If you have type 2 diabetes or are pre-diabetic, managing your health should be your top priority. Neuropathy, vision loss, skin infections and kidney damage are a few of the complications type 2 diabetes may involve. Without proper care, diabetes typically becomes more difficult to control at a faster rate, putting people at risk for severe or life threatening complications sooner than they might be if their conditions were managed.

Proper and effective care for type 2 diabetes involves successful management of insulin and blood sugar levels. Insulin is responsible for keeping sugar (glucose) levels at healthy, stable levels. Insulin resistance, which is common in type 2 diabetes, means that the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, so sugar/glucose remains in the bloodstream instead of entering cells. It’s these high blood sugar levels that can ultimately lead to complications.

Fortunately there is much that can be done to effectively manage insulin and help curtail insulin resistance. One of the most basic factors that can be addressed is diet, because our eating habits directly affect blood sugar and insulin levels. Although the best way to tackle changes in eating habits is to work with a health practitioner who provides customized support, there are a few general guidelines pre-diabetics and those with type 2 diabetes should consider following:

1. Eat regularly and avoid large meals

Don’t skip meals or fast for large parts of the day. Large meals wreak havoc on blood sugar and insulin levels.

2. Avoid processed and fast foods

Processed foods and fast foods can contribute to insulin resistance because they result in inflammation, and also because they increase cortisol, the ‘stress’ hormone which is known to increase blood sugar levels.

3. Exercise

Exercise is crucial to controlling insulin resistance. If your lifestyle doesn’t include regular exercise, it’s important to check with a health care provider before undertaking a new fitness program. You can then begin by simply moving more. Take a walk or start using the stairs instead of the elevator. Consider working with someone who can help by guiding you into a fitness routine that will work best to reduce insulin resistance in your body.

4. Get plenty of sleep

Failure to get adequate sleep reduces insulin sensitivity. Try to get at least 7 or 8 hours of quality sleep every night. Tackling sleep problems may require lifestyle changes, including the addition of regular exercise to your routine and stress management.

These are just a few basic examples of what may be done to reduce insulin resistance and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. The most effective solutions for type 2 diabetes are lifestyle based. To navigate lifestyle interventions that will bring about the best results, work with a practitioner who is trained in functional wellness care. You’ll benefit from a comprehensive evaluation of your condition and your overall health, plus a customized plan of natural therapeutic care that supports optimal wellness.