Diabetes is becoming one of the most widespread chronic diseases affecting millions of people with healthcare costs soaring to billions of dollars. The good news is that by choosing proper nutrition and boosting one’s metabolism as well as timing one’s physical activity can help those with type 2 diabetes to manage and control their condition.
Typically a poor diet with poor lifestyle choices result in type 2 diabetes. Greasy and sugary carbohydrates along with long hours of sitting at work or in front of the TV result in a pattern of continuous weight gain. Food we eat is broken down to sugar molecules and carried by the hormone insulin to the cells of the body. However when we eat too much high calorie foods and we have excess sugar and insulin present in the blood, eventually it can lead to insulin resistance – when that happens, insulin cannot bind properly to the glucose molecules and cannot unlock the door to the cells – therefore the cells no longer respond effectively to the hormone insulin and cannot uptake glocose. This is the condition known as type 2 diabetes and results in problems in regulation of blood sugar concentration. The excess sugar molecules are not used by the cells for burning energy but are instead stored away as fat.
When you stay active with light moderate activity such as walking, jogging, swimming or gardening, you are better able to maintain your blood glucose levels – that is because the muscles will need the glucose and take it up from your bloodstream and they don’t care at all if there is insulin present or not. In fact when you exercise regularly, the insulin resistance syndrome also goes down and cells are more effectively able to uptake the glucose molecules from the blood. However, we do want to make sure that the blood glucose level is in a good range before starting to exercise and in fact it is most recommended for diabetic patients to exercise about 30 minutes a day but after taking a meal.
Research study in Diabetologia establishes that walking and other physical activity can help manage type 2 diabetes based on the timing of the physical activity. The study had subjects walk for a half hour within 5 minutes of taking a meal. During the course of the experiment the subjects had maintained their nutritional intake. The study found that exercising after eating resulted in significantly lower blood glucose levels. One of the immediate benefits is the reduced need to take insulin for those who suffer from type 2 diabetes.
After gradually developing some fitness level, one can also engage in light to moderate strength training as that helps to build up more muscle. Light weight lifting will gradually help to increase lean muscle mass and having more of it is great because more muscles equal to more glucose being used up from the bloodstream!
Additionally, besides avoiding greasy food rich in bad cholesterol and with high fructose content, diabetic patients should eat more complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, oats, nuts and more natural sugars, such as found in dates and in varieties of fruits as well as leafy green vegetables. These complex foods release sugar into the bloodstream much more slowly and therefore help manage sugar spiking.