Diabetes prevention: 5 tips for taking control
1. Get more physical activity
There are many benefits to regular physical activity. Exercise can help you:
Lower your blood sugar
Boost your sensitivity to insulin — which helps keep your blood sugar within a normal range
Research shows that aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes. The greatest benefit comes from a fitness program that includes both.
2. Get plenty of fiber
It’s rough, it’s tough — and it may help you:
Reduce your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control
Lower your risk of heart disease
Promote weight loss by helping you feel full
Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and nuts.
3. Go for whole grains
It’s not clear why, but whole grains may reduce your risk of diabetes and help maintain blood sugar levels. Try to make at least half your grains whole grains. Many foods made from whole grains come ready to eat, including various breads, pasta products and cereals. Look for the word “whole” on the package and among the first few items in the ingredient list.
4. Lose extra weight
If you’re overweight, diabetes prevention may hinge on weight loss. Every pound you lose can improve your health, and you may be surprised by how much. Participants in one large study who lost a modest amount of weight — around 7 percent of initial body weight — and exercised regularly reduced the risk of developing diabetes by almost 60 percent.
5. Skip fad diets and just make healthier choices
Low-carb diets, the glycemic index diet or other fad diets may help you lose weight at first. But their effectiveness at preventing diabetes isn’t known, nor are their long-term effects. And by excluding or strictly limiting a particular food group, you may be giving up essential nutrients. Instead, make variety and portion control part of your healthy-eating plan.