Diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases these days, affecting millions of people around the world. If left untreated, it can lead to kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, and many other serious conditions.
Long before diabetes is diagnosed, there is a period where blood sugars are high, yet not high enough for the individual to be diagnosed with diabetes. This condition is called prediabetes and it is believed that up to 70 percent of individuals with prediabetes go on to develop type II diabetes.
While many factors, including age, past behaviors and genes, cannot be changed, there are certain thways,
pings that can be done to lower the risk of diabetes.
13 Ways to Prevent Diabetes
1. Cut Sugar and Refined Carbs From Your Diet
The body immediately breaks sugary foods and refined carbs into smaller sugar particles, which are rapidly absorbed in the bloodstream. Consequently, the pancreas starts producing insulin, the hormone that helps sugar get out of the blood stream. In those with prediabetes, body`s cells are resistant to this hormones, so sugar remains trapped in the blood. As a result, the pancreas produces more and more insulin to compensate.
As time passes by, this may lead to elevated blood sugar and insulin levels, and the condition eventually turns into type II diabetes. Multiple studies have shown that there is a strong link between high sugar intake and the risk of diabetes. So, swapping these foods with ones that have less of an impact on blood sugar may help lower the risk.
2. Work Out Regularly
Working out on a regular basis helps prevent diabetes. Exercise increase insulin sensitivity, which means that when you exercise, less insulin is needed to keep blood sugar levels in check. According to a study on people with prediabetes, moderate-intensity exercise increased insulin sensitivity by 51 percent and high-intensity exercise increased it by 85 percent.
Any type of physical activity has been found to lower insulin resistance and blood sugar levels in prediabetic, overweight, and obese individuals. These include strength training, high-intensity interval training, and aerobic exercise.
3. Drink Water as Your Primary Beverage
Drinking plenty of water helps avoid sugary drinks and beverages that are high in preservatives and similar questionable ingredients. Sugary drinks like punch and soda have been associated with an increased risk of both type II diabetes and LADA, a form of type I diabetes that affects people over 18 years of age. LADA develops slowly and rarely shows any acute symptoms.
On the other hand, consuming plenty of water provides various benefits. Many studies have shown that increased water intake may lead to much better insulin response and blood sugar control.
4. Lose Weight If You’re Overweight or Obese
While not everyone with type II diabetes is obese or overweight, most of them are. Additionally, people with prediabetes have excess weight in the abdominal area, which is known as visceral fat. Excess visceral fat promotes insulin resistance and inflammation, which increases the risk of diabetes. Needless to say, the more weight you lose and fat you lose, the more benefits you`ll reap.
There are many healthy ways to lose weight, such as following a healthy diet like Paleo, vegetarian diets, low-carb, or Mediterranean diet. The key to helping you keep up with your weight loss is to find something that works for you and stick to it.
5. Quit Smoking
Smoking has been found t cause or contribute to a wide plethora of health conditions, including cancer, type II diabetes, and heart disease. According to an analysis that involved one million people, smoking increased the risk of diabetes by 44 percent in average smokers and 61 percent in those who smoked over 20 cigarettes on a daily basis.
One study assessed the risk of diabetes in middle-aged male smokers after they quit smoking. It has been shown that the risk had reduced by 13 percent after 5 year, and within 20 year the risk was the same as in individuals who have never smoked.
6. Follow a Very-Low-Carb Diet
Following a very-low-carb diet can help prevent many diseases, including diabetes. While there are many ways of eating that stimulate a healthy weight lo, the effects of a ketogenic diet are backed up by science. They have been shown to lower both blood sugar and insulin levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and lower many other diabetic risk factors. According to a 12-week study in which prediabetic individuals ate either a low-fat or low-carb diet, blood sugar dropped by 12 percent and insulin dropped by 50 percent in the low-carb group.
Another study which looked at obese men with prediabetes who followed a low-carb diet, the average fasting blood sugar dropped from 118 to 92 mg/dl, which is withing the normal range.
7. Watch Portion Sizes
Avoiding large portions of food is of utmost importance, whether you are following a low-carb diet or any other diet. It has been scientifically shown that eating too much food causes higher blood sugar and insulin levels in those at risk of diabetes.
To the contrary, decreasing portion sizes helps prevent this type of response. According to a 2-year study in prediabetic men, those who decreased food portion sizes were at 46 percent lower risk of developing diabetes compared to men who didn’t make any lifestyle changes.
8. Avoid Sedentary Behaviors
Sedentary lifestyle, characterized by physical inactivity and sitting most of the day, has been shown to increase the risk of diabetes. According to an analysis of 47 studies, those who spent most of the day engaged in sedentary behavior were at 91 percent increased risk of developing diabetes. As little as standing up from the desk and walking around for a couple of minute every hour makes a difference. Aim at setting reality goals, such as taking the stair rather than the elevator and standing while talking.
9. Eat a High-Fiber Diet
Many studies in obese and prediabetics have shown that getting plenty of fiber helps keep insulin and blood sugar levels low. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. The first one absorbs water, while the latter doesn’t. Soluble fiber forms a gel in the digestive tract, which slows down the rate at which food is absorbed, leading to rise in blood sugar levels.
On the other hand, insoluble fiber has been associated with reduction in blood sugar levels as well as a lower risk of diabetes. Most plant foods are packed with fiber, even though some have more than others.
10. Optimize Vitamin D Levels
It has been scientifically shown that people who fail to get enough vitamin D or whose blood levels are low, are at an increased risk of diabetes.
Health organizations recommend keeping a vitamin D blood level of at least 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/l). According to one study, people with the highest vitamin D levels in the body were 43 percent less likely to develop type II diabetes compared to those with the lowest.
Fatty fish and cod liver oil are some of the best food sources of vitamin D. Sun exposure also notably increases vitamin D levels in the body. Still, supplementing with 2,000–4,000 IU of vitamin D daily may be still needed for many people to maintain optimal vitamin D levels.
11. Minimize Your Intake of Processed Foods
Minimizing your intake of processed foods, which are associated with obesity and diabetes, is the basic step towards optimal health. Many studies show that cutting back on packaged foods that are packed with refined grains, additives, and vegetable oils may help lower the risk of diabetes.
According to one study, diets that were high in processed foods increased diabetes risk by 30 percent while incorporating nutritious whole foods helped lower this risk.
12. Drink Coffee or Tea
Recent studies show that incorporating tea and coffee in your daily diet may help you prevent diabetes. As shown by these studies, drinking coffee daily reduced the risk of type II diabetes by 8-54 percent.
Another review of such studies that involved caffeinated tea and coffee ended up with similar results, with the most significant risk reduction in overweight men and women. Coffee and tea are packed with antioxidants called polyphenols which help protect against diabetes.
13. Consider Taking These Natural Herbs
Ultimately, there are a few herbs that help reduce the risk of diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity.
Curcumin: According to a 9-month study of 240 prediabetic adults who took 750 mg of curcumin on a daily basis, no one developed diabetes. On the other hand, 16.4 percent of the control group did. Curcumin is one of the most potent components when it comes to decreasing insulin resistance and reducing the risk of diabetes progression.
Berberine: It fights off inflammation, lowers cholesterol levels, and improves various heart disease risk factors. Multiple studies in people with type II diabetes have shown that berberine contains powerful blood-sugar-lowering properties.