Easy Ways To Prevent Diabetes

Diabetes has no clear causes, but there are many factors that can affect your risk. Lifestyle plays a huge role in diabetes prevention and survival, as well as diet and family history. If you are at risk for diabetes due to genetics or other factors, or you just want to lower your risk, use these easy, effective strategies to reduce your risk.

  1. Eat something in the morning, whether it’s a big breakfast or a small snack. Eating within an hour of waking up dramatically reduces your hunger for the rest of the day, and can reduce your risk of diabetes by 34 percent. It doesn’t have to be a traditional breakfast, either. Even just grabbing an apple or some crackers in the morning will help. Keep a box of granola bars near your bed if you like to sleep in, just to get an early jump start on your metabolism. Some of the best foods for prevention are peaches, plums and nectarines, which contain bioactive compounds that actually reduce your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
  2. Get plenty of sleep. Sleeping less than 6 hours a night is associated with a 60% higher rate of diabetes. One theory for this is that your appetite-regulating hormones go haywire if they are not fully rested. Lack of sleep increases the desire for sugary and salty foods, and also raises insulin levels and causes blood sugar imbalances. If you experience insomnia, you should see a sleep doctor to learn strategies for falling asleep. It is recommended that you turn off all electronics prior to bed, and maintain a healthy sleep routine.
  3. Eat less meat and more fruits. Not only does this prevent diabetes, but it also reduces your risk for many cancers and heart conditions. Two servings a day of fruit or vegetables is the minimum amount you should be eating. Processed meats, including hotdogs, sausages, and deli meats, are some of the worst foods for your metabolism. Subjects in a study at the University of Washington were at a 63% higher risk of diabetes if they are processed meats twice a week.
  4. Quit smoking. Cigarettes not only increase your risk for lung cancer, but they raise your likelihood of developing diabetes by 40 percent. Even if you already smoke, you can dramatically lower your risk by quitting. If you are afraid of gaining weight after smoking, researchers have found that a gain of 10 pounds or less will not affect your health, and the benefits of quitting smoking outweigh the risk of gaining weight.
  5. Exercise a little bit every day. This can include walking, jogging, stretching, yoga, or anything that gets you on your feet and off the couch. Doctors recommend 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week, or about 20 minutes a day. Start small, with walks around the block or lifting weights in the house, and gradually work into a healthy exercise regime. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, just enough to get your legs moving for 20 minutes a day.

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