Diabetes is a chronic disease which affects many people worldwide. Uncontrolled cases can cause kidney failure, blindness, heart disease and other serious conditions.
You can help in reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes by understanding your risk, and most importantly in making changes to your lifestyle. Common risk factors include increased blood pressure, weight, triglyceride (blood fat) levels and cholesterol.
Changing old habits is not easy, but it is worth the effort. Below are 7 ways to prevent diabetes.
How to Prevent Diabetes Naturally:
1. Choose Whole Grains
Whole grains may help in reducing your risk of diabetes, and help in maintaining blood sugar levels. You should try to make at least half your grains, whole grains.
Many foods that are made from whole grains come ready to eat, and these include various pasta products, breads, and cereals. Look for the word “whole” on the package, and among the first few items in the ingredient list.
2. Consume Plenty of Fiber
Consuming fiber may help you in reducing your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control, promoting weight loss by helping you feel full and by lowering your risk of heart disease.
Consuming a good fiber source at every meals can help in preventing spikes in insulin levels and blood sugar, which may help reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
Foods that are high in fiber include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, and nuts.
3. Eat a Balanced, Healthy Diet
Reduce the amount of fat in your diet, most especially trans and saturated fats. Consume more vegetables, fruit, and high-fibre foods. Cut back on salt.
4. Manage Your Weight
The single most important cause of type 2 diabetes is excess weight. Being overweight increases your chances of developing type 2 diabetes seven times more.
Obesity makes you 20-40 times more likely to develop diabetes, as compared to someone with a healthy weight.
Losing weight can help a lot, if your weight is above the healthy-weight range. Losing at least 7-10% of your current weight can decrease your chances of developing type 2 diabetes in half.
5. Skip Sugary Drinks, and Drink Coffee or Tea
Water should be your primary beverage, but, research suggested that including tea or coffee in your diet may help avoid diabetes.
Studies reported that drinking coffee on a daily basis can help reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 8–54%, with the greatest effect seen in people with the highest consumption.
Another review of several studies that included coffee and caffeinated tea reported similar results, with the largest risk reduction in women and overweight men.
Tea and coffee have antioxidants known as polyphenols that may help in protecting against diabetes.
Also, green tea contains a unique antioxidant compound known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), that has been reported to reduce blood sugar release from the liver and increase insulin sensitivity.
6. Quit Smoking
Type 2 diabetes is included in the long list of health problems associated with smoking. Smokers are roughly 50% more likely to develop diabetes as compared to non-smokers, and heavy smokers have higher risk.
7. Exercise Regularly
Exercising on a regular basis may help in preventing diabetes.
Exercise helps in increasing the insulin sensitivity of your cells. When you exercise, less insulin is needed to keep your blood sugar levels under control.
A study in people with prediabetes reported that moderate-intensity exercise increased insulin sensitivity by at least 51% and high-intensity exercise increased it by 85%. But, this effect only happened during exercise days.
Many types of physical activity have been reported to reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance in obese, overweight, and prediabetic adults. These include high-intensity interval training, aerobic exercise, and strength training.
Working out more frequently seems to lead to improvements in insulin function and response. A study in individuals at risk of diabetes reported that burning more than 2,000 calories weekly through exercise was required to achieve these benefits.
Therefore, you should choose a physical activity that you can engage in regularly, and in which you can stick with long-term.
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