Type 2 diabetes is a condition that is mainly caused as a result of one’s nutrition and lifestyle choices. While genetics and age can impact a person’s susceptibility to getting type 2 diabetes, it can be prevented by monitoring, adapting, and making changes to one’s lifestyle and nutrition.
If you find yourself on the borderline of type 2 diabetes or are prone to getting type 2 diabetes as a result of genetics or family history, here are a few lifestyle changes you can make to avoid getting type 2 diabetes naturally:
Physical activity isn’t just important for your strength or appearance, but it is also essential for your health. Exercising regularly can help prevent type 2 diabetes as it boosts the insulin sensitivity of your cells. That means when you exercise at least 3 times a week for an average of 30-45 mins, you need less insulin to keep the blood sugar levels stabilized.
Cut down on sugars and refined carbs
Not all carbs are bad for your health; in fact, your body needs carbs for energy. However, refined carbs can heavily impact the risk of diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. This is because refined or simple carbs have had most of the fiber, vitamins, and minerals removed leaving them as high-calorie unhealthy foods packed with sugar.
Refined carbs and sugar foods include pastries, sodas, pasta, white rice, cereals, sweets, and many other foods most people consume on a daily basis.
Because refined carbs and sugars are digested quickly as well as have a high glycemic index, they cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels after meals and can also cause overeating leading to the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
If you’re overweight and prediabetic, one of the first things you need to do is lose that extra weight. Weight control is one of the key factors to prevent or delay diabetes. Start by losing 5-10% of your body weight, followed by a healthy diet, and trying to keep the weight off.
When a person is overweight, they usually have excess visceral fat which promotes inflammation and insulin resistance, increasing your risks of developing diabetes.
Drink more water
Making water your main beverage can help you cut down on other beverages that are high in sugar. Sugary beverages can increase blood sugar and insulin resistance, which could cause type 2 diabetes. However, substituting sugary beverages with water can help reduce your calorie intake, lower your blood sugar, and control your insulin resistance.
If you’re a smoker, it is time to quit smoking. While we know smoking can lead to serious health conditions and affects the lung and heart, there are also many types of research linking type 2 diabetes to smoking as well as exposure to second-hand smoke.
Follow a healthy diet
It’s not just enough to cut down on sugars and refined carbs, but you need to follow a healthy, balanced diet to be able to lose the weight and keep it off. Reducing carbs is one thing, but you should also include fibers in your diet as they are good for both gut health and weight management. It also helps control blood sugar levels as soluble fibers are absorbed at a slower rate.
Another nutrition tip is reducing your portions to help you manage your weight. Avoiding processed foods that contain high levels of vegetable oils, refined grains, and additives have also been proven to reduce the risk of diabetes.
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Sources used in this article:
- 13 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes – Healthline
- Why Refined Carbs Are Bad For You – Healthline
- How to prevent diabetes – Medline Plus
- Diabetes prevention: 5 Tips for Taking Control – Mayo Clinic