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Seniors living with prediabetes

Question: My mother is pre-diabetic and has begun changing her eating habits along with walking & exercising. Besides cutting out processed food, bad carbs and sugar, are their any other tips that she could look into and start adding to her daily or weekly routine? I've read for example that Apple Cider Vinegar could help as well as drinking lemon in water. Any information or tips would be greatly appreciated!

Answer: First of all, thank you for your question. Prediabetes is an important issue to address.According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, in 2005-2008,  79 million Americans aged 20 years or older with prediabetes.

Prediabetes is defined as a fasting blood sugar between 100-125, or a post meal blood sugar between 140-200. Basically, it means your body is struggling to manage its blood sugars already, and if you don’t do something about, it will continue to worsen and may eventually be labeled as Type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes in seniors, I believe, is often a function of age. Your body just can’t do its job as well anymore. Prediabetes in kids, young adults, or middle-age adults is often caused by poor lifestyle habits such as poor food choices and eating habits, and lack of physical activity. If this is the case, changing your lifestyle and losing 5-10% of your body weight may cut your risk for Type 2 diabetes in half.

Making healthy food choices and having a healthy, consistent eating pattern are the best things you can do nutritionally to prevent diabetes. Choose whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products to fill your diet. Eat small frequent meals. Large meals spike your blood sugars more and burnout what ability your body has left to manage its blood sugars. Limit junk foods, and foods that are high in fat and sugar, both in portion and frequency.

Accompany your healthy eating with more physical activity. 150 minutes of exercise per week is typically recommended. This may sound like a lot, but this can be cut into 5 –30 minute walks throughout the week. If 30 minutes is more time than you can afford at once, break it into 3-10 minute increments. You will still get benefits from the activity.

There are claims out there about natural “cures” and supplements for blood sugar management. Prediabetes is not “reversible,” but it can be easily managed and the progressions to Type 2 diabetes can be prevented. While some dietary supplements have research to back up their blood sugar-lowering potential, these supplements, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice are not going to have anywhere near the effect that the healthy eating, increased activity, and resulting weight loss will.

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