If you have a family history of diabetes, or if your doctor has otherwise suggested that you might face higher odds of developing the disease, take steps as soon as possible to lower your personal risk. Prevention of a disease is always more comfortable (and affordable) than curing it! And that is particularly the case with diabetes, as those who end up needing insulin often struggle with injections, affordability, and other complications of managing their condition.
While research sometimes contradicts itself regarding correlations of daily habits and disease risk, here’s what most experts recognize as solid ways to lower diabetes risk.
Eat breakfast. Skipping breakfast sets you up to experience cravings for the rest of the day, leading to overeating and weight gain. Focus on getting enough protein and dietary fiber into this important meal.
Get up and move. You already know that exercise prevents weight gain, and therefore lowers your odds of developing type 2 diabetes. But because a sedentary lifestyle is linked to a later diagnosis of diabetes, simply moving frequently can lower your risk. If you sit all day for work, set an alarm that reminds you to get up and walk around for a few minutes.
Monitor your alcohol consumption. Small amounts of alcohol (such as one glass of wine per day) can lower your risk of certain health problems like blood clots. But too much can overtax your pancreas and lead to inflammation. Plus, excessive alcohol consumption can cause weight gain. So, keep it light to protect yourself from negative long term health effects.
Stop smoking. Smoking is linked to several different cancers, diabetes, and other diseases. And there are simply no health benefits, so give it up now before the habit catches up to you.
Avoid processed foods. Like smoking, processed foods contribute to a number of different diseases and carry no benefits. Eliminating packaged foods from your diet and eating more “whole” foods closer to their natural state will reduce your odds of a many health conditions – including diabetes.
Get enough sleep. Poor sleep habits disrupt your hormone levels and can create all sorts of imbalance in your body. Make sure you’re getting eight hours of quality sleep each night, going to bed and waking up at about the same times each day.
And of course, make sure to see your doctor regularly and undergo screenings for diabetes. When caught early, many cases of type 2 diabetes can be reversed.