Others want to prevent diabetes because they’ve made some choices that have put them at risk.
We all want to change things before we have that daunting conversation with our doctors.
Whatever has caused you to start thinking about diabetes, one thing is constant across the board – if you’re reading this article, you’re ready to find natural, healthy ways to prevent diabetes.
You probably know that you need to lose weight. You may even be working on that, already.
But what about other factors besides weight? Are there other steps you can take to help turn back the tide, or perhaps prevent diabetes completely?
There are! And they’re even surprisingly easy, common sense steps.
So let’s take a look at the five easiest ways to prevent diabetes –
1. Watch Your Diet, Not Just Your Weight
Losing weight is a key component in preventing diabetes. But it’s important to remember to watch what you eat as well as what you don’t eat. As important as cutting calories is, when it comes to preventing diabetes, it’s equally as important to get your calories from the right places.
Carbohydrates aren’t necessarily a no-no when you’re trying to prevent diabetes. You just need to choose wisely. Make sure you’re getting plenty of whole grain carbohydrates. See, processed carbohydrates – especially white flour products – can cause your blood sugar to spike.
But whole grains can actually work with your body to keep your blood sugar levels in a normal range. So much so that in several studies women who eat two to three servings of whole grains per day are significantly less likely to develop diabetes than women who eat fewer whole grains.
More generally, remember that “good” fats – the kind from fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil – are, well, good for you, and avoid the trans fats found in margarine and other packaged foods. Skipping sodas, but adding coffee or tea to your day can help prevent diabetes. And of course, load up on your vegetables.
2. Move Every Day
Not only will moving every day help you lose weight, it helps prevent diabetes in its own right too. When you exercise, you work your muscles, which improves how they use insulin and manage glucose.
And while you can get into an intense workout if you want, you don’t have to. There’s at least one study that indicates 30-40 minutes of walking is enough to help you prevent diabetes, even if you don’t lose weight.
Plus, moving – if it’s walking, stretching, or something more intense – will help reduce stress. Which is good because…
3. You Need to Find a Way to Relax
Stress itself can contribute to diabetes. When you get stressed, your body floods its system with adrenaline – and spikes blood sugar levels. Technically, it’s a survival technique to ensure you have all the energy you need to face the emergency.
But modern life presents you with stressors that aren’t about survival – your body just doesn’t realize that, so it responds as if each stressful situation is a full-on, life-threatening emergency.
Stress hormones also cause blood sugar levels to rise. So when you’re stressed, you’re raising your blood sugar levels on a couple of different levels.
The more this happens, the more glucose gets stored in your blood. But, if you can control your stress and relax, your body won’t cause your blood sugar to spike.
If you’re too busy, cut back on your obligations. Consider finding a yoga class, or learning to meditate. Even just taking a few deep breaths from your diaphragm before any activity or decision can help prevent diabetes by reducing your stress levels.
4. Enjoy the Occasional Drink
Being an adult means being able to indulge every now and then – and preventing diabetes doesn’t have to stop that completely. You may know that a nightly glass of wine is good for your heart.
Studies are beginning to show that that same glass of wine may also help prevent diabetes. A glass of wine (or two, for men) appears to help the body deal with insulin more efficiently, helping keep your blood sugar levels balanced.
If you don’t drink, you don’t have to start. But if you do, you don’t have to give up your occasional glass of wine just to help prevent diabetes.
5. Remember, Adults Need Sleep Too
Children aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a good night’s sleep. Not sleeping well can contribute to diabetes and prediabetes on two levels.
First, not getting a good night’s sleep can hamper weight loss efforts. Secondly, if you’re sleep deprived, your body doesn’t use insulin as efficiently, thus increasing your risk of diabetes.
So how much is enough sleep? According to some studies, there’s a sleep sweet spot. People who get less than six hours or sleep or more than eight hours increase their risk of diabetes. So aim for six to eight hours of sleep, and maximize your sleep benefits.
And those five steps are how you start to prevent diabetes.
No crazy, fad diets. No expensive retreat centers. Just easy changes you can incorporate into your daily life that can help you prevent diabetes, naturally.