Type 2 Diabetes affects million of people worldwide. It’s a chronic disease that affects the way the body regulates blood sugar, or glucose. Many don’t even know they have the disease as symptoms are subtle and easily overlooked. Diabetes is very common and affects more people as they age. Cases of diabetes that are unchecked and unregulated can lead to kidney failure, heart disease, blindness and other serious conditions.
However, there is a time before diabetes is diagnosed when blood sugars are high enough to cause some concern. Before diabetes actually becomes a chronic and diagnosed issue, lifestyle and diet changes can help avoid this pre-diabetic state from becoming something more permanent. Here are some ways to help avoid becoming one of the millions who are primed to develop diabetes:
1. Cut Sugar and Refined Carbs
If sugary foods and refined carbs are a staple of your diet, stop now. These are the worst offenders when it comes to fast-tracking diabetes in people who are prone or pre-diabetic. Eating foods high in sugar or refined carbs will increase your glucose and insulin levels, which can lead to diabetes over a shorter period of time. Avoid these as much as you can to help prevent diabetes from developing.
2. Regularly Work Out and Lose Weight If Overweight
Regular physical activity is crucial to optimum health and even more so with when it comes to preventing diabetes. Working out helps increase the insulin secretion and sensitivity of your body, which leads to less insulin being needed to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Additionally maintaining a healthy weight is also vital in helping pre-diabetics and those who are trying to prevent diabetes. If you are overweight or obese, you are at a higher risk of developing diabetes, especially if you have lots of belly fat. Aerobic and high intensity interval training or strength training are some of the best types of exercise for pre-diabetics, but it’s really about losing weight and staying in shape so anything that you can enjoy and can engage in will be beneficial. Ultimately a sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for diabetes.
3. Drink Mostly Water (but Coffee and Tea Have Benefits Too!)
It goes without saying that water is necessary and essential for our bodies and for our health. Water is natural and won’t adversely affect your body the way that beverages sweetened with sugar will. Also, some studies show that increased water intake provides additional health benefits for those who are at risk for diabetes by improving blood sugar control and insulin response. And while water should be your main drink of choice, studies have shown that coffee and tea both have antioxidant properties which help with insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels – so you can feel good including it in your diet.
4. Stop Smoking
Smoking is bad for our health, we all know that. However, smoking has also been linked in many studies to type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease and some cancers. There are even studies linking second-hand smoke to diabetes, so it not only affects the smoker but those around them too. The quicker you can kick the habit, the better. Quitting has been shown over time to reduce the risk of developing diabetes so there’s no time like the present to consider decreasing and altogether ditching smoking.
5. Eat Low Carbs/High Fibre and Watch Your Portions
Along with cutting sugary and refined carbs, eating a healthy, balanced, low carb, high fibre diet is one of the best things you can do to prevent and lower your risk of developing diabetes, as well as for general health. Eating low carbs and high fibre helps greatly with managing blood sugars. Eating this way also helps with weight management as our bodies can process the food we eat with less stress to our system and also feel fuller for longer. Managing your food portions and minimizing highly processed food is also beneficial with weight management and ultimately with lowering the risk of diabetes.