How to Prevent Diabetes

Exercise, Eat Healthy

How to Prevent Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most commonly diagnosed diabetes today. Being diagnosed with a serious condition can be frightening at first. However, it is possible to manage Type 2 diabetes and in many cases it can be entirely prevented. At the root of diabetes prevention is making healthy choices when it comes to food and making some basic lifestyle changes. By making adaptations to your eating and lifestyle you can prevent some very serious health complications in the future. Untreated, diabetes can lead to other serious conditions and damage major organs like kidneys, nervous system and the heart. There are several changes that you can make before a diagnosis of diabetes or pre-diabetes that can help in preventing diabetes.

Types of Exercise

Get Enough Physical Activity

Physical activity has a multitude of benefits one of which is preventing diabetes. It also works to reduce some of the highest risk factors that can lead to developing diabetes. For instance, maintaining a reasonable weight is imperative to prevention. Being physically active can play a huge role in helping you stay inside the appropriate weight ranges for your build and age. Always talk to your health care professional about what type and amount of activity is best for your particular situation. After getting a go-ahead from your primary care, a physical activity routine including a variety of activities is beneficial.

What types of exercises should I participate in?

There are three basic types of exercises which include:


  • Strength Training
  • · Flexibility Exercises
  • · Aerobic Exercises

Strength training includes activities like lifting weights and doing exercises which are designed to strengthen and tone specific muscle groups. Flexibility exercises like stretching or yoga are beneficial for helping you maintain mobility. Aerobic exercises help get the heart rate up and strengthen your respiratory and circulatory systems. These exercises include things like running, briskly walking, dancing or swimming.

How much exercise do I need?

Most physicians and health professionals suggest about 150 minutes of moderate activities each week. This of course depends on the recommendations of your primary care. Some may be able to exercise more and some less. The point to preventing diabetes is to start where you are and build from there. Do what you can and continue to increase either the length of time you exercise or the intensity slowly over time. You can develop a plan with your health care provider that includes gradually increasing your activities while keeping it reasonable. Just 30 minutes of exercise each day can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by about 40%.

How does exercise prevent diabetes?

Being physically active helps maintain a healthy weight which can help prevent diabetes. It can also help your body manage proper blood sugar or glucose levels so that they stay inside your specific target range. Physical activity is also beneficial for helping insulin absorb glucose into the cells of the body. This is the way your body gets energy. Muscles can use up glucose a lot better than fat can; exercise helps you build muscles and lose fat. Even a small weight loss like 10 to 15 pounds can help prevent diabetes even if you don’t see a huge weight loss right at first.

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Healthy Food Choices

There is more to making healthy choices than just not eating sugar although that is advisable to help prevent diabetes. The goal is to eat a well-rounded, balanced diet with natural, whole foods. Eating more non-starchy vegetables, high fiber foods, and choosing whole grains can help your body maintain sugar and insulin levels. This is a key to preventing diabetes from developing in the first place. These eating habits also help with maintaining a healthy weight and prevents obesity which is a leading factor in the development of health conditions like diabetes.

Eat More Fiber

Fiber has many health benefits and just one of them is aiding in the prevention of diabetes. Fiber helps promote weight loss because it can help you feel fuller after consuming a meal. This helps keep you from overeating or eating less healthy choices just to fill up. It has the added benefit of lowering the risk of developing heart disease. But how does fiber help reduce the risk of developing diabetes? Fiber works in the body to improve the control of blood sugars which reduces the risk of diabetes. Sources of fiber include fresh fruits and veggies, foods with bran, brown rice, beans and peas, whole grain foods.

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Eat Whole Grains

Whole grains are also known to help the body maintain proper blood sugar levels. This helps prevent diabetes. At least half of the grains you consume should be whole grains. Be choosey when purchasing breads, pasta and cereals and look for “whole” grain options. Choose brown rice over white rice to help manage glucose. And always choose less starchy over starchy choices.

Avoid Saturated and Trans Fats

To stay on a low fat diet, choose meats that are lean. Avoid frying foods but choose baking, broiling, grilling, roasting or boiling. If you eat dairy, choose low-fat options. Use vegetable oils rather than animal fats. Try low-fat options of gravies, salad dressings, and margarines.

Avoid Fad Diets

Many of the latest fad diets can help you lose a lot of weight when you first start them. However, they are not necessarily effective for preventing diabetes in many people. Some of these diets can be dangerous for some individuals who already have medical conditions. Their long term effects are not yet fully known, but may not be as beneficial for preventing chronic or serious conditions like diabetes. When you exclude or limit one particular food group you can be missing some of the most essential nutrients the body needs. Rather than following the latest trends in dieting, try eating a variety of fresh, natural foods and limit your portions.

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Stop Smoking!

Smoking is a key risk factor for developing many chronic diseases. This includes Type 2 diabetes. There are many harmful effects from smoking that increase the risks of Type 2 diabetes. For instance, smoking can increase abdominal fat and contribute to insulin resistance. If you smoke, you should try to quit. This can be difficult, because when you stop smoking many times you will gain weight. Following advice on maintaining healthy eating habits and increasing physical activities can help you maintain a healthy weight even when you stop smoking.

Maintain Proper Sleep Habits

Besides eating properly and getting adequate amounts of exercise there are some other things that can help you prevent diabetes. Some of these things contribute to weight gain which can work against you when it comes to preventing diabetes. For instance, if you do not get enough sleep on a regular basis, your body will have a more difficult time losing weight or keeping it off. This is because when your body doesn’t get enough sleep it can’t use insulin as effectively which can lead to a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Try to develop good sleeping habits like going to bed and waking up at about the same time each day. Turn off electronic devices like computers, TVs and Smartphones when you start getting ready to head to bed. They can inhibit your ability to fall asleep. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, avoid consuming products which contain caffeine after lunch.

There are some sleep disorders which can contribute to health issues. Sleep deprivation due to sleep apnea can sap your energy and impair the hormones that help you naturally regulate eating habits. If you have a sleep disorder, discuss treatment options with your health care professional. Treatment can be the difference between struggling with Type 2 diabetes and preventing it in the first place.

Be Committed and Get Support

You will have to commit to a healthy lifestyle to be successful at preventing diabetes and other chronic conditions. It’s a conscious choice that must be made consistently with the foods you consume and the activities you embrace. Once you are committed to the journey, you may want to elicit support. It’s much easier to maintain a major lifestyle change if you have others helping you along the way. A support group can help you stay on track on your diet and exercise program. They can hold you accountable and also cheer you on to success. There are plenty of support groups that can encourage you and help you succeed. You might select to join a local health club or a fitness group to help keep you going toward your goals.

Be Consistent

Once you have determined your specific health related goals, it’s very important to remain consistent. Once you implement dietary changes to help you reach your goals of losing weight and preventing diabetes, you will need to stick with it to ensure success. If you deviate from eating healthfully, then you can increase your risks of diabetes. Sometimes you will need to make a new commitment every morning and be determined to reduce your risk factors.