Even if you’re at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes – due to a hereditary connection or gestational diabetes – there are several things you can do to minimize your risk of developing the disease. The “most important” lifestyle change you can make, according to the Global Diabetes Community, is to change your diet. “Avoiding sugary foods and drinks and refined grains – such as white bread and white rice – is a good first step,” said the community.
Any BMI of 25 or more is considered “overweight”; You can lower your BMI with a combination of diet and exercise.
The NIH recommends that people who want to prevent type 2 diabetes “have at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week.”
This can help you lose and maintain weight, which can delay the development of type 2 diabetes.
The Global Diabetes Community stated, “Exercise can help prevent diabetes in a number of ways.”
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The American Diabetes Association stated, “When your muscles contract during activity, your cells can take in glucose and use it for energy, whether or not insulin is available.”
This means that the level of glucose in the blood (i.e. blood sugar) is falling.
Exercise also increases insulin sensitivity, which means that the body’s cells can better use the available insulin to absorb glucose.
To explain, insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas when blood sugar levels rise.
Insulin is the key that enables glucose from the blood to be absorbed into the body’s cells for use as fuel.
“The effect of physical activity on your blood sugar depends on how long you are active and many other factors,” said the American Diabetes Association.
“Exercise can lower your blood sugar for up to 24 hours or more after your workout by making your body more sensitive to insulin.”
Diabetes UK charity stated that “lifestyle interventions – including diet, physical activity and sustained weight loss – can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 50 percent”.
Diet to prevent type 2 diabetes
Choose whole grain carbohydrates like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat flour, and whole wheat bread.
Other healthy sources of carbohydrates include fruits and vegetables, chickpeas, beans, lentils, and unsweetened yogurt and milk.
It’s important to “cut down on red and processed meat,” such as:
- pork meat
Instead, opt for oily fish like salmon and mackerel, which are high in omega-3s.
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