By Kevin Bowman
You’ve likely heard about the devastating effects of developing diabetes. Each year, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with this chronic disease. While this may be presented as an inevitable fate, it doesn’t have to be. There are multiple forms of diabetes that exist, however the most prevalent one and the one that’s most preventable is type 2 diabetes (T2D). Below are some of the ways you can naturally reduce your likelihood of developing this disease.
Understand Your Risks
Type 2 diabetes is caused by the body being unable to filter out the sugar in your blood due to insulin resistance. There are many factors that go into developing diabetes— such as age, weight, race, eating habits, activity levels, and genetics. While some of these things are out of your control, like your age or genes, you do have the ability to naturally reduce your chances of developing diabetes through the factors that you can change. It’s important to learn these risk factors so that you can understand how much you need to modify your lifestyle. If you’re wondering what these modifications are that you can make, consider the following tips are a great place to start.
Watch What You Eat
One of the most critical ways in which you can take your fate into your own hands is by eating a healthy diet. One of the ways that insulin resistance develops when your body experiences glucose spikes due to an improper diet. To prevent these spikes, avoid eating a carb-heavy and sugar heavy-diet. Additionally, focus on adding foods that have been found to prevent diabetes, such as whole grains, broccoli, and other fruits and vegetables to your meals. Keep in mind that what you drink is an equal part of your diet as the food you consume, so be sure that you’re drinking water instead of sodas and juices that spike your blood sugar.
Plan Your Meals
A healthy diet is not just about what you eat but also when and how much you eat. When people miss meals, they tend to overcompensate by eating larger portions at their next meal, which creates a yo-yoing of blood sugar that creates insulin resistance. Planning out your meals ahead of time helps you control your blood sugar and your portions. Eating smaller meals that are evenly spaced throughout the day keeps your glucose levels steady, making it easier for your body to filter out the sugar in your blood and keep you healthy.
Another natural way to prevent diabetes is by living an active lifestyle. Staying active gives your body the chance to burn off blood sugar with a reduced amount of insulin. You might have heard that one or two days of exercise a week is all you need to keep yourself healthy, but that’s actually a myth. The truth is that you should be working some sort of physical activity into your routine every single day— as the time you spend sitting directly counteracts the time you spend being active. A weekly routine of three days of moderate to vigorous exercise coupled with light to moderate physical activity on your off days can help naturally prevent T2D and other illnesses.
Carrying around a few extra pounds can increase the risks of you developing type 2 diabetes. That’s because having excess fat makes your body less sensitive to insulin. People who are obese or overweight are up to 80 times more likely to develop diabetes than those who have a healthy BMI. In order to reduce your chances of getting diabetes, you should work to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. The best way to do this is by eating well and exercising regularly. However, remember that just because you’re skinny doesn’t mean that you’re immune to getting type 2 diabetes. Everyone should be working to eat healthy and stay active regardless of how much they weigh.
Get Plenty of Sleep
There are plenty of benefits to getting a good night’s sleep, and one of them is that you can help prevent diabetes. The link between sleep deprivation and type 2 diabetes is a hormone imbalance, which over time can cause your body to become resistant to insulin. This deprivation can also make you hungrier, crave sugar and carbs, and make you too tired to exercise— all of which will in turn increase your risks of T2D. In order to reduce the risk of developing this disease and other health complications, try to get seven to nine hours of sleep every single night. The good news is that if you find yourself needing to break this routine, it only takes two full nights of rest to get your body back in order. However, it’s best not to break from your natural sleep schedule.