Each year in the US, approximately 45,000 women die from breast cancer and a whopping 267,000 die from heart disease (so 6 x’s more than breast cancer). But is it heart disease we should be working to avoid or is there something else that contributes to a high percentage of heart disease in women? You guessed…yes, and it is called diabetes. A high percentage of women who die from heart disease have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Those with type 1 diabetes are born with it. Those with type 2 diabetes, which is far more common than type 1, bring it on by engaging in an unhealthy lifestyle. Type 2 diabetes is preventable and, therefore, you can also avoid unnecessary heart disease.
So, as it is better to deal with the root of an issue, let’s look at the two main lifestyle factors that contribute to diabetes.
- physically active less than 150 minutes/week or approximately 20 minutes/day
Let’s talk about what causes us to become overweight. In a nutshell, an excess of calories we do not expend in a day and then those excess calories are stored in fat cells. If your body’s current number of fat cells is already full, your body creates more fat cells to fill. This is the main reason it is more difficult to keep weight off than to lose it. The fat cells are already in your body but they’ve been depleted (when you lose the fat in the cell). Because they are already in your body, when you have an excess of calories which turns into fat again, it is easier to fill those already existing fat cells. This is a really important reason to not allow yourself – or your children – to become overweight, to begin with.
What foods turn into energy (or calories) the fastest? You guessed it – sugar or foods that convert to sugar quickly. Here are the 2 main categories of foods to avoid if you are trying to lose weight or greatly limit if you want to keep the weight off:
- all foods with sugar: pop, cookies, candies, packaged ‘snacks’, etc. Be sure to read the label when you buy prepared or packaged foods. Most of them are high in sugar. If you must have something sweet, opt for stevia or a little bit of maple syrup (slow release of sugars).
- flour, especially white flour: you might as well be eating straight sugar. This includes white bread, white pasta, etc.
Here are some great foods TO eat to help avoid or fight diabetes.
See, it’s not all bad! Who doesn’t like coffee and dark chocolate? If you need a little ‘something sweet’ after supper or on your coffee break, snap off a small square of dark chocolate and enjoy.
Mis organic extra-virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar (2 parts oil or vinegar) and drizzle on your salad.
Eat quinoa instead of rice.
Drink a couple of mugs of green tea every day.
Sprinkle cinnamon in your coffee or add the spice to your coffee grounds before brewing. It makes a yummy coffee and fights fat, to boot!
Chop up some almonds and walnuts and add them as a topping to your oatmeal or salad.
Eat cooked or cold peas (super yummy on your salad) every week.
Enjoy some East Indian food with fenugreek or drink fenugreek tea.
These food suggestions NOT to eat and TO eat are a great place to start. This is a big discussion and I will continue it in the next couple of blog posts.
To your health!