Diabetes is a chronic disease affecting millions of people around the world. Worst cases can lead to kidney failure, blindness, heart disease and other severe conditions. There is a period before diabetes is diagnosed, where blood sugar levels are high but not high enough, known as prediabetes.
Approximately about 70% of people with prediabetes continue to develop type 2 diabetes. Luckily, progressing from prediabetes to diabetes can be prevented. Certain factors, such as your genes, age and past behaviors cannot be changed. Yet there are many ways you can follow to reduce the risk of diabetes.
1. Cut sugar and refined carbs from your diet
Consuming refined carbs and sugary foods can be risky for those on the track to developing diabetes. These foods are rapidly broken into little sugar molecules, which are absorbed into your bloodstream and thus result in a blood sugar rise.The high levels of blood sugar stimulates your pancreas to produce insulin, a hormone that helps sugar to be transmitted from your bloodstream into your body’s cells.
The body’s cells of people with prediabetes are resistant to insulin’s action, so sugar stays high in their blood. Then, the pancreas produces more insulin trying to bring down the blood sugar to a healthy level. With time, this can lead to gradually higher insulin levels and blood sugar, until the condition is developed into type 2 diabetes.
Multiple studies have shown that frequent consumption of sugar or refined carbs is linked to the risk of diabetes.Replacing refined carbs and sugary foods with ones that have less of an effect on your blood sugar, can help decrease the risk.
According to a detailed analysis of 37 studies, people who consume high amounts of fast-digesting carbs were 40% more at risk to develop diabetes than those consuming the lowest amounts.
2. Work out regularly
Regular exercising may help prevent diabetes, through increasing the the insulin sensitivity of your cells. When you exercise, less insulin is needed to keep your blood sugar level under control.
According to a study in people with prediabetes, medium-intensity exercise raised insulin sensitivity by 51% while high-intensity exercise raised it by 85%.
This only happened on workout days though. Several physical activities, such as aerobic exercise, strength training and high-intensity interval training, have been shown to decrease blood sugar and insulin resistance in obese, overweight and prediabetic adults.
Frequent work out seems to improve insulin function and response. It is best to choose a physical activity that you most enjoy, feel you can stick with long-term and can engage in regularly.
3. Drink water as your primary beverage
Water is the most natural beverage so far, and sticking with it can help you avoid other beverages that are high in sugar, preservatives and other doubtful ingredients.
Sugary drinks like punch and soda have been linked to promoting risk of type 2 diabetes and latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA). LADA is a form of type 1 diabetes that attain people over the age of 18, and requires more treatments as it progresses.
People who drank more than two servings of sugar-sweetened beverages a day had a 99% raised risk of developing LADA and a 20% raised risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to an observational study in 2,800 people with diabetes risk.
Neither artificially sweetened drinks or fruit juice are good for diabetes prevention, however, drinking water instead can lead to bette insulin response and blood sugar control.
4. Lose weight if you’re overweight or obese
The majority of people who develop type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese, and those with prediabetes tend to have visceral fat, which is the excess fat in the midection and around abdominal organs. Excess visceral fat improves insulin resistance and inflammation, which seriously increase the risk of diabetes.
The more dangerous fat you lose, the more are your health benefits. There are multiple healthy options you can try for losing weight, such as Mediterranean, Paleo, vegetarian and low-carb diets. Whatever diet you chose, keep in mind that sticking with a long-term is the key to maintain the weight loss.
5. Quit smoking
Smoking has been proven to cause or contribute to many serious health conditions, such as emphysema, heart disease and lung, breast, prostate and digestive tract cancers. Smoking and second-hand smoke exposure are linked to type 2 diabetes.
According to an analysis of multiple studies on more than one million people, smoking raises the risk of diabetes by 44% in average smokers and by 61% in those who smoke over 20 cigarettes a day. Researchers claim that quitters will have their risk of diabetes lower than if they’re still smoking. Quitting has been shown to reduce the risk over time.
6. Follow a very-low-carb diet
Following a very-low-carb or a ketogenic diet can help you prevent diabetes, as they have consistently proven to increase insulin sensitivity, reduce insulin and blood sugar levels and lower other diabetes risk factors.In a 12-week study, prediabetic individuals who followed a low-fat or low-carb diet, got their blood sugar dropped by 12% and insulin dropped by 50% in the low-carb category.
