How to reduce your risk for diabetes

Millions of people across the globe suffer from diabetes, a term used to describe a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood pressure resulting from the body’s cells not responding properly to insulin and/or inadequate insulin production. According to researchers at Australia’s Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, if the spread of type 2 diabetes continues at its current rate, there will be roughly 439 million adults with diabetes across the globe in the year 2030. Though some cases of diabetes cannot be prevented, a healthy lifestyle can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, occurring because the body does not use insulin properly. Initially, the pancreas will make extra insulin to account for the body’s resistance to insulin, but over time the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood glucose levels. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases as people age, and while there is no way to halt the aging process, there are many other ways for men, women and children to reduce their risks of developing type 2 diabetes.

• Shed those extra pounds. Being overweight increases your risk for a host of ailments, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. According to the American Diabetes Association, losing as little as 10 to 15 pounds can make a significant difference for people looking to reduce their risks of developing type 2 diabetes. When attempting to lose weight, men and women should recognize that making lifestyle changes is a more effective way to shed pounds and keep weight off than fad diets that may promise quick weight loss but tend to be less effective at keeping that weight off over the long haul. Successful weight loss typically involves a combination of physical activity and a healthy diet. Include physical activity as part of your daily routine several days per week, taking it slow at first if you have not exercised regularly in quite some time. As your body begins to adapt to exercise, you can gradually increase the intensity of your workout routines.

Adopting a healthy diet is another way to lose weight and maintain that weight loss. A diet low in calories and fat is a good start. Men and women who need to lose a significant amount of weight may want to work with a dietitian and/or nutritionist to create a meal plan that is likely to produce the best results and address any vitamin or nutrient deficiencies they might have.

• Focus on fiber. Adding more fiber to your diet is another way to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. Foods that are high in fiber tend to make people feel fuller, reducing the likelihood that you will overeat. Fiber also helps the body control its blood sugar levels, and fiber can lower a person’s risk of heart disease. Many foods include fiber, but some high-fiber foods include beans, fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

• Avoid refined carbohydrates. Studies have shown that diets rich in refined carbohydrates increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes, while additional studies have shown that diets rich in whole grains protect the body against diabetes. Researchers examining the results of several studies that explored the relationship between whole grains and diabetes found that eating an extra two servings of whole grains each day can reduce a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 21 percent. Refined carbohydrates, which can be found in white bread, white rice, mashed potatoes and many cereals, cause sustained spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, which can increase a person’s risk of diabetes.

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