021. Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/disease-prevention/diabetes-prevention/preventing-diabetes-full-story/.. [Accessed 22 April 2021].

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