Experts estimate that 50% of American population will suffer from diabetes or prediabetes by 2020.
Diabetes is a diseases characterized by elevated glucose levels in the blood. Glucose, a type of sugar, enters our bloodstream following food digestion. Our cells use glucose for energy and growth, with the help of insulin. The pancreas normally releases the right amount of insulin to move the glucose to the cells. In people suffering from diabetes, there’s a problem with insulin. Or the body does not produce enough insulin, or the cells don’t respond properly to it. When it happens, glucose found in the bloodstream is eventually evacuated through urine, preventing the cells from getting their essential energy and growth source.
The diabetes we hear most of is Type 2 Diabetes, caused by insulin resistance or by the pancreas not producing sufficient insulin. This is the condition that is on the rise in America, and that is linked to obesity and lack of physical activity.
A new possible cause of diabetes: Pollution
Until now, the major risk factors in type 2 diabetes were age, bodyweight, physical activity levels and genetic predispositions. But recent research is showing another unexpected cause: pollution.
A strong and consistent link between air pollution, pesticides and type 2 diabetes has been found recently. Pesticide use, especially the ones containing organochlorine compounds, has found their way to the food chain. The compounds found in pesticides, while many were banned several years ago, are still found in people’s bloodstream. Air pollution is also a huge risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Studies show that particles emitted by smoke and vehicles exhaust might be worst than obesity for the risks of developing insulin resistance.
How air pollution impacts your health
Air pollution causes inflammation, which may lead to several health conditions, including type 2 diabetes. Pollution can increase body fat, contributing to the risks of obesity and insulin resistance. What is quite alarming is that as I write those lines, about 1/3 of Americans are obese and 1/6 live in poor air quality area. The correlation between air pollution and diabetes was seen even at exposures levels below current EPA safety limits, which might suggest that those limits should be lowered.
What you can do:
Maintain a healthy diet: Eating plenty of fresh and unprocessed foods, while avoiding fatty and sugary treats is one of the best ways to lower your risks of developing diabetes. Make sure your diet include at least 5 to 10 portions of fresh fruits and vegetables per day.
Exercise daily: Physical activity, along with diet, is the best way to naturally control your blood sugar levels. You should do more than attending a yoga class once a week. You should be active for at least 30 minutes a day, at the very minimum.
Limit your exposure to air pollution: While exercising is important, don’t choose to run outside when there’s smog alert! Wear protective gear when exposing yourself to volatile compounds.
Support your detox system: Get your body ready to eliminate potentially harmful pollution by supporting it to detox naturally. Include the top 10 foods to detox to your diet, sweat daily and drink plenty of pure water.
Fight inflammation: Inflammation is a nasty thing. I can lead to many health problems ranging from inflammatory bowel diseases, arthritis, skin problems and premature aging. To fight inflammation, avoid sugars and supply your diet with anti-inflammatory substances like Omega-3, turmeric, green tea, berries, dark leafy greens and seaweed.
Choose organic: Avoid food chemicals and pesticides by selecting organic produce. If you can’t afford organic, at least choose among conventionally grown fruits and vegetables with the least pesticide residue.
Go green: The very best way to minimize impact of pollution on our life is to “live green”. Make a statement with your own lifestyle. Generating less pollution yourself and supporting eco-conscious companies is among the best way to express your desire to live in a greener world. In addition to live the “greenest” possible, you can also boycott products made by the world worst companies for air pollution.