6 natural ways to prevent diabetes before it starts
Prediabetes is the period before diabetes is diagnosed where blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Fortunately, progressing from prediabetes to diabetes is not inevitable. There are many actions you can take to reduce the risk of diabetes.
Start with these 6 tips:
1 Cut sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet. Eating foods high in refined carbohydrates and sugar increases blood sugar and insulin levels, which may lead to diabetes over time. Examples of refined carbohydrates include white bread, potatoes and many breakfast cereals. Instead, limit sugar and choose complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, oatmeal and whole grains.
2 Quit smoking if you are a current tobacco user. Smoking can contribute to insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Quitting has been shown to reduce this risk of type 2 diabetes over time.
3 Watch your portions. Avoiding large portion sizes can help reduce insulin and blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of diabetes. Eating too much food at one time has been shown to cause higher blood sugar and insulin levels in people at risk of diabetes.
4 Aim for 30. Try to be intentionally active by taking a walk, dancing, lifting weights or swimming for 30 minutes, five days per week. If you get no or very little physical activity—and you sit during most of your day—then you lead a sedentary lifestyle, and it’s time to get moving.
5 Drink water. Drinking water instead of other beverages may help control blood sugar and insulin levels, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes. Sticking with water most of the time helps you avoid beverages that are high in sugar, preservatives and other unneeded ingredients.
6 Eat fibre. Getting plenty of fibre is beneficial for gut health and weight management. Consuming a good fibre source at each meal can help prevent spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, which may help reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
13 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Uncontrolled cases can cause blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and other serious conditions.
Before diabetes is diagnosed, there is a period where blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. This is known as prediabetes.
It’s estimated that up to 70% of people with prediabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, progressing from prediabetes to diabetes isn’t inevitable.
Although there are certain factors you can’t change — such as your genes, age or past behaviours — there are many actions you can take to reduce the risk of diabetes.
Here are 13 ways to avoid getting diabetes.
1 Cut Sugar and Refined Carbs From Your Diet
Eating foods high in refined carbs and sugar increases blood sugar and insulin levels, which may lead to diabetes over time. Avoiding these foods may help reduce your risk.
2 Work Out Regularly
Performing physical activity on a regular basis can increase insulin secretion and sensitivity, which may help prevent the progression from prediabetes to diabetes.
3 Drink Water as Your Primary Beverage
Drinking water instead of other beverages may help control blood sugar and insulin levels, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes.
4 Lose Weight If You’re Overweight or Obese
Carrying excess weight, particularly in the abdominal area, increases the likelihood of developing diabetes. Losing weight may significantly reduce the risk of diabetes.
5 Quit Smoking
Smoking is strongly linked to the risk of diabetes, especially in heavy smokers. Quitting has been shown to reduce this risk over time.
6 Follow a Very-Low-Carb Diet
Following a ketogenic or very-low-carb diet can help keep blood sugar and insulin levels under control, which may protect against diabetes.
7 Watch Portion Sizes
Avoiding large portion sizes can help reduce insulin and blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of diabetes.
8 Avoid Sedentary Behaviours
Avoiding sedentary behaviours like excessive sitting has been shown to reduce your risk of getting diabetes.
9 Eat a High-Fibre Diet
Consuming a good fibre source at each meal can help prevent spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, which may help reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
10 Optimize Vitamin D Levels
Consuming foods high in vitamin D or taking supplements can help optimize vitamin D blood levels, which can reduce your risk of diabetes.
11 Minimize Your Intake of Processed Foods
Minimizing processed foods and focusing on whole foods with protective effects on health may help decrease the risk of diabetes.
12 Drink Coffee or Tea
Drinking coffee or tea may help reduce blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of diabetes.
13 Consider Taking These Natural Herbs
The herbs curcumin and berberine increase insulin sensitivity, reduce blood sugar levels and may help prevent diabetes.
The Bottom Line
You have control over many of the factors that influence diabetes.
Rather than viewing prediabetes as a stepping stone to diabetes, it may be helpful to see it as a motivator for making changes that can help reduce your risk.
Eating the right foods and adopting other lifestyle behaviours that promote healthy blood sugar and insulin levels will give you the best chance at avoiding diabetes.
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