Diabetes is a concerning health condition that impacts blood sugar regulation and increases disease risk when not properly managed. The good news is making certain lifestyle changes can help reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Let’s explores some evidence-based strategies for avoiding diabetes.
Get Regular Physical Activity
- Regular exercise helps with blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. Aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate activity like brisk walking.
- Strength training 2-3 times a week also provides benefits for diabetes prevention by building muscle mass.
- If you are new to exercise, start slow and focus on consistency rather than intensity.
Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight
- Excess body fat, especially abdominal fat, is a primary diabetes risk factor. Losing just 5-10% of your body weight can significantly lower your risk.
- To lose weight, create a modest calorie deficit of 300-500 calories through diet, exercise, or both. Move more and reduce processed foods, sugary drinks, and portion sizes.
- Keep weight off by continuing healthy lifestyle habits. Weigh yourself regularly and make adjustments as needed.
Prioritize Whole, Minimally Processed Foods
- Focus your diet on lean proteins, vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and seeds. These provide nutrients, fiber and healthy fats.
- Limit sweets, refined grains like white bread, and processed snack foods which can spike blood sugar.
- Prepare meals at home as often as possible for better nutrition.
- Drink water, instead of sugary beverages like soda and fruit juice. Herbal tea and coffee in moderation are healthy choices too.
- Proper hydration is essential for blood sugar regulation. Aim for half you body weight in ounces of fluids, especially water, as a daily minimum.
Improve Sleep Habits
- Not getting enough high-quality sleep increases insulin resistance and diabetes risk over time.
- Try to get 7-9 hours per night. Keeping a consistent sleep/wake schedule helps regulate your circadian rhythm.
- Limit electronics use before bedtime and create a relaxing bedtime routine.
Manage Stress Levels
- Chronic stress causes your body to release hormones that raise blood sugar and promote fat storage.
- Try stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and spending time outdoors.
- Develop healthy coping strategies and make time for unwinding.
Avoiding diabetes requires making smart lifestyle choices and developing sustainable habits. Start incorporating some of these science-backed strategies today to lower your risk and safeguard your future health. Consistency with diet, activity levels, sleep and stress management plays a key role.
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