Diabetes affects millions of people on a worldwide level and is considered a chronic disease. Uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes can lead to further complications and ailments such as kidney failure, blindness, heart disease and others.
Before diabetes occurs, there is a period when blood glucose levels remain high, but not so high as to be called diabetes. This is referred to as prediabetes.
According to certain estimations, about 70% of those diagnosed with prediabetes will eventually develop type II diabetes. But thankfully, the progression from prediabetes to diabetes is not inevitable.
And while there are some risk factors you have no control over (such as your genes, past behavior, and age), there are still plenty of things you can do to prevent diabetes from occurring. We’d like to present you with 15 ways on how to prevent diabetes naturally.
Proven Steps to Prevent Diabetes Naturally
1. Cutting Sugars and Refined Carbs
This can increase any risk you have of developing diabetes, as both sugar and refined carbohydrates serve to increase your blood glucose levels and insulin levels. This is why it’s so important to avoid such foods, as it will surely prevent diabetes.
There are many studies which prove this to be true. A detailed analysis of 37 studies discovered that individuals who had the highest fast-digesting carb intakes had a 40% higher chance of developing diabetes in comparison to those who had the lowest intakes.
2. Regular Work Out
Another way you can lower your risk is through regular physical activity. Were you aware that exercising increases your cells’ sensitivity to insulin? Which means that when you work out, maintaining your blood glucose levels is easier and requires less insulin.
One particular study involving those with prediabetes made a crucial discovery. Those who did moderate exercise increased their sensitivity to insulin by 51%. Those who did higher-intensity exercise increased it by as much as 85%! But it’s important to note that this occurred strictly on workout days.
Indeed, not just prediabetic adults, but also those who are obese or overweight, benefited from such activity, which successfully reduced blood sugar and insulin resistance. Such exercises were, among others, short and intense exercises, strength training, interval training, and aerobic workouts.
More frequent workout seems to be beneficial when it comes to improving function and insulin response. A study conducted on this subject stated that burning over 2000 calories a week through exercising was needed to achieve the benefits mentioned prior.
So, the most important thing is to choose an activity (or activities) you enjoy and can do on a regular basis without quitting after some time.
3. Water Should Be Your Primary Beverage
We are sure we don’t need to inform you that water is by far the healthiest and most natural beverage one can drink.
After all, by sticking to water, you will avoid all those unhealthy beverages which are more sugar than anything else. Not to mention some other questionable ingredients, including preservatives.
We believe the fact that such beverages like punch and soda have been connected to the potential development of type 2 diabetes. But also, LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults).
One should also take this study into consideration, which observed the risk of type II diabetes in 2,800 individuals.
Another research claimed that neither fruit juice, not beverages which are artificially sweetened were proper beverages for the prevention of diabetes.
In comparison, drinking water may prove beneficial, particularly improved insulin response and blood glucose control. At least according to this study, as well as this one.
And yet another study which lasted 24 weeks observed overweight adults who, while following a weight-loss regime, replaced any diet sodas with water. The results were a decrease in their lower fasting blood glucose and insulin resistance, as well as lower insulin levels.
4. If You’re Overweight or Obese, Lose Weight
While not every single individual diagnosed with type II diabetes is overweight, a large percentage are. Furthermore, people with prediabetes usually carry excess fat around their abdominal area, which is called visceral fat.
This type of fat promotes both insulin resistance and inflammation, which increases one’s diabetes risk significantly.
And even though losing just a little will prove beneficial, many studies have suggested that the more weight you shed, the less your chances of developing diabetes. This is proven by a study involving 1000 individuals.
You don’t have to starve yourself in order to lose weight. Choose the healthier methods, such as the paleo, vegetarian and Mediterranean diets. Sticking to this new healthy daily diet will also make sure you maintain your weight-loss.
One other study discovered that obese people, after losing weight and experiencing an improvement in their insulin levels and blood glucose levels, saw an elevation in these same levels the moment they gained either a portion or the entire weight they had lost.
5. Quit Smoking
While this may sound cliché, you’d be doing your health and body a huge favor by quitting smoking, if you happen to be a smoker in the first place. Smoking has been linked to a vast number of illnesses, with emphysema, heart disease, and cancer being just a few examples.
This includes cancer of the breast, digestive tract, prostate, and lungs. Even something like second-hand smoking has been linked to type II diabetes. This is all according to an analysis of several studies. This goes particularly for heavy smokers.
Another study observed the risk in adult male smokers. 5 years after they had quit their risk was reduced by 13%. And in the long run, namely, after 20 years, their risk was the same as that of those who had never smoked in the first place.
6. Following a Low Carb Diet
Following a low-carb or ketogenic diet can surly help you to prevent diabetes. And it’s not like only low-carb diets will do the trick, though they have the most scientific evidence backing them up.
People have constantly reported an increase in their insulin sensitivity. As well as a decrease in their insulin levels and blood glucose levels. A study which lasted 12 weeks further proved this.
It’s common knowledge that if one limits his or her carbohydrate intake during a meal, their blood sugar levels will not rise nearly as much. Ketogenic or low-carb diets have also shown to reduce one’s fasting blood sugar.
Not to mention improving your general health and losing some excess weight. A number of studies have bared witness to this.
7. Keep an Eye on Your Portion Sizes
Even if you choose not to limit your carbs, you should still try and limit your portion size. Studies have proven time and time again how eating large meal portions at once (as opposed to smaller one throughout your day) has led to much higher insulin and blood sugar levels.
This goes particularly for someone who already happens to be overweight. The opposite is true as well: cutting portion sizes is sure to reduce any diabetes risk.
In fact, a study lasting 2 years and involving men with prediabetes, discovered that those who practiced healthy nutrition habits and reduced their portions saw a 46% decrease in their risk of diabetes compared to those who didn’t make any lifestyle changes.
A different study witnessed a group which controlled their portion sizes, lower both their insulin and blood sugar levels during the course of 12 weeks. Which, naturally also increased the percent to prevent diabetes.
8. Avoid a Sedentary Lifestyle
This is an especially important step to prevent diabetes. A sedentary lifestyle is when a person does little or no physical activity throughout their day. A number of observational studies have witnessed a clear connection between such a lifestyle and a larger risk of developing diabetes.
As many as 47 studies claim that those who spent most of their days sitting down had an increase of 91% of their diabetes risk. It’s not like you need to make some core changes. Anything as simple as taking short walks and moving around throughout the day.
Also, if you happen to have a desk job, it would do your health a world of good if you stood up and moved around for just a couple of minutes every hour. And yes, we know how hard it is to make changes in your way of life. Old habits, indeed, die hard.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim to make improvements, as they will be well worth it. One 12-month study gave young adults a special program for changing their sedentary lifestyle. Unfortunately, after this study had ended, researchers observed that the participants did not decrease their sitting time.
That’s why it’s crucial to start off with baby steps. In other words, set achievable and realistic goals. A good example