6 Ways to Help Prevent Diabetes

Patients with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure have double the risk of contracting cancer as compared to non-sufferers. (Image:  Robert Couse-Baker via  flickr  CC BY 2.0 )
Patients with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure have double the risk of contracting cancer as compared to non-sufferers. (Image: Robert Couse-Baker via flickr CC BY 2.0 )

Many people in the world suffer from diabetes, but many more don’t know how to prevent this disease until symptoms become apparent. Diabetes is the 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. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugars to build up in your blood. This is why many people refer to diabetes as “sugar.”

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 can follow the five recommendations below, you are well on their way to preventing this disease.

1. Eat right

What you eat has the biggest 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. You just need to pay attention to some of your food choices — most notably the carbohydrates you eat.

Carbohydrates have a big impact on 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.

What you eat has the biggest impact on weight loss and controlling diabetes. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

What you eat has the biggest impact on weight loss and controlling diabetes. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

2. Drink two tablespoons of vinegar

If you want to control any type of diabetes better, consume vinegar before meals and at bedtime. In a study from Arizona State University, subjects took a drink of 20 grams of apple cider vinegar, 40 grams of water. Those with insulin resistance who drank the vinegar had 34 percentlower postprandial (after-meal) glucose compared to 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 you’re trying to prevent or control diabetes, the most important thing you can do is to lose a little weight. Losing just 5-10 percent of your total weight can help you lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Losing weight and eating healthier can also have a profound effect on your mood, energy, and sense of wellbeing.

4. Walk briskly at least 30 minutes a day

There are few forms of exercise as easy and convenient as walking. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

There are few forms of exercise as easy and convenient as walking. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

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, and can recommend what types of exercise would be appropriate for your physical condition, as well as how to get started with a walking regimen.

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 properly, 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 a lack of sleep by eating an excess amount of food to try 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.

A lack of sleep can also affect food intake and weight. (Image: Rachel via flicker / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A lack of sleep can also affect food intake and weight. (Image: Rachel via flicker / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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. Experts suggest that people who are older than 45, obese, or with a family history of diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure should receive regular diabetes screenings by their doctor.

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

Translated by Yi Ming

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