Published on : 09 November 20216 min reading time
Type 2 diabetes is a serious chronic disease that affects millions of people worldwide. If not controlled, this disease can cause serious complications like kidney failure, blindness and heart diseases. Luckily, one can avoid diabetes through simple actions like exercising, a healthy diet and many more. Below are some of the top diabetes prevention actions and behaviours.
Reduce Sugar and Refined Carbs from Your Diet
Frequent consumption of sugary foods and refined carbs can increase the risk of developing diabetes. Since your body will breakdown the carbs into smaller sugar molecules for absorption into your bloodstream, eating such foods leads to a rise in blood sugars, stimulating your pancreas to produce insulin.
According to diabetes diagrams by Pep2dia most diabetic people start with the prediabetes stage before they are diagnosed with diabetes (more information here). The type 2 diabetes diagrams show that the pancreas cells work harder to produce more insulin during the prediabetes stage. Your cells and tissues may also show resistance to insulin. Over time, the resistance to insulin’s action leads to high sugar levels in the blood, and the pancreas produces more insulin to bring down the blood sugar to a healthy level. The combination of high insulin levels and higher blood sugar eventually turns into type 2 diabetes.
Numerous studies have shown a link between refined carbs and sugar consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, reducing their consumption or replacing them with healthier foods can reduce your risk.
Add Work Outs to Your Routine
Regular physical activity is another effective way of preventing diabetes. Since exercise increases the insulin sensitivity of your cells, you will need less insulin to maintain healthy blood sugar levels if you work out regularly. Most exercises, including strength training, aerobic exercise and high-intensity interval training, have been shown to reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance among obese, overweight and prediabetic people. However, you need to burn more than 2000 calories weekly through exercise to enjoy these benefits.
Make Water Your Primary Beverage
If you make water your preferred beverage, you will avoid beverages high in sugar and preservatives. Sugary drinks can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes because they increase the amount of sugar in your blood. On the other hand, consuming water may promote better insulin response and better sugar control. One study showed that overweight adults who replaced sodas with water while following a weight loss program experienced lower fasting blood sugar, reduced insulin resistance and insulin levels.
Lose Weight if You are Obese or Overweight
Though obesity is not the only diabetes risk factor, most people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Since most overweight and obese people have excess visceral fat, they are at a high risk of inflammation and insulin resistance, increasing the risk of diabetes. A study conducted in 2007 found that every kilogram that a participant lost reduced the risk of diabetes by 16%. Though you can lose weight by changing your diet to paleo, Mediterranean and vegan, it is advisable to choose a way of eating that you are comfortable with. This is because there is a high possibility of experiencing an increase in insulin and blood sugar levels if you gain back the lost weight.
Considering the numerous serious health conditions associated with smoking, quitting smoking is one of the best decisions that one can make. Multiple studies link smoking to type 2 diabetes. Research shows that smoking increases the risk of diabetes by 44% in average smokers and 61% in those who smoke over 20 cigarettes daily.
You should avoid sedentary behaviours if you want to prevent diabetes. This is because Sedentary behaviour increases your risk of diabetes by up to 91%. Also, sleeping too much or too little sleep can increase your cravings for high-carb foods, which will increase your blood sugar. Luckily, you can change sedentary behaviour through simple activities like standing up and walking around for several minutes after every hour you spend sitting.
Eat a High-Fibre Diet
A high fibre diet is essential for your weight management, plus it promotes good gut health. Some studies in elderly, prediabetic, and obese people have shown that fibre helps keep low insulin and blood sugar levels. Though there is no clear explanation on how it works, insoluble fibre is the best in preventing diabetes as it has been linked to lowering blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of diabetes. You can get your fibre from most unprocessed plant foods.
Increase your Vitamin D Levels
Since vitamin D is vital for blood sugar control, insufficient vitamin D puts you at a higher risk of diabetes. According to most health organisations, the optimum vitamin D blood level is at least 75nmol/l. A 2013 study found that people with vitamin D blood levels had a 43% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those with the lowest levels. Also, studies have shown that the insulin-producing cells in people who are vitamin D deficient improve when they take vitamin D supplements. Their blood sugar levels also normalise, reducing their risk of diabetes.
Reduce Your Consumption of Processes Foods
Minimising your intake of processed foods will significantly improve your health. Processed foods are linked to numerous health problems, including diabetes, obesity and heart diseases. Some of the top foods you should eliminate from your diet to prevent diabetes include foods high in refined grains, vegetable oils and additives. On the other hand, whole foods like fruits, nuts and vegetables will help reduce the risk of diabetes, thanks to their protective effects.
Increase your Intake of Coffee and Tea
In addition to water, you can include coffee or tea in your diet to help you prevent diabetes. Drinking coffee daily reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, thanks to its antioxidant compound called epigallocatechin gallate. The antioxidant can increase insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar release from the liver.
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