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This post is written by UNL Dietetic Intern, Hailey Mitzel. 

Eat Well, America! November is American Diabetes Month

Every 19 seconds someone in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes affects nearly 30 million adults and children in the United States today. November is a reminder of the increasing prevalence of diabetes and how healthy foods can help in diabetes management.

This year’s theme for American Diabetes Month is “Eat Well, America.” Learn more about diabetes so you do not become another statistic.

So what is diabetes?

In the simplest form, as we consume food, the body breaks its contents down to glucose. Glucose is needed to fuel the brain and provide the body energy. The pancreas, an organ near the stomach, releases a hormone called insulin. When one has diabetes, their body either does not produce enough insulin, also called Type 1 diabetes, or their body does not properly use insulin, also called Type 2 Diabetes.

How can you prevent diabetes?

  1. Be Proactive: If left untreated diabetes can be harmful, but with lifestyle changes you can reduce complications or future diagnosis. Untreated diabetes causes an increase of sugar in the blood. This build up can cause damage to the eyes, kidneys, heart, skin, and nerves. Fight against these complications and be proactive today by scheduling a physical with your doctor.
  2. Increase physical activity: One of the best possible ways to reduce your risk for Type 2 diabetes is by being more active. By adding physical activity to your day and losing weight, you can decrease your risk of developing diabetes.
  3. Eat Well: People with diabetes are able to include many foods in their diet. By increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in regular meals throughout the day, you can help manage your blood sugar levels. Skipping meals causes fluctuation in blood sugar levels and increased hunger, which might lead to overeating. It is important to limit fats coming from animal products because that could potentially cause increased complications. This does not mean you have to exclude all saturated fat from your diet, just focus on moderation! Consume more healthy fats like nuts, fish, avocados, seeds, etc. These healthy fats can help control blood sugar and insulin levels.

As the American Diabetes Association celebrates its 75th anniversary, they will be posting nutritious recipes and tips for buying, preparing, serving, and eating healthy foods. If you have any questions or concerns about diabetes please seek your doctor or Registered Dietitian.

Hailey Mitzel is a dietetic intern at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln and guest blogger at Stirlist.com.

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