Diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, is a national epidemic. Over 100 million people have diabetes or prediabetes today.
In type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance is the main factor of the disease. Insulin resistance means the cells don’t respond to the efforts of insulin to move blood sugar into the cells. High blood glucose causes serious health issues such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, dental issues, and nerve damage.
Fortunately, type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. Here are 7 ways you can reduce your chances of developing diabetes:
1. Lose weight.
It’s easier said than done, but it’s one of the best ways to reduce your risk of diabetes. Being overweight is one of the biggest risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Studies show that every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight you lose can reduce your risk of diabetes by 16 percent!
Speak with your doctor for guidance in losing weight in a safe and healthy way.
2. Follow a plant-based and low-calorie diet.
Avoid highly processed foods full of trans fats, saturated fat, and sugar. These ingredients are terrible for your body, and avoiding them can also help you lose weight and improve your overall health. Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and protein-filled lentils and beans.
You should also avoid sugar-sweetened drinks, and choose water over other beverages as much as possible.
Physical inactivity is a major risk factor of diabetes, and it’s also unfortunately pretty common in the modern American lifestyle. To reduce your risk of disease, start exercising more. Besides for the general health benefits, studies show that exercise makes your cells more sensitive to insulin. Brisk walking for just 2 and a half hours week can provide great benefits.
4. Keep calm and sleep well.
Being stressed out releases hormones that can increase your blood sugar. Some studies have shown that practicing mindful meditation helps you reduce stress. Exercise (again!) and getting support from family friends can also help you keep calm.
Sleeping well is also crucial to your overall health and diabetes prevention. Chronic sleep deprivation may increase your risk of obesity and diabetes, so make sure you get a good night’s sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, consult your doctor.
5. See your doctor regularly.
There are no warning signs of type 2 diabetes, other than elevated blood sugar. Make sure to see your doctor twice a year so he can monitor your blood glucose levels, your weight, and other indications.
Following these steps can help you reduce your chances of developing diabetes by up to 58 percent! And even if you do develop diabetes after making these lifestyle changes, you area already ahead, because all these positive changes will help you control and manage your diabetes and stay healthy for many more years.