While in the low-fat category got blood sugar dropped by 1% and insulin dropped by 19%. Thus, the low-carb diet is better than the low-fat one.Minimizing your carb intake, will keep your blood sugar levels from rising very much after eating. Consequently, your body will require less insulin to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
7. Watch portion sizes
Whether you decide to follow a low-carb diet or not, it is necessary to avoid large portions of food in order to lessen the risk of diabetes, especially if you’re overweight. Eating so much food at one time can cause higher insulin and blood sugar levels in people at risk of diabetes, while reducing portion sizes may help prevent it.
It is also recommend to practice other healthful nutrition behaviors. According to a study looking at weight loss methods in people with diabetes, practicing portion control significantly reduces insulin and blood sugar levels after 12 weeks.
8. Avoid sedentary behaviors
If you want to prevent diabetes, you should avoid being sedentary. When you get very little to no physical activity and sit during most of the day, then you have a sedentary lifestyle. Sedentary behavior is linked to the risk of diabetes, and can increase the risk for up to 91%.
It can be hard to reverse firmly grounded habits, but few changes every time can become big changes over time. It is best to set achievable and realistic goals. For example, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or standing while talking on the phone. Practice and commitment to such easy concrete actions can be the best way to reverse sedentary behaviors.
9. Eat a high-fiber diet
Providing yourself with plenty of fiber is beneficial for gut health and weight management. Studies have shown that it helps maintain insulin and blood sugar at low levels. Fiber is divided into two categories : soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber absorbs water, while insoluble fiber doesn’t.
Soluble fiber and water establish a gel in the digestive tract that slow down food absorption rates, and leads to a more progressive rise in blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber has also been linked to lowering blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of diabetes, even though it is not clear how it exactly works. Consuming a good fiber source at every meal can help prevent spikes in levels of blood sugar and insulin.
10. Optimize vitamin D levels
Vitamin D is necessary to keep blood sugar under control. According to studies, people who lack vitamin D or whose blood levels are too low, are at greater risk of all types of diabetes.It is recommended by most health organizations to maintain a vitamin D blood level of no less than 30 ng/ml. People with the high blood levels of vitamin D are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with low levels.
Foods that are good sources of vitamin D include fatty fish and cod liver oil, in addition to sun exposure which boosts vitamin D levels in the blood. However, it may be necessary for many people to take vitamin D supplements in order to attain and maintain healthy levels.
11. Minimize your intake of processed foods
To minimize your consumption of processed foods is to help improve your own health. These foods are linked to all kinds of health issues, including obesity , heart disease and diabetes.
It is recommended to cut back on packaged foods containing high amounts of vegetable oils, additives and refined grains, in order to help lessen the risk of diabetes. It is best to start including nutritious whole foods to your diet.
12. Drink coffee or tea
Water should be your primary beverage, however, including tea or coffee in your diet may help you avoid diabetes. According to studies, drinking coffee every day reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 8 to 54%.Tea and Coffee consist of certain antioxidants
which may take part in protection against diabetes. Green tea in particular, consists of a unique antioxidant compound known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that can reduce the release of blood sugar from the liver and improve insulin sensitivity.
13. Consider taking these natural herbs
These are few herbs that may promote insulin sensitivity and reduce diabetes progression.
Curcumin contains strong anti-inflammatory properties and was shown to be very effective against arthritis, as well as it may help lessen inflammatory markers in people with prediabetes.
This natural herb can also reduce insulin resistance, boost insulin sensitivity, improve the functioning of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and lower the risk of diabetes.
Berberine has been shown to fight inflammation and lower cholesterol and other heart disease markers. According to many studies, berberine contains strong blood-sugar-lowering properties in people with type 2 diabetes.
Berberine works by improving insulin sensitivity and reducing the release of sugar by the liver, and can theoretically help people with prediabetes to avoid diabetes. There are no studies that have made researchs about this so far. You should not use these natural herbs along with other diabetes medications unless your doctor authorized it !
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