Do you have risk factors for diabetes? Do you have a family history of the disease? Or, have you already been diagnosed with prediabetes?
If you are looking for ways to reduce your risk of developing diabetes, or for ways to slow the progression of the disease, you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we discuss 5 key diabetes prevention strategies that you should keep in mind.
Ways to Prevent Diabetes
When we talk about diabetes prevention, we are usually talking about preventing type 2 diabetes. Effective and safe ways to prevent type 1 diabetes have not been identified yet, despite the considerable amount of research in this area.
Type 2 diabetes, however, can be delayed or prevented for many people. This is great news if you think being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is unavoidable for you.
Decreasing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes involves making healthy lifestyle changes. Exercising more, losing weight if you are obese, and eating healthy are the most effective things that you can do to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Even if you’ve already been told that you have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, or if you’ve already been diagnosed with prediabetes, you still have a chance to make changes that can delay or prevent the onset of diabetes.
Listed below are some effective ways to prevent diabetes.
- Eat Healthy
A healthy diet can help you control, prevent, and even reverse diabetes. Four dietary changes can have a significant impact on the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Choose whole grains over refined grains and other highly processed carbohydrates.
Studies show that diets rich in whole grains protect against diabetes, while diets rich in refined carbohydrates lead to increased diabetes risk.
Whole grains don’t contain ‘magic nutrient’ that fights diabetes; rather, it’s the whole package that’s important. The fiber and bran in whole grains make it harder for digestive enzymes to break down the starches into glucose. This results in lower, slower increases in blood glucose levels and insulin, and a lower glycemic index.
As a result, they stress the body’s insulin-producing machinery less, and so may help prevent type 2 diabetes. Whole grains are also rich in essential vitamins and minerals that may help reduce the risk of diabetes.
In contrast, white rice, white bread, donuts, mashed potatoes, and many breakfast cereals contain what’s known as a high glycemic index and glycemic load. That means that they cause sustained spikes in blood glucose and insulin levels, which may lead to increased diabetes risk.
For instance, one study found that men and women who ate white rice (5 or more servings a week) had a 17% increased risk of diabetes than those who ate white rice less than one time a month. On the other hand, people who ate brown rice (2 or more servings a week) had an 11% lower risk of diabetes than those who rarely eat brown rice. Researchers conclude that swapping whole grains in place of white rice could lower diabetes risk by about 36%.
- Skip the sugary drinks, and choose water, tea, or coffee instead.
Like refined grains, sugary drinks have a high glycemic load, and drinking more of these sugary beverages is linked with increased risk of diabetes. One study shows that women who drank one or more sugar-sweetened drinks per day had an 83% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared with women who drank less than one sugar-sweetened drink per month.
- Choose healthy fats.
The types of fats in your diet can also impact the development of diabetes. Healthy fats, such as the polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils can help fight type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, trans fat does the opposite. These harmful fats can be found in packaged baked goods, fried foods, margarines, and most fast-food restaurants.
- Limit red meat and avoid processed meats – choose whole grains, nuts, fish, or poultry instead.
Eating red meat (lamb, pork, beef) and processed red meat (deli meats, hot dogs, bacon) can increase your risk of developing diabetes, even among people who only eat small amounts. One study found that eating just one 3-ounce serving of red meat daily increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 20%. Furthermore, eating even a small amount of processed red meat each day (e.g. one hot dog or two slices of bacon) increased diabetes risk by about 51%.
The good news from the abovementioned study? Swapping out red meat or processed red meats for a healthier protein source, such as low-fat dairy, fish, poultry, whole grains, or nuts lowered diabetes risk by about 35%!
- Choose whole grains over refined grains and other highly processed carbohydrates.
- Lose Weight
If you are overweight or obese, you need to lose weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, as well as other health problems like stroke and cardiovascular disease. It can also increase the risk of unhealthy cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar levels. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight may help you prevent and manage these conditions. And you don’t have to lose a lot to improve your health – losing even 10 to 15 pounds can make a big difference.
Losing weight can be hard because it involves changing your physical activity and the way you weight. Furthermore, it takes time and a considerable amount of effort, which can be frustrating. The good news is that you can lose weight – and keep it off – even if you’ve never done it before.
Here’s what has worked for some people who have lost weight (and kept it off):
- Eating breakfast everyday
- Cutting back on fat and calories
- Staying physically active most days of the week
- Watching less than 10 hours of TV each week
- Weighing themselves at least once each week
- Move and Exercise
Exercising has numerous health benefits, including helping you to lose weight and lower your blood glucose levels – both of which can help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Just a little extra activity each day can go a long way to improving your overall health.
If you lead a very sedentary lifestyle, start with limiting the amount of time that you spend sitting down. Interrupt your sitting time by standing up and moving around briefly every 20 to 30 minutes.
Also, try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. You don’t have to go to the gym or follow a complicated exercise program. Even simple exercises like walking, jogging, or cycling can make a significant impact on your health. If you haven’t been active, talk with your doctor to figure out which types of exercise are best for you. You can start slowly and work up to reach your goal.
- Don’t Smoke
It’s no secret that smoking is bad for your health. Smoking hurts your heart and lungs. It lowers the amount of oxygen that reaches your organs, raises your blood pressure, and raises your bad cholesterol. All of these can increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
If you don’t smoke, that’s great! Make a commitment to never start.
If you do smoke – quit.
Studies show that smokers are about 50% more likely to develop diabetes than non-smokers, and heavy smokers have an even higher risk. Smoking can cause insulin resistance, which may lead to type 2 diabetes.
Quitting helps your heart and lungs, reduces your risk of developing diabetes, and lowers the risk of hurting your eyes, nerves, blood vessels, and other organs. Smoking cessation can leave you with better-smelling breath, hair, and clothes; fewer wrinkles on your face; and less secondhand smoke exposure for your family and friends.
- Try a Diabetes Supplement
Aside from healthy lifestyle choices and medications, you should also consider a diabetes supplement like Diavit Herbs. Diavit Herbs is an FDA-approved diabetic supplement that can help you sustain healthy blood sugar levels. It is composed of all-natural ingredients, namely banaba, turmeric, and ampalaya. Some of the benefits of Diavit Herbs include: helps decrease blood glucose levels; prevention of diabetes-related complications; boosts immune system; aids in weight loss; and it supports overall brain health.
The Bottom Line
Even if you’ve already been told that you have a high risk of developing diabetes, or if you’ve already been diagnosed with prediabetes, you still have a chance to make changes that can delay or prevent the onset of diabetes.
Eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, smoking cessation, and trying a supplement like Diavit Herbs may help you control, prevent, or even reverse diabetes.
Before making any lifestyle changes or trying new supplements, make sure to consult your doctor first.