Prediabetes is a condition of high blood glucose levels than normal glucose levels. If you are a pre-diabetic, there are chances that you can develop diabetes type-2. However, with some precautions, you can reverse your Prediabetes and live a healthy life. The most effective ways to reverse Prediabetes are diet control and regular exercise. The correct diet for Prediabetes helps in controlling the sugar and carbs intake. Exercises help in regulating the body functions to treat insulin resistance for managing blood sugar levels. Read this blog to know ways to reverse Prediabetes with the help of diet and regular exercise.
Prediabetes is the initial stage of diabetes. Around 15% to 30% of people with Prediabetes develop diabetes type-2 within few years. However, the good news is that people with Prediabetes can avoid the development of diabetes type-2. They need to focus on their diet and exercise to reverse Prediabetes. The efforts to reverse Prediabetes are as simple for anyone trying to live a healthy lifestyle.
What is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is the condition when a person has blood sugar levels higher than the normal range. However, it is not enough to be diabetes type-2. Negligence of Prediabetes can result in diabetes type-2, diabetes-related heart problems, kidney damage, and stroke. A person develops Prediabetes due to insulin resistance.
Risk Factors For Prediabetes
Prediabetes often do not show clear signs and symptoms for years until a person develops a severe health issue. Therefore, you should talk to your doctor and monitor your blood sugar levels if you have the risk factors. The risk of developing Prediabetes increases if:
- You are 45 years or older
- You are overweight
- Your are Suffering From gestational diabetes
- You have a family history of diabetes type-2
- You have a sedentary lifestyle with no or little physical activities
Diagnosis of Prediabetes
People at risk of developing Prediabetes or who have any symptoms need to consult their doctors for a blood sugar test. It helps them to know their blood sugar levels and diagnose Prediabetes.
The standard way to diagnose Prediabetes is the blood test. The two types of blood tests for diagnosing Prediabetes are:
- Fasting blood test: It is a kind of blood test that requires the patient to fast overnight or for at least 8-10 hours. This test measures your blood glucose levels at any given point of time when you are empty stomach. If you have fasting blood glucose levels of 99 mg/dL or lower, you are on the safer side. The fasting blood sugar levels between 100 and 125 mg/dL indicate that you are a pre-diabetic.
- Haemoglobin A1C blood test: It is a non-fasting blood sugar test. It measures an average amount of blood glucose levels over the past 2-3 months. The Hb A1C blood test results under 5.7% indicate your blood sugar levels are normal. However, you are a pre-diabetic if your blood test results are between 5.7% and 6.4%. Any value of the test results from more than 6.4% shows you have diabetes.
Exercise and Diet go Together to Reverse Prediabetes
Exercise is an integral part of any healthy lifestyle. People who want to live a healthy life can easily understand the importance of exercise. They also understand well that neither exercise nor diet alone can help them achieve their healthy lifestyle goal. Exercise and diet go together to help them live healthy lives. Exercise and diet together are equally more significant for people with Prediabetes.
Importance of Exercise to Reverse Prediabetes
Exercise is an essential part of managing diabetes and reversing Prediabetes along with keeping up your health. It gives you several additional benefits in different ways. Some of the benefits of exercising for people with Prediabetes are:
- Exercise promotes better blood glucose levels and keeps your energy levels high.
- It helps in managing their weight and improving insulin sensitivity.
- Exercise burns down extra calories that contribute to increasing your weight.
- It promotes the blood flow in your body to maintain the optimum functioning of the body organs.
Experts suggest that even a few physical activities or at least 30 minutes of exercise do well to your body in managing blood glucose levels.
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Exercises for Prediabetes
The purpose of exercise for Prediabetes is to improve physical activity. You can pick any aerobic exercise, strength training exercise, or stretching exercise and do it daily for at least 20-30 minutes. Aerobic exercise helps you to manage Prediabetes. It helps in improving your physical activeness. It also helps in regulating blood sugar levels and improving the insulin sensitivity of your body.
Generally, low-impact exercises are best for people with Prediabetes. It helps them to gradually control their blood sugar levels without causing nerve damage or injuries. Some best workouts for people with Prediabetes are:
- Aerobic exercise: Aerobic exercise involves the movements of your hands and legs in a rhythmic motion. It helps in increasing your breathing capacity and heartbeat in a controlled manner. Hence, it improves your cardiorespiratory fitness. Practicing aerobic exercises reduce A1C levels and improve insulin resistance. Aerobic exercises are low-intensity exercises. It includes dancing, swimming, biking, jogging, brisk walking.
