Walking and Diabetes, by Charlyn Fargo

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Most of us wish for an easy fix for our health issues — a magic pill to lose weight or a magic way to cook vegetables that we love.

And then along comes a study, recently published in the February 2022 issue of the journal Diabetes Care, that finds we can walk to prevent diabetes. The study found that the more steps you take, and the more intensely you walk, the lower your odds of getting Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University studied more than 4,800 participants who were women aged 65 and older. None had diabetes. All lived independently.

Participants wore a device on their hip that recorded the number of steps they took 24 hours a day for a week. Participants’ health was monitored for up to seven years. Of the 4,800 women, 8% developed diabetes during that time.

On average, participants took 3,729 steps per day, of which 1,875 were light-intensity steps and 1,854 were vigorous-intensity steps (steps that cause you to breathe a little heavier). Researchers said that for every 1,000 steps participants took per day, results showed a 6% lower diabetes risk. If older adults were to take 2,000 more steps every day (in addition to what they were already doing), they might expect a 12% reduction in diabetes risk, according to study co-author Alexis Garduno in a UCSD news release.

Here’s the bottom line: If 500,000 older individuals who are newly diagnosed with diabetes every year would increase their steps by 2,000 per day and the 12% figure is correct, Garduno said 60,000 people each year would not suffer from diabetes.

This study goes along with a recommendation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week; once you’ve started walking, keep it up daily.

Q and A

Q: Do omega-6 fatty acids cause inflammation?

A: No, intake of omega-6 fatty acids doesn’t cause inflammation; in fact, they are anti-inflammatory. Omega-6 fatty acids, called linoleic acid, are found in nuts, seeds and plant oils such as sunflower, safflower, soybean, canola and corn. Because linoleic acid can’t be synthesized by the body, it must be consumed in the diet. Besides being anti-inflammatory, omega-6 fatty acids help lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides as well as helping to lower blood glucose.

RECIPE

I admit to having more cookbooks than I need — and not being able to able to resist a new one. My latest purchase is “The 5-Ingredient Heart Healthy Cookbook” by Registered Dietitian Andy DeSantis. The book has 101 low-sodium, low-fat recipes, made easy with just five ingredients. Here’s a recipe for a one-skillet meal for a quick dinner.

CHICKEN AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS SKILLET

Servings: 4

4 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, cut in half-moons

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large oven-safe skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Place the chicken in the skillet so that the side with skin faces the bottom and sear for 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned, then flip. Scatter the onion and Brussels sprouts around the chicken. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the oven. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the top of the chicken and Brussel sprouts. Serves 4.

Per serving: 275 calories; 27 grams protein; 17 grams carbohydrates; 12 grams fat (2 grams saturated); 5 grams fiber; 434 milligrams sodium.

Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian with SIU Med School in Springfield, Illinois. For comments or questions, contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @NutritionRD. To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: Fotorech at Pixabay



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