(Natural News) Diabetes is a growing health concern worldwide. In the U.S. alone, statistics show that around 1.5 million people are diagnosed with diabetes every year. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death among Americans.
Diabetes has two forms: Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is a result of the pancreas producing very little insulin. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is a progressive disease caused by insulin resistance or by the pancreas losing its ability to produce insulin. While researchers still don’t know what causes these events, risk factors like physical inactivity, being overweight, and genetics are believed to be involved in the development of Type 2 diabetes.
Today, both types of diabetes remain without a cure. However, while Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, the risk of Type 2 diabetes can be reduced. Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are modifiable, meaning that implementing certain lifestyle changes can help a person avoid developing this disease. To effectively prevent Type 2 diabetes, here are three important changes you can make.
Lifestyle modifications that help prevent Type 2 diabetes
Aside from your weight and level of physical activity, you also need to control your cholesterol levels to lower your risk of adult-onset diabetes. Having high levels of cholesterol in the blood is not only a risk factor for diabetes, it also contributes to heart disease. While other risk factors, such as age, family history, gestational diabetes, and race, are uncontrollable, these three lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in your health and keep diabetes away.
Eat a balanced diet
A healthy diet is crucial for maintaining your overall health. Eating a balanced diet not only means choosing nutritious foods, it also entails cutting back on sweets, high-calorie foods and snacks, salty foods, processed foods, sodas, and white grains. Replace these unhealthy foods with foods rich in fiber, healthy fats, protein, minerals, and vitamins.
A balanced, anti-diabetes diet should mainly consist of plant-based foods like green, leafy, low-starch vegetables, legumes, fresh fruits, lean proteins (e.g., fish and tofu), nuts, seeds, and whole grains like oats, whole wheat, brown rice, and quinoa. Drinking water, especially before taking your meals, is also an effective ways of reducing the amount of calories you consume in one sitting.
Regular exercise or engaging in physical activities is not only key to preventing diabetes, it also offers a wide range of health benefits. Studies have shown that regular exercise improves mental health, promotes weight loss, strengthens bones and muscles, reduces the risk of chronic diseases, boosts skin health, and improves cognitive function.
Some great exercises to try are strength training with weights and stretching exercises like yoga or Pilates. Doing simple stretches every 30 minutes is also a great way of staying active during the day. Alternatively, you can choose from a range of aerobic activities like swimming, running, jogging, cycling, or brisk walking to keep your physical activity at a healthy level.
Maintain a healthy weight
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight can seem like daunting task — and it is — but it is important for diabetes prevention. Being overweight not only increases your risk of diabetes, it also leads to other serious conditions, such as heart disease, obesity, and stroke. On the other hand, losing even just five percent of your current weight can already decrease your risk of diabetes.
To maintain a healthy weight, adopt a healthy exercise routine and reduce the size of your meals. Eating more foods rich in fiber and protein can make you feel full for longer and help curb your appetite. Drinking water a few minutes before each meal can also help you eat less. In addition, getting enough sleep is crucial as it promotes satiety and loss of fat, lessens food cravings, and helps maintain your insulin sensitivity.
Making healthy lifestyle changes is the key to preventing diabetes. Eat healthily and maintain a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise to keep this chronic disease at bay.