Blood Sugar Health Magic
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Blood Sugar Health Magic
kitzcorner/istockphoto

Blood Sugar Health Magic

Diabetes comes with a host of complications and costs. While Type 1 diabetes is impossible to prevent, Type 2 — the more common — is completely preventable. More than 30 million Americans have some form of the disease, and 90% to 95% of them are Type 2 and probably could have avoided the consequences, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is most common in adults over the age of 45, but it can also affect teens and, more and more often, kids, each case coming with what the American Diabetes Association calls an average $16,752 in medical costs yearly. (That's 2.3 times higher medical costs than those without.) If you could do something to prevent diabetes, wouldn't you want to start today?

Related: 14 Health Problems You're Not Getting Help For — But Should

Lose Weight …
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Lose Weight …

Being overweight — that is, having a Body Mass Index score of 25 or greater (try this BMI calculator to see), puts you at a greater risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. But every pound you lose helps, decreasing chances of developing the disease. Losing just 5% to 10% of your body weight can lower the risks drastically.

… and Keep It Off Through Portion Control
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… and Keep It Off Through Portion Control

It is possible to have a perfectly healthy diet and still be overweight and at risk for Type 2 diabetes. The key is in portion sizes: Keeping portions in check will keep your weight and other risk factors in check. Moderation is a key component in any healthy eating and prevention plan.

Related: 19 Places Where Diabetics Can Safely Eat Out

Exercise
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Exercise

Exercise helps the body circulate oxygen better to essential organs and brings many health benefits. In terms of Type 2 diabetes prevention, it helps lower blood sugar levels and increases insulin resistance. What kind of exercise works best is a tossup between cardio and resistance training, though the Mayo Clinic says a combination is the best way to cover all bases.

Related: 12 Ways to Work Out at Home and Stay Motivated

Sleep
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Sleep

Getting too little sleep consistently can increase your risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. According to the National Sleep Foundation, when you get less sleep than the body needs, it releases less insulin after eating but more of the stress hormone cortisol. The combination makes for glucose levels in the blood that are too high — and enough of that leads to Type 2 diabetes. One or two nights won't wreak too much havoc; but in general, aim for seven to nine hours of shuteye regularly.

Related: 10 Things Robbing You of Sleep, and How to Beat Them

Cut the Soda
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Cut the Soda

Refined sugars are a big boost to Type 2 diabetes risks, and one of the biggest sources of refined sugar is soda. This goes for energy drinks and other sugary beverages too. A recent study found that each one of these drinks can increase your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes by as much as 20%. Too much refined sugar decreases insulin sensitivity and causes weight gain and chronic pancreatitis, leading to Type 2 diabetes. Water is best as a primary beverage.

Related: 27 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2019

Add More Fiber
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Add More Fiber

Fiber helps bodies control blood sugar needed to prevent diabetes. Soluble fiber in particular aids in the absorption of sugar and improves blood sugar levels, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is important to get your daily fiber intake (21 to 25 grams for women, and 30 to 38 grams for men) from a wide range of foods. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts are good places to start.

Related: 15 Superfoods to Help You Eat Healthy This Winter

Quinoa
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Increase Whole Grains

Whole grains are harder to break down, therefore lowering blood sugar levels, and have been linked to a decrease in risk for Type 2 diabetes. In fact, according to the Cleveland Clinic, men can lower their risk by 34% and women by 22% just by eating the maximum recommended servings (5 servings) of whole grains a day. Good options to pick here include whole oats, whole grain barley, and quinoa. Read food labels, though — anything advertising "whole grains" should have whole grains listed as the first ingredient.

Related: 31 Foods for Diabetics That Help Keep Blood Sugar Under Control

Quit Smoking
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Stop Smoking

Smokers are 30% to 40% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, the CDC says, and if you do develop diabetes, controlling it will be much harder as a smoker. The best thing that you can do to prevent Type 2 diabetes is to stop smoking today. If you don't smoke, don't ever start.

Limit Alcohol Intake
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Limit Alcohol Intake

Drinking to excess is another factor that can contribute to Type 2 diabetes risk. One drink per day for women and two for men can actually help prevent the disease, but more than that can cause inflammation of the pancreas and affect insulin production — which can become chronic.

Related: 24 Foods Diabetics Should Avoid

Focus on Healthy
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