Type 2 diabetes is sometimes described as a 'lifestyle disease'. This is because the disease is more common in people who lead a sedentary lifestyle and who do not get enough physical activity, making them overweight or obese. In fact, type 2 diabetes is strongly linked with high blood pressure and an 'apple'-shaped body (where excess weight is carried around the waist).
Family history and a poor diet also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes significantly. While there aren't sure shot ways of preventing the disease, you can definitely take positive steps to reduce your risk of developing the disease by focusing on things such as making healthier food choices and improving your level of physical activity.
Here are five things you can do now to decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Exercise makes your insulin more effective. By exercising, you maintain optimum muscular function which improves your sensitivity to insulin, thus ensuring stable glucose levels. Researchers have found that exercising at least for 30 minutes a day, five days a week can significantly lower your risk for type 2 diabetes.
2) Lose Weight
In one study, being overweight or obese was the single most common factor contributing towards developing type 2 diabetes. If you’re overweight, then shedding weight must be your preferred goal towards reducing your risk. Participants who lost a modest amount of weight—around seven percent of initial body weight—and exercised regularly cut their risks of developing type 2 diabetes by almost 60 percent as proved by another study.
3) Get Plenty Of Fiber
Foods high in fiber reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by improving your blood sugar levels, and promoting weight loss by helping you feel full. Foods that are high in fiber have a low glycemic index (do not cause a spike in blood sugar levels). Some good high-fiber food choices include spinach, chard, kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, artichokes, berries (especially blackberries and raspberries), apples, and pears.
4) Flavor Your Food With Spices
Certain spices can be instrumental in improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon improves glucose tolerance and has the ability to interfere with the creation of glycation products—substances that cause oxidative damage to blood vessel linings. Another effective spice is turmeric, which contains the compound curcumin that helps improve insulin sensitivity. It has traditionally been used in Ayurveda to reduce blood sugar levels.
5) Get Your Blood Sugar Tested
The American Diabetes Association recommends a blood glucose screening if you're above the age of 45 or even if you're below the age of 45, but are overweight or have a family history of diabetes. Testing for blood sugar once every six months can warn you of your risk of developing prediabetes—a stage in which a person has high blood sugar but does not show all the symptoms of being a diabetic. With the right medicines, prediabetes is seen as the potentially reversible stage for the development of type 2 diabetes. While there is no guarantee that prediabetes can be reversed, you can certainly reduce the risk of its progression to type 2 diabetes.
Share your concerns with your doctor and seek guidance according to your medical history for decreasing your risk for type 2 diabetes.