6 Ways to Help Prevent Diabetes

Equipment for measuring diabetes.

Many people worldwide have diabetes, but many more don't know how to prevent this disease until symptoms become apparent. (Image: via Pixabay)

Many people worldwide have diabetes, but many more don’t know how to prevent this disease until symptoms become apparent. Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy.

The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. Unfortunately, when you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should. This causes sugars to build up in your blood. This is why many people refer to diabetes as “sugar.”

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Diabetes can cause serious health complications, including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is preventable, and if you follow the recommendations below, you are well on preventing this disease.

6 ways to prevent diabetes

1. Eat right

What you eat has the most significant impact on weight loss and controlling diabetes. But a diabetic diet doesn’t have to be complicated. Your nutritional needs are virtually the same as everyone else, so no special foods are necessary. However, you need to pay attention to some of your food choices — most notably the carbohydrates you eat.

Carbohydrates significantly impact your blood sugar levels — more so than fats and proteins — so you need to be smart about what types of carbs you eat. Limit refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and rice, as well as soda, candy, packaged meals, and snack foods.

Focus on high-fiber complex carbohydrates — also known as slow-release carbs. They are digested more slowly, thus preventing your body from producing too much insulin.

Limit refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and rice, as well as soda, candy, packaged meals, and snack foods. (Image: via Pixabay)

2. Drink two tablespoons of vinegar

If you want to control any diabetes better, consume vinegar before meals and at bedtime. In a study from Arizona State University, subjects drank 20 grams of apple cider vinegar and 40 grams of water. Those with insulin resistance who drank the vinegar had 34 percent lower postprandial (after-meal) glucose than controls.

Other studies have found that vinegar at bedtime reduces fasting blood glucose in the morning, indicating that vinegar might promote insulin production.

3. Lose weight

Whether trying to prevent or control diabetes, the most important thing you can do is lose a little weight. Losing 5-10 percent of your total weight can help lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Losing weight and eating healthier can also profoundly affect your mood, energy, and sense of well-being.

4. Walk briskly for at least 30 minutes a day

Exercise is nearly as important as diet in controlling the disease. And there are few forms of exercise as easy and convenient as walking. Walking for fitness requires no special equipment other than a good pair of shoes. All you need is a street, sidewalk, shopping mall, or even the hallways of your own home.

In return, you’ll gain greater control over your chances of being diagnosed with diabetes.

But before you start, check with your doctor. Your doctor can tell you if you’re in shape to start exercising, recommend what types of exercise would be appropriate for your physical condition, and how to get started with a walking regimen.

A woman walking through a botanical garden.
Exercise is nearly as important as diet in controlling the disease. (Image: via Dreamstime)

5. Sleep between 6 and 8 hours per night

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body requires more insulin to maintain normal glucose levels. Eventually, sleeplessness causes insulin-producing cells to stop working correctly, elevating glucose levels and leaving you wide open to diabetes.

A lack of sleep can also affect food intake and weight. It’s common to compensate for lack of sleep by eating excessive food to gain energy through calories. This can cause your blood sugar levels and weight to increase and make it harder to achieve a decent amount of sleep. Then, you may find yourself in this same sleepless situation.

6. See your doctor

In addition to maintaining good living habits, a regular physical examination is a must. Knowing the changes and indicators of the body, if you find a problem, re-adjust your living habits. For example, experts suggest that people older than 45, obese, or with a family history of diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure should receive regular diabetes screenings from their doctor.

The story’s writer is not a medical professional, and the information in this story has been collected from reliable sources — and every precaution has been taken to ensure its accuracy. However, the information provided is for general purposes only and should not be substituted for professional health care.

Translated by Yi Ming

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