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10 ways to prevent diabetes

Last updated on: August 8, 2011 16:23 IST

10 ways to prevent diabetes

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Aparupa Saikia, Lifemojo.com

Diabetes is a disease that has ruined the lives of many people and forced them to lead a compromised lifestyle.

It could lead to many complications in later life, such as diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy, diabetic nephropathy, glaucoma, etc. As the number of diabetic cases continues to rise, it could soon become one of the highest causes of death in the world.

As with any other medical condition, knowing how to prevent diabetes is worth much more than a pound of cure.

The best way to avoid diabetes is to bring about some not-so-difficult lifestyle modifications. Since there is no known cure for diabetes, taking steps to prevent the development of diabetes is very crucial.

Click on NEXT for steps you can take to avoid diabetes...

LifeMojo is one of the most trusted source of information about good health and wellness. To those who want to manage their health themselves, LifeMojo provides necessary information, tips, tracking tools and support to help them stay informed and motivated.



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Steps you can take to avoid diabetes

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Once you realize you are pre-diabetic (having slightly elevated blood sugar levels) or if you have a family history of diabetes, it is time to take positive action to prevent diabetes. Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Weight management

Obesity is ranked as the highest risk factor for type 2 diabetes, so strive to maintain a healthy weight. According to an estimate for every 20 percent increase in your weight over desirable body weight, the chances to develop diabetes doubles.

Experts are of the opinion that losing even 5 percent of weight will tip the scale in your favour towards prevention of diabetes. Therefore, follow a strict diet chart and a regular exercise routine that can bring down your weight and help you maintain it.


Image: Obesity is ranked as the highest risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
Photographs: Rediff Archives
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2. Active lifestyle

A sedentary lifestyle increases your chances of getting diabetes manifold. Get physically active and strengthen your body for utilizing the hormone insulin more efficiently.

Moreover, exercising regularly helps you lose weight, which further reduces your risk of developing diabetes. Increasing your daily levels of physical activity can go a long way in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes.


Image: Get physically active and strengthen your body for utilizing the hormone insulin more efficiently.
Photographs: Rediff Archives
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3. Avoid red meats and processed meats

The cholesterol content in these can put you at a higher risk of developing diabetes.

A study conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital found that women who ate red meat daily were at 29 percent higher risk of developing diabetes compared to women who ate less than once a week.

Similarly, eating processed foods like salami, bacon, sausage, nuggets, ham and meat balls raised the risk by 43 percent.


Image: The cholesterol content in red meat can put you at a higher risk of developing diabetes.
Photographs: Jon Sullivan/Wikimedia Commons
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4. Cinnamon powder

Scientists believe that compounds present in cinnamon powder can activate the enzyme that stimulates insulin receptors.

Cinnamon also helps in lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, and fats present in the blood, thus lowering the risk of developing diabetes.


Image: Compounds present in cinnamon powder can activate the enzyme that stimulates insulin receptors.
Photographs: Luc Viatour/Creative Commons
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Steps you can take to avoid diabetes

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5. Enjoy caffeine

About 4 to 5 cups of coffee intake has actually shown to reduce the risk of diabetes by as much as 29 percent. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health arrived at this figure after studying 126,210 women coffee drinkers.

Scientists are of the opinion that caffeine may help boost the metabolism. Also, caffeine contains antioxidants, potassium, and magnesium that help with the absorption of sugar by the cells.


Image: Caffeine may help boost metabolism.
Photographs: Evan Swigart, Chicago, USA/Wikimedia Commons
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6. Stress management

Stress is a major contributor of high blood sugar levels apart from raising your heart beat and respiratory rates preparing your body for the fight-or-flight mode.

Teach your body to relax throughout the day irrespective of what activities you are engaging in. Teach yourself some stress management techniques like yoga or meditation and start your day with these.

Practice deep breathing techniques whenever you find yourself a little stressed.  When this becomes a way of life, you can prevent the onset of diabetes.


Image: Stress is a major contributor of high blood sugar levels.
Photographs: Rediff Archives
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7. Low carb diet

It is a well known fact that high carbohydrate intake is contraindicated for people who have diabetes.

Now, research indicates that high carbohydrate intake can put pre-diabetics at an increased risk of developing diabetes. In order to prevent diabetes, go slow on carbohydrate foods.


Image: A low-carb diet can help prevent diabetes.
Photographs: Rediff Archives
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8. Ditch fast food

Fast foods contain refined carbs, excess sugar and salt, and trans-fats, hence regular intake could 'fast-track' you into the 'danger-zone.'

In a study conducted by Minnesota scientists, 3,000 people of normal weight, in the age group of 18 to 30 were observed closely. Those who ate fast food more than twice a week developed twice the rate of insulin resistance and gained 10 pounds (around 4.5 kg) more weight compared to those who ate fast food less than once a week.

Keep an 'emergency hunger pack' of nuts or fruits rather than stop at one of the fast-food joints when hunger strikes.


Image: Those who ate fast food more than twice a week developed twice the rate of insulin resistance.
Photographs: Joshua Lott/Reuters
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9. Add fibre

Enrich your diet with high-fibre foods. Avoid or reduce foods that have refined flours considerably.

While shopping, look out for terms like 'high fibre' and 'whole grains.' Include brown rice, unrefined wheat products, barley, oats, etc. Opt for whole wheat bread.

Intake of high fibre and whole grain products lowers your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Stay clear of things like corn sweetener, maltose, malt syrup, brown sugar, invert sugar, molasses, sucrose, etc., as these contain added sugar.


Image: Enrich your diet with high-fibre foods.
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons
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10. Exercise your way to health

A Finnish study found that people who exercised for about 35 minutes a day had 80 percent less risk of developing diabetes compared to who did not.

Experts are of the opinion that exercise helps increase the number of insulin receptors in the cells, thereby enabling them to utilize the hormone insulin more efficiently and helping the blood sugar move into cells.

A popular study, The Nurses' Health Study found that women who exercised more than once a week reduced the risk of becoming diabetic by 30 percent.

Everyone who is above 45 years of age, and youngsters who have a family history of diabetes, should have once in 2 years blood sugar levels tested, so that you can take precautionary measures aggressively if you happen to fall in the pre-diabetes category.

Image: Exercise your way to health.
Photographs: Mike Baird/Creative Commons
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