Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that affects millions of people across the world. In the United States, about 1 in 10 people have been diagnosed with the disease. Diabetes is known to cause serious health issues such as heart disease, stroke, eye and foot problems and more. Although there are certain factors you can’t change (genetics, age and past behaviors), the good news is there are ways you can prevent type 2 diabetes.
Modify Your Diet
Maintaining a healthy weight and losing weight are huge factors in preventing type 2 diabetes. The best way to do this is to modify your current diet. Limiting sugary foods and refined carbohydrates is a great way to lower your blood sugar and lose weight. Eating large portions can raise blood sugar and insulin levels, which is why learning about portion control is extremely important when trying to prevent type 2 diabetes. Adding fiber to your diets, minimizing intake of processed foods and focusing on nutrient rich foods are also great ways to stay healthy, lose weight and prevent type 2 diabetes.
When you’re thirsty, the best thing you can reach for is a glass of water. Sugary beverages like juice and soda are usually extremely high in sugar and aren’t beneficial to your health. One large observational study looked at the diabetes risk of 2,800 people. Those who consumed more than two servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per day had a 20% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Quenching your thirst with water is the healthiest option to stay hydrated and avoid developing the disease.
Staying active has many benefits, especially when it comes to preventing type 2 diabetes. Exercising can increase insulin sensitivity of your cells, so less insulin is required to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Studies found that people who spent the highest amount of time per day engaged in sedentary behavior had a 91% increased risk of developing diabetes. Regular exercise can also help you lose weight, another key factor in diabetes prevention. There are many ways to stay active – walking, aerobic exercise, high intensity interval training, strength training and many more. As long as you’re moving, you’re helping prevent diabetes!
Supplement Vitamin D
Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for controlling blood sugar. Most health organizations recommend maintaining a vitamin D blood level of at least 30 ng/ml, so if your levels are lower than that, a supplement may be needed. Controlled studies have shown that when people who are deficient take vitamin D supplements, the function of their insulin-producing cells improves, their blood sugar levels normalize and their risk of diabetes reduces significantly. If you think your Vitamin D levels may be low, consult your doctor for proper testing and dosage.
Smoking increases your risk of developing many different health issues, including type 2 diabetes. Researchers stated that even though many of the men in their study gained weight after quitting, following several smoke-free years their risk of diabetes was lower than if they’d continued smoking. Research has also shown that exposure to second-hand smoke will increase your chances. Quitting smoking isn’t easy, contact your doctor to create a plan.
While type 2 diabetes is very common, it is also preventable. Eating a healthy diet, exercising, and adopting other healthy lifestyle changes can help you avoid getting a diabetes diagnosis. If you think you may be at risk for developing diabetes or have been told you’re prediabetic, visit your doctor to discuss a plan to prevent being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.