- Strength training: Strength training exercises help in making your body more insulin sensitive. Therefore, it lowers your blood sugar levels. This type of exercise includes wall push-ups, arm circles, squats, weight lifting, and lunges. If you don’t know how to do these exercises, take help from a fitness trainer. You don’t need to have any special equipment for strength training exercises.
- Stretching exercises: Stretching exercises are an essential part of the workout programs for Prediabetes. A 20-minutes stretching exercise regularly, after the meals, helps in lowering your blood sugar levels. Stretch your hamstring muscles, calf muscles, and shoulders. A large group of muscles is the target in stretching exercises. It promotes blood flow in your body and improves flexibility of your body. It reduces exercise-related injuries in people with Prediabetes.
Precautions to Take During Exercise For Prediabetes
Not all types of exercise are suitable for people with diabetes or Prediabetes. They need to take help from their fitness trainer to design the best workout plan for them. Here is a list of some precautions to take during the exercise:
- Drink water before, during, and after exercise. It helps you to stay hydrated and regulate the blood sugar levels in your body.
- Your blood sugar levels can drop significantly on doing some exercises whereas, your blood sugar level goes up during strength training exercises. Thus, you need to monitor your blood glucose levels before and after all the exercise routines. It helps you to know the response of different workouts on your blood sugar levels.
- Immediately stop the exercise if you have any of the following symptoms during exercise:
- Chest discomfort
- A rapid increase in the heartbeat
- Unusual shortness of breath
- Sudden weakness
- Make sure that you have eaten something before starting work out.
- Do not start with an intense workout. Start slowly and take baby steps before increasing your time duration and intensity of the exercises.
- Take care of your feet. Diabetic neuropathy or nerve damage often happens to people with diabetes or Prediabetes. Thus, make sure you exercise under supervision and avoid injuries.
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Importance of Diet For Prediabetes
It is a challenge for your body to maintain the blood regulation system of your body by consuming lots of sugar and a large number of carbs. In this way, you can gain weight and start eating more than your body needs. It increases insulin resistance in your body. As a result, the pancreas in your body produces more insulin to keep your blood sugar levels in the normal range.
In people with Prediabetes, insulin resistance is high. Thus, insulin can’t move in your blood cells smoothly. Therefore, sugar from your food increases your blood sugar levels. The amount and the type of carbohydrates that you consume are responsible for influencing your blood sugar levels. Thus, you can avoid sugar spikes by controlling carbohydrate intake.
Rules for Healthy Eating
Eating with the golden rules is the best way to keep yourself healthy. It helps in optimizing your body functions to keep you healthy. It also helps in keeping your blood sugar levels in control and thus, reversing Prediabetes.
A lot of people make some mistakes while trying to eat healthily. Thus if you want to avoid mistakes following golden rules for healthy eating when you have diabetes:
- Avoid sugary drinks: Sugary drinks are the main risk factors for increasing blood sugar levels in your body. Sweetened tea, fruit juices, soda, lemonade, and coffee can increase your blood sugar levels. They are high-calorie drinks and instantly increases your blood glucose levels.
- Include more fibre: Eating fibre-rich foods make you fuller for a long time. Therefore, it reduces your appetite, prevents you from binge eating, and consuming lots of carbohydrates. Vegetables like Broccoli, mushrooms and green leafy vegetables contain a high amount of fibre. You can sauté them in light oil, steam or bake them to keep them healthy. Beans and whole grains are also rich in fibre. Many fruits are also there that are rich in fibre.
- Eat healthy grains: During the processing of the grains, micronutrients and fibre content gets to remove. Thus, it will not benefit you much. Start including the whole grains for better health. Quinoa and brown rice are fibre-rich in fibre which helps maintain blood glucose levels. They mainly slow down the digestion and absorption of glucose in your body. Thus, it prevents the rise in your blood glucose levels.
- Moderate your consumption of alcohol: Alcohol is a calorie-rich beverage that contributes to unwanted weight gain. Limiting alcohol helps in achieving your weight loss goals. Since alcohol supplies few nutrients to your body so, it is not healthy as well. Giving up alcohol improves the liver functions in your body and helps in controlling your blood sugar levels.
- Drink lots of water: Drinking plenty of water helps in the optimization of body functions. It gives you more energy and helps in maintaining your healthy body weight. Drinking enough water enables your kidneys to function effectively to flush out excess glucose from your body. Therefore, it keeps your blood sugar levels in control.
