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How to Reverse Prediabetes Through Diet and Exercise

What is Prediabetes and Why Should You Care?

Prediabetes is a reversible, early-stage condition characterized by elevated blood sugar levels that are not yet high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. It is often influenced by genetic, age, and weight-related factors, leading to a decreased sensitivity to the sugar-lowering hormone. Prediabetes is a precursor to type 2 diabetes. But how to reverse prediabetes without medication? 

By taking steps to prevent prediabetes, individuals can positively impact their long-term health and reduce the likelihood of developing more serious health conditions such as type 2 diabetes or complications associated with diabetes. In this article, we’ll explore key information and strategies that may help prevent and reverse prediabetes.

Understanding the Risks of Prediabetes

Prediabetes is a condition characterized by higher than normal blood sugar levels, yet not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. This state of elevated blood sugar poses significant risks and can lead to more serious health conditions if left unmanaged.

According to the Mayo Clinic, prediabetes represents an increased risk for diabetes and a host of associated complications, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and high blood pressure. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights that prediabetes is a serious health condition that leaves individuals at risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and eye damage.

With these risks in mind, it becomes evident that proactive measures are essential for effectively managing and reversing prediabetes and potentially preventing its progression to type 2 diabetes.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms

Here are some common signs and symptoms of prediabetes to watch out for:

  1. Increased Thirst and Urination: One of the early signs of prediabetes is feeling excessively thirsty and needing to urinate more frequently, particularly at night.
  2. Fatigue: People with prediabetes often experience fatigue and low energy levels, even after enough rest.
  3. Blurred Vision: Blurred vision can occur due to the effects of high blood sugar on the eyes’ lenses.
  4. Slow Healing of Cuts and Wounds: High blood sugar can affect the body’s ability to heal, leading to slow healing of cuts and wounds.
  5. Increased Hunger: Some individuals with prediabetes may experience increased hunger, even after eating.
  6. Tingling or Numbness: Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet can indicate nerve damage caused by high blood sugar levels.

Many people with prediabetes may not experience any noticeable symptoms, which is why regular screening and testing for blood sugar levels is crucial, especially for those with risk factors such as being overweight, having a family history of diabetes, or leading a sedentary lifestyle.

5 Ways to Turn Prediabetes Around

Five effective lifestyle changes that can help turn prediabetes around are:

  1. Adopting a healthy diet without refined sugars, carbs and processed foods.
  2. Incorporating regular physical activity into your routine.
  3. Managing a healthy weight, even a modest weight loss of 5-10%, can significantly improve insulin sensitivity.
  4. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption and reducing stress levels.
  5. Eating mindfully and consider eating an early dinner for better blood sugar control.
how to reverse prediabetes

How to Reverse Prediabetes with Diet and Exercise

A healthy diet and regular exercise are two main essentials of human life to maintain overall well-being, prevent diseases, and control genetic or chronic health conditions. These two are also very effective in managing and reversing prediabetes.

Changing your bad eating habits and being more aware of which food works best for your body are two easy steps to better health. A healthy diet regularly can help you;

  • Lose weight, control weight gain, and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Keep your glucose at a healthy and desirable level.
  • Have more energy and motivation in your daily life. 

If you wonder if you can reverse prediabetes with exercise, exercise contributes to weight loss alongside diet. Weight gain and obesity can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and worsen type 1. Thus, increasing physical activity to reach a healthy weight and maintaining it to manage or reverse prediabetes is important.

Exercise and abandoning a sedentary lifestyle can motivate you daily and improve your overall well-being. A good exercise plan can lower your blood sugar levels and improve your cholesterol.

Aerobic exercises help in losing weight, lowering blood sugar and increasing the level of good cholesterol. You can make a weekly plan of walking, running, swimming or even dancing. Running can also be a great exercise to burn calories. Swimming makes the entire bodywork and also being in the water is relaxing.

After adopting aerobic exercises in your weekly routine, you can start strengthening exercises. Exercises such as weight training and lifting help you strengthen your muscles and have healthier bones. When most of the glucose in the body is used by muscles during these exercises, your body’s ability to control your blood sugar levels increases.

Flexibility exercises include techniques like rolling, bending and stretching. You can try yoga, which includes all of these techniques or prefer to stretch a specific area in the body. Flexibility is very beneficial to reach muscles that you won’t be able to reach through other exercise types.

Stretching helps to lower blood sugar levels and is beneficial for prediabetes management. Stretching can be a pre-exercise for strengthening exercises. It is a calming and relaxing way of exercising which can acutely help regulate blood sugar levels.

Food Sequencing

The Top 4 Foods for Beating Prediabetes

The critical part of the diet for prediabetes is choosing different, healthy foods from all food groups. This way, you can combine the benefits of all food groups in your body. But to do this healthy food combination, you must know the right food groups. We advise you to work with a specialist and doctor to make the right meal plan.

Nuts & Grains:
Fiber is a great, easy-to-find and necessary nutrient for your diet to control prediabetes. Whole grains and nuts contain a good amount of fiber, which is easy to digest and, at the same time, makes you feel full. Also, nuts, especially almonds and walnuts, are healthier than carbohydrates. They can help decrease sugar-lowering hormone levels and benefit a healthy heart.

Vegetables contain proper amounts of fiber and vitamins. Compared to fruits, vegetable impact on blood sugar levels is minimal. Organic, fresh vegetables and leafy greens like broccoli, kale, spinach, and cabbage are both antioxidants and in a regular diet plan, they help to maintain blood sugar levels.

Citrus Fruits:
Studies have shown that citrus fruits can help control blood sugar levels. Citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruits both contain good amounts of vitamin C, folate and minerals.

Chia Seeds:
Chia seeds are antioxidant nutrients with the right amount of fiber and protein. They can help you lose weight by lowering your appetite.

FAQs About How to Reverse Prediabetes

How can prediabetes be reversed?

With early intervention and moderate lifestyle adjustments, some individuals with prediabetes may be able to return their blood glucose levels to a normal range, potentially avoiding the onset of type 2 diabetes.
By adopting the appropriate dietary habits and engaging in regular physical activity, individuals with prediabetes can effectively manage their condition and potentially prevent its progression to type 2 diabetes.
A raw vegan diet like a low carbohydrate or ketogenic diet, with vegetables and nutrient-dense foods, can help in lowering blood sugar levels.
Every individual’s health journey is different as it is affected by age, lifestyle choices, genetics and other factors. Consider seeing a medical doctor to create a healthy lifestyle change to reverse prediabetes.

An exercise plan would be effective in reversing prediabetes if only it goes hand in hand with a healthy nutrition plan.

Cinnamon supplementation has shown promising results in reducing fasting blood glucose and insulin resistance in individuals with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, as indicated by a comprehensive review in 2019.
To effectively manage prediabetes, it is recommended to avoid consuming refined carbohydrates, processed foods, sugary and sweetened drinks, pastries and other kinds of foods.
Walking may support reversing prediabetes as a form of exercise and healthy nutrition. Brisk walking, which is not very tiring, can be easy.