There’s a lot of focus on type 2 diabetes these days, and for good reasons. It makes up about 95 percent of high blood sugar cases and happens when the body stops using insulin as it should. That leads to higher blood sugar (glucose) levels. Over time, it can cause eye, heart, nerve and other problems.
Ready for the good news now? Diabetes is preventable. And the best way to keep a handle on your blood sugar? Eat a bit less. Move a little more. And make a few lifestyle tweaks.
SIX WAYS TO LOWER DIABETES RISK
1. Eat well. Diet and diabetes can go hand in hand. Eating a little less each day and being mindful of what’s on your plate, can help you avoid or manage it. It’s a good idea to limit or avoid high-fat, fried and processed foods. So, what should you eat?
- Fruits and veggies – Fill half of your plate with them. Try different types and colors to get more nutrients.
- Lean protein – Enjoy three ounces of poultry, fish or lean beef. Eggs, nuts and a variety of beans are also great lean protein choices.
- Whole grains – Like brown or wild rice? Quinoa or barley? They’re some excellent whole grain options. So are oats, corn and 100 percent whole wheat breads and pasta.
2. Be active. Stillness can bring illness. And you don’t have to be an athlete to keep diabetes at bay. Try to be active for at least 150 minutes each week. Walking is one top way to get your heart rate up and do your body some good. Experts also say to do muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.
3. Lose weight. Having extra fatty tissue can raise your risk for diabetes. Getting to a healthier weight can do the opposite. In fact, losing about seven percent of your total body weight can lower your diabetes risk by 60 percent. Healthy eating and exercise are keys to managing your weight. Work with your doctor to make a healthy plan for you.
4. Quit tobacco. Among all the damage that smoking can do, it can up your risk by 50 percent. How so? Smoking puts stress on your body’s cells. That can cause inflammation and other changes that give diabetes its chance to take effect.
5. Check it. Know your health numbers like blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. When they stay at healthy levels, your diabetes risk stays lower, too. Your doctor can help you know what’s normal for you.
6. Stay informed. Knowledge is power. Learning all you can about your health numbers and personal risks for diabetes is a key step to avoiding or managing it. See your doctor regularly and ask questions about your health and lifestyle.