Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes – about 9 of 10 people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can occur at any age, but it is more common in older people, mainly on those who are overweight. Certain ethnic groups, including African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Pacific Islander, also tend to be more prone to developing it.
Type 2 diabetes occurs due to insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s cells do not respond to insulin normally. As a result, blood sugar does not get into the cells to be used for energy. When blood sugar cannot enter the cells, it stays in the bloodstream and cause builds up of sugar in the blood.
This high blood sugar can cause many complications, including blindness, heart disease, kidney problems, nerve damage, and erectile dysfunction. Fortunately, by making small changes in your lifestyle, you can greatly reduce your risk of getting these complications. Here are some ways that you can take to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes and keep your body healthy.
1. Be physical active
Physical active is one of the most effective ways to prevent type 2 diabetes. It can improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin, thus keep your blood glucose levels stable.
Adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week, plus two or more days of muscle strength activity.
Moderate exercises include activities like walking around the block or cycling around the park. Vigorous exercises would be running or jogging, swimming laps in the pool, or jumping rope.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
If you are obese or overweight, maintaining a normal body weight is an important part of reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes. Being more active and eating healthier are great ways to help manage your weight. The key to maintain a normal weight is by balancing the amount of calories you consume with the activity you do every day.
3. Reduce your sugar intake
Consuming too much sugar is associated with obesity and increased blood sugar, both of which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Therefore, cutting out sugar from your diet will significantly reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Heart & Stroke recommends you consume no more than 10% total calories per day from added sugars, and ideally less than 5%; 10% is about 48 grams (or 12 teaspoons) of added sugars. One can of Pepsi contains about 41 grams of daily added sugar.
Foods that are high in added sugar include soft drinks, cakes, cookies, candies, muffins, pastries, and ice cream.
4. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains
Studies have shown that diets rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grain can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In one recent study, researchers examined blood levels of vitamin C and carotenoids (plant pigments which give some fruit and vegetables their bright color) as an indicator of fruit and vegetable intake.
Findings showed that consuming 66 additional grams of fruit and vegetables per day was associated with a 25% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes .
In a meta-analysis of three prospective studies, people with the highest intake of whole grain foods had a 29% lower rate of type 2 diabetes compared with those who ate the least .
5. Avoid red and processed meats
Several studies have suggested that consuming too much of red meat and processed meat can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
In one study, researchers observed a group of men and women for four years. They found that those who increased their red meat intake by half a serving per day had a 48 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who had not changed their diet. Those who reduced their red meat intake, on the other hand, had a lower risk .
Another study found that processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, deli meats) are especially bad for you, particularly in women . It is believed that the preservatives, additives and chemicals that are added to the meat during manufacturing can harm your pancreas and increase insulin resistance.
Avoiding or swapping out red meat or processed red meat for a healthier protein source, such as fish, poultry, or low-fat dairy, can significantly lower your risk of diabetes.
6. Choose healthy fats
The types of fats that are included in your diet can also affect the development of diabetes. A study conducted by researchers at Uppsala University suggests that replacing saturated and trans fats in the diet with polyunsaturated fat found in plant-based oils, nuts, and seeds, can help ward off type 2 diabetes .
However, the study indicates that eating polyunsaturated from fish, such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel, does not protect against diabetes, even though there is much evidence that these marine omega-3 fats may help prevent heart disease.
7. Don’t smoke cigarette
Smoking can pose many health problems, including the risk of type 2 diabetes. This is because the nicotine found in tobacco can weaken insulin action and leads to insulin resistance.
When cells become resistant to insulin, they are unable to move glucose from the blood into the cells. The result is a rise in blood glucose levels. And the more cigarettes you smoke, the higher your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you do smoke, stop now. The sooner you quit, the better it for you.
8. Drink alcohol in moderation
A study published in the journal Diabetes Care suggests that moderate alcohol consumption may actually decrease a person’s risk for developing type 2 diabetes .
However, the same study also showed that excessive alcohol consumption increased the risk for developing the condition in women.
Alcohol is full of empty calories, which can lead to obesity – a major risk factor for diabetes. Excess alcohol intake may also interfere with the body’s sensitivity to insulin. This results in high blood sugar levels.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that men should not have more than two drinks in one day and women should not have more than one.
9. Manage stress
If you’re stressed, your body releases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones make it harder for insulin to work properly, known as insulin resistance. As a result, your blood sugar levels rise.
Learning to manage your stress is important to control your blood sugar and reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Here are some tips to get you started.