- Eat healthy fats: Diabetes increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, you should limit the consumption of fats to maintain your heart health. There are two types of healthy fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are healthy fats and, you can obtain them from nuts, olive oil, seeds, and some animal-based foods. Polyunsaturated fats are dietary fats and, you can take them from plants and some animals.
- Portion Control: It means you should limit the quantity of food you eat. In this way, you can keep your diet on a low glycemic index. Additionally, it helps to limit the consumption of carbohydrates in a day. Thus, it helps in controlling carbs and calorie intake. You can also read the food label to determine the nutritional content of the food items so that you do not consume more carbs and calories.
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The Best Diet Plans for Prediabetes
The kind of diet plan you are following plays a significant role in maintaining your health. If you are targeting to reverse your Prediabetes, low carb diet, ketogenic diet, DASH diet, and Mediterranean diet plan can help you. Such diet plans eliminate the intake of high carbs and calories. They support consuming more fiber and healthy micronutrients to prevent blood sugar spikes. A dietician can help you out in preparing the most suitable diet plan for Prediabetes.
Diet plays a crucial role in reversing your Prediabetes. There is a various diet plan that may benefit your health differently. Thus, before starting with any diet plan, take help from a dietician to know the best one for you. Here is a list of some diet plans that are best for people to reverse Prediabetes:
- Low carb diet plan: Insulin helps your body to keep blood sugar levels under control. In Prediabetes, your body has trouble managing the blood glucose due to insulin resistance. Therefore, your blood glucose levels rise. A low carbohydrate diet supports in treating Prediabetes. On limiting the intake of carbohydrates, sugar, and starch, low sugar content goes into your bloodstream. Thus, it helps in reversing Prediabetes.
- Ketogenic diet plan: If you are looking for a low-carb diet, the ketogenic diet is the best solution. Your body shifts to a metabolic state, ketosis, when you limit the intake of carbohydrates. While on ketosis, your body produces ketone bodies to supply fuel to the brain for activities. A ketogenic diet for Prediabetes includes 5% to 10% of total calories from carbohydrates. You need to restrict some moderate carbohydrates in this kind of diet plan.
- DASH diet plan: This diet plan is suitable for lowering high blood pressure, weight loss, mental health, bone health, and preventing Prediabetes. DASH diet plan focuses more on the consumption of whole grains and low-fat dairy products. It also supports the intake of fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and fish. Fatty red meat, processed meat, and sweets are not a part of this diet plan.
- Mediterranean diet plan: Mediterranean countries follow this kind of diet plan. It is their traditional diet pattern. The Mediterranean diet plan is about consuming olive oil, vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, lentils, and soy. There is moderate consumption of full-fat dairy products, sweets, and red meat in this diet plan. In simple words, the Mediterranean diet plan includes more fiber, protein, and low-calorie foods. Therefore, it helps in reversing Prediabetes.
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What kind of exercise is the best for reversing pre-diabetic conditions?
When it comes to exercise for controlling diabetes or reversing pre-diabetic conditions, low-impact exercises are the best. Neuropathy is one of the reasons for avoiding high-impact exercise for diabetes. High impact exercises may also cause poor blood flow in the extremities due to nerve damage. It also obstructs your body from healing the injuries. Low impact exercises like walking, aerobic dance, cycling, swimming, and band exercises are the best.
What can I do to control my pre-diabetes if unable to go to the gym for a workout?
Moving your body and workout is significant to control your pre-diabetes. It does not matter whether you work out at the gym or home. If you cannot go to the gym due to your busy schedule or any other reason, you can work out at home with or without equipment. Yoga, stretching, jumping, and brisk walking are a few exercises that you can do at home. In addition to these, you can do household works like cleaning and gardening to keep your body active and mobile.
At what levels of A1C you have to be more alert about diabetes?
The hemoglobin A1C test measures the average blood sugar levels in the past two or three months. It is one of the ways to diagnose pre-diabetes and diabetes. When your A1C levels are between 5.7 and 6.4%, it means that your blood sugar levels are on the higher side. It indicates that you are a pre-diabetic. If the A1C levels are more than 6.4%, it means you have diabetes. If the A1C levels are more than 6.4%, it means you have diabetes. When your A1C test results lie in the pre-diabetic range, get alert to prevent it from developing into diabetes type-2.
Is it possible to reverse pre-diabetes?
Yes, it is possible to reverse pre-diabetes. You need to bring some lifestyle changes to reverse your pre-diabetes. You need to evaluate your food choices, exercise regularly, lose weight, and take proper medications. However, in most cases, diet and exercise work well in reversing pre-diabetes. Unlike for managing their blood sugar levels, a person need not take medications for pre-diabetes.
Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal
The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.