Are you overweight? Do you have a family history of diabetes? Or do you have an unhealthy lifestyle with a poor diet and less physical activity? Then it is important to learn about prediabetes and the effective home remedies to manage the condition naturally, for you are at an increased risk of pre diabetes. But why do you need to act now at the stage of prediabetes? Because diabetes is harder to live with than prediabetes. Therefore it is wise to learn how to manage prediabetes so you may prevent or delay diabetes. Read on to learn five important strategies to manage prediabetes. You will also learn how to manage prediabetes with diet and without medication. We have also compiled a few useful tips to help in pre diabetes management.
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a health condition that occurs when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
Blood sugar levels chart
|HbA1C||Fasting Blood Sugar||Random Glucose / Glucose Tolerance Test|
|Normal||Below 5.7%||99 mg/dL or less||140 mg/dL or less|
|Prediabetes||5.7 – 6.4%||100-125 mg/dL||140-199 mg/dL|
|Diabetes||6.5% or above||126 mg/dL or more||200 mg/dL or more|
Prediabetes usually doesn’t cause symptoms, so many people may not know they have it. However, with early detection and appropriate management, it is possible to prevent or delay the occurrence of type 2 diabetes.
Why do you need to manage prediabetes?
Prediabetes is essentially a warning sign. If left untreated, prediabetes can quickly progress to type 2 diabetes, which can cause several complications, including nerve damage, kidney damage, vision loss, and cardiovascular disease.
By managing prediabetes, you can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its associated complications. Also, controlling the condition with pre-diabetes home remedies can improve your overall health and quality of life by reducing the risk of other chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Who gets prediabetes – The risk factors
You are at risk for prediabetes if you:
- Are overweight
- Have more visceral fat (more weight around the abdomen)
- Have a waist larger than 40 inches if a man and larger than 35 inches if a woman
- Are 45 years or older
- Have a parent, sister, or brother with type 2 diabetes
- Are physically less active
- Have ever had gestational diabetes
- Are a Black, Hispanic, Asian American, or American Indian
- Have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Have smoking habit
If you have two or more of these risk factors, monitoring blood sugar levels often is important.
Five effective home remedies to manage prediabetes naturally
Listening to your body is vital to catch diseases early. Having two or more risk factors, and symptoms, such as tiredness, hard focusing, reduced productivity at work, increased hunger, increased thirst, etc., are warning signs you must trigger immediate preventive home remedies to manage pre diabetes.
We have discussed five effective strategies to help you manage prediabetes naturally and further prevent it from progressing to type 2 diabetes.
1. Managing prediabetes with diet
Hands down, nutrition is the most important thing in managing prediabetes. Diet plays a hugely important role, and there are some crucial things to take care of when managing pre diabetes with diet.
i) Portion control
Eating smaller meals prevents blood sugar spikes, helps your body use carb energy effectively, and promotes weight loss. Instead of three square meals, you can have six smaller meals.
ii) Importance of a prediabetes diet plan
Having a prediabetes meal plan is crucial for maintaining blood sugar at optimal levels, the key aspect of managing prediabetes. To plan the correct prediabetes diet, you must know what foods to include and foods to avoid. Also, knowing an approximate estimate of calories, carbs, protein and fats in each meal help greatly.
iii) Foods to include
A prediabetes management diet must be balanced, comprising healthy carbs, proteins, fibre and healthy fats.
Aim to include:
- Simple carbs raise blood sugar quickly. So, include healthy carbs such as whole grains, legumes and low-fat dairy
- Research shows that both soluble and insoluble fibre help in prediabetes management. So include vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and whole grains, rich in fibre.
- heart-healthy fish such as sardines and salmons
- healthy fats such as olive oil and avocados
iv) Foods to avoid
Avoiding bad foods is equally important as including good foods when managing prediabetes with diet. Key foods to avoid are:
- Processed foods, high in sodium, sugar, saturated fats, and trans fats
- High-fat dairy
- Animal proteins, such as beef, hot dogs, bacon
- Limit saturated fats such as those found in coconut
- Bakery products, high in trans fats
- Limit egg yolk, liver, and other organ meats, which are high in cholesterol
- Limit sodium – no more than 2300 mg per day
Proteins are an essential micronutrient but aim to get them from plant-based protein as they are healthier.
2. Exercise routines for pre diabetes management
Exercise requires increased utilisation of sugar in the bloodstream. It also improves insulin sensitivity, another key factor in managing pre diabetes. So, an exercise routine is essential to keep blood sugar at optimal levels and manage prediabetes.
Exercises plan for prediabetes include both aerobics and strength training. An effective strategy should consist of,
- 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week or 75 minutes of intense aerobics per week. Walking is low-intensity, speed walking and interval jogging are moderate, and cycling, rowing, and running are high-intensity aerobics examples.
- strength training for two or more days
3. Maintaining a healthy weight
Many studies show that a healthy weight is crucial in managing prediabetes. Weight management can prevent not only diabetes but also other associated risks, such as cardiovascular disease. In addition, a modest weight loss in obese individuals finds improved HbA1C and Fasting Plasma Glucose.
Limiting portion sizes, mindful eating, a balanced diet, and exercise contribute to maintaining a healthy weight.
4. Manage stress
The body releases adrenergic and catecholamine hormones in response to stress and anxiety. Studies prove these hormones would affect insulin sensitivity, insulin release and glucose levels. So keeping yourself cool in times of stress is important to manage prediabetes and prevent diabetes.
Practising yoga, mindfulness meditation, getting sunlight, getting good sleep, massage, and aromatherapy are proven techniques to bring down stress levels. Additionally, engaging in hobbies, volunteering for your community, and spending time with loved ones also help you de-stress.
You can also take professional help such as therapy or counselling if you find it difficult to manage stress.
5. Quit smoking
Everyone knows cigarette smoking is bad for health, but did you know it can also lead to diabetes?
Nicotine changes cells so they don’t respond to insulin, making you insulin resistant. Also, smoking harms beta-cells in the pancreas, reducing insulin release. So it is crucial you quit smoking if you want to manage prediabetes without medication.
Tips to help stop smoking:
- Set a quit date, share it with friends and family, and also keep telling yourself that you will quit on the date
- Try cold-turkey method
- Avoid triggers such as alcohol and caffeine
- Consider nicotine replacement therapies
- Connect with support groups
Other tips for managing pre diabetes and preventing diabetes
- Use the Plate method for every meal. Fill half-plate with non-starchy vegetables, 1/4th with lean protein, and 1/4th with complex carbs.
- Even if you don’t track other nutrients on your plate, tracking carbs is essential as they cause blood sugar spikes.
- Choose foods with a low glycemic index, as they help release glucose in the bloodstream slowly.
- Consider using Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) to understand how your body responds to different kinds of food.
- Self-monitoring blood glucose every few days will help you understand how well your plans work and if you need changes in diet or exercise.
The bottom line
It is called Pre diabetes. But don’t let the “Pre” fool you! Prediabetes is a big deal because it is your chance to prevent diabetes. Managing prediabetes without medication by following a healthy diet and other lifestyle changes is very much possible. And once your blood sugar levels reach the optimal range, it won’t be hard to maintain. So act now, educate yourself on how to manage prediabetes and put it to good use. You will be glad you did it!