- Are overweight
- Are 45 years or older
- Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
- Are physically active less than three times a week
- Have a history of gestational diabetes—diabetes during pregnancy, or have given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
- Have polycystic ovary syndrome
- Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, or Pacific Islander
7 Steps Every Black Diabetic Should Take
Exercise Often. A key way to turn around your risk for diabetes is to get moving. Research shows people who burn about 2,000 calories a week can increase the body’s cells that are more sensitive to insulin. This increased insulin sensitivity means that the body can better regulate blood sugar levels without releasing too much insulin over time.
Put Down The Sugary Drinks. One of the quickest ways to consume more sugar than necessary is to drink sugary drinks like artificial juices and sodas. Research has found that people who drink an average of 2 sugary drinks a day were 99% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Reach for the water bottle every time you would normally have a sugary drink. You’ll be more hydrated, your blood sugar levels will be more stable, and you’ll knock down your risk for diabetes with every glass of water you finish.
Focus On Weight Loss. Although not all people with diabetes are overweight, people who carry excess weight have an increased risk of diabetes. When you have too much body fat, you typically have increased inflammation and a resistance to insulin. This makes the body more susceptible to diabetes.
Reduce Your Carb Intake. Carbohydrates aren’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think of culprits for diabetes. However, carbohydrates break down in the body as sugar. It’s widely known that you can get sugar from fructose (fruits) glucose (sugar), or lactose (dairy). But you can also get sugar from starches (carbs), which includes bread, corn, potatoes, grains, and cereals.
Eat Smaller Portions. Controlling diabetes is mostly about preventing sugar spikes so that your body can easily maintain healthy blood sugar levels. When you sit down to a meal and eat large amounts of food in one sitting, your blood sugar levels can get out of control, forcing your body to produce more insulin to bring your sugar levels back down.
Get More Fiber. Fiber is like a magic pill to help your body regulate blood sugar levels while you eat. Foods like leafy vegetables, lentils, apples, avocado, and whole grains, all have the power to slow down your digestion and keep your blood sugar from spiking out of control. Aim to include fiber in every meal to help your body better regulate your blood sugar levels, thereby reducing your risk for diabetes.
Eat More REAL Food. A sure way to decrease your risk of diabetes then is to eat fewer processed foods and find more whole foods to add to your diet. Studies have shown that cutting back on processed foods can lower your risk of diabetes by 30%.
BDO’s Black History of Health series is designed to show the coorolation between the health of historical black figures and Black Americans today. Many of the health disperities we currently experience have been in our community for centuries. This series is meant to bring these conditions to the forefront and provide blacks with preventative and management steps to reduce these disparities and improve the overall health of the Black American community. Diabetes was a part of Frederick Douglass’ story, but it doesn’t have to be a part of yours. It’s time to change the narrative.