7 Tips for Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

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Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, is one of the fastest growing diseases in America. It affects more than 24 million Americans. While genetic factors can affect your likelihood of being diagnosed with diabetes, the disease is largely attributed to lifestyle and behavioral factors. Here are a few simple tips to preventing type 2 diabetes.

1. Stop smoking today.

Along with a host of other illnesses associated with smoking, smokers are more than 50% more likely to develop diabetes than non-smokers. This risk is higher for heavy smokers. So, if you were thinking about quitting before, now is the time to stop. You can quit cold turkey or try nicotine patches, but, if preventing type 2 diabetes is your goal, quit smoking today.

2. Limit your intake of sugary foods.

Sugary foods and beverages have a high glycemic load, which causes a large spike in your blood sugar and insulin levels. This can strain the delicate balance of insulin in your body. Try to limit your intake of sugary drinks and snacks, instead opting for healthier options like coffee, tea or water instead of soda or juice and vegetables and fruits instead of candy.

3. Pick whole grains over processed carbs.

While it may seem counter-intuitive, more difficult to digest carbohydrates are actually much healthier for you. Whole grains are complex and require time for the body to break down. They lower the spike of blood sugar and overall insulin levels in your system. Instead of processed carbohydrates like white bread, donuts or bagels, opt for foods with a lower glycemic index. Whole grains like wheat bread, brown rice and whole wheat crackers are a great place to start.

4. Exercise

Studies have shown that being obese is linked closely to type 2 diabetes, so turn off your television and get to moving. Walking even 10 minutes a day is enough to significantly lower your chances or developing type 2 diabetes and a host of other illnesses. Once you’ve consistently been walking, increase the pace and length of your walks or even try jogging. Working your muscles and cardiovascular system helps your body efficiently produce insulin.

5. Have a glass of wine

Moderate alcohol consumption may be linked to lowered instances of heart disease and diabetes. Moderate alcohol consumption (one drink a day for women and two for men) increases the efficiency of insulin, but it’s important not to drink more than that or the effects may be reversed. Wine has a less calories than beer and may be a preferable option for those trying to lose weight.

6. Eat less red meat

The iron content in red meat has been shown to diminish insulin’s effectiveness. Nitrates in preservatives used in meat may be the cause of this problem. Instead of red meat, try to incorporate more poultry and fish into your diet, or opt for vegetarian sources of protein such as tofu or nuts.

7. Avoid saturated and trans fats

The type of fats in your diet can affect your likelihood of developing diabetes. Saturated and trans fats. found in margarine and foods fried in vegetable oil, have been shown to have numerous negative effects on your body. Polyunsaturated fats, found in certain nuts and fish, are a healthier option.

Although genes play a role in your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, there are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to prevent developing the illness. These choices have a variety of benefits for the body outside of preventing type 2 diabetes as well, so consider adopting a few or all of these tips to help your body stay healthy.

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