Diabetes is out of control in the United States. It is currently estimated that as much as one-quarter of the population is prediabetic, which means they have above-normal blood sugar levels, which will often develop into diabetes within a decade. Most people don’t seem to give too much thought to their chances of developing diabetes and continue on with their unhealthy diets, and perhaps just hope that they won’t end up dealing with any major health problems. Those who decide to take a proactive approach to their health can make a tremendous difference in their chances of developing diabetes, and here are some ways you can do it, too.
1. Slim Down
Being overweight or obese ratchets up your risk of diabetes dramatically. What’s surprising is that even dropping a modest amount of weight may reduce the risk of diabetes. Even people that were significantly overweight can reduce their risk by up to 70 percent just by shedding 5 percent of their body weight.
2. Helpful Appetizers
A small change in diet can help keep blood sugar levels from getting too high. A study out of Arizona State University found that people who have type 2 diabetes had lower blood sugar levels if they simply had two tablespoons of vinegar before they had a meal that was high in carbohydrates. It’s the acetic acid in vinegar that may slow down the digestion of carbs, and keep blood sugar levels down. You don’t have to take vinegar straight from the bottle to enjoy the benefits since it is an ingredient that is easily worked into a salad dressing to use before the main course.
3. Move It!
Everyone knows exercise is healthy for you and can reduce the risk of many serious health problems. You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or run marathons to enjoy the benefits of exercise, however. Walking is an excellent way to get in that beneficial exercise, and you don’t have to overdo it. A research study in Finland found that people that exercised just 35 minutes a day cut their risk of developing diabetes by a whopping 80 percent, even if they didn’t lose any weight! Taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood for 35 minutes is a pretty easy way to help keep diabetes at bay.
4. Cereal Selection
Breakfast cereals are wildly popular choices for a quick and easy breakfast. A staggering variety of cereal lines supermarket shelves, and includes many brands that are loaded with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. Choose a cereal with a lot of whole grains, which can help lower your risk of diabetes, as well as high blood pressure, stroke and even breast cancer. Stay clear of the brands with lots of sugar, and be aware of all the creative ways manufacturers can disguise sugar using other names for it.
5. Coffee Break
There has been some disagreement among the experts over the years regarding the benefits, or the harm coffee consumption can do to your health. More recently, researchers are concluding that coffee may be one of the good guys after all. Harvard conducted a study that lasted for 18 years which found that people who drank six or more cups of coffee per day had between a 29 and 54 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
6. Limit Fast Food
Fast food, as we have all heard, is not the best choice if you want to stay healthy. In addition to all the other negative health consequences that go along with being a frequent fast food customer, medical research has revealed that people eating fast food more than twice per week gained 10 pounds and developed twice the normal rate of insulin resistance, which can put you in the fast lane towards diabetes.
7. Reduce Red Meat
A study that included 37,000 women that was conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that women who included red meat in their diet at last five times per week were 29 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Processed meats were even worse, and eating them five or more times per week raised the type 2 diabetes risk by a whopping 43 percent! Try to include more vegetables in your diet to take the place of eating red and processed meats so often.
8. The Spice of Life
Spices are more than just tasty. In fact, medical research carried out in Germany discovered that people who took a capsule that equaled about 1 gram of cinnamon three times a day for four months had reduced their blood sugar levels by 10 percent. In addition, it is believed that cinnamon may also help lower both cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood that may contribute to the risk of developing diabetes.
9. Stamp Out Stress
Stress is showing up more and more these days as something that can have numerous negative effects on health, and it appears that the risk of developing diabetes is another one that can be added to the list. Stress triggers the body’s panic mode, otherwise known as “fight or flight,” which causes blood sugar levels to rise. Insulin-resistant cells can lead to an accumulation of blood sugar, which can then cause diabetes. There are numerous ways to fight stress, so if you are suffering from too much of it in your life, pick the method that best suits you and commit to it.
In contrast to all the negative things we know about stress, the opposite is true for sleep, although even that should not be overdone. Yale University conducted a study that found that sleeping six hours per night or less doubled the risk of developing diabetes. Worse yet, sleeping for more than eight hours per night tripled the risk! These findings reinforce the recommendations that have been established that suggest between seven and eight hours of sleep per night.
Social interaction is revealing itself as something that’s more beneficial for health than we may have realized years ago. Research has indicated that women who live alone are two-and-a-half times more likely to develop diabetes than those who share their domicile with others. It could be that bad habits are more likely for people who live alone, and those may include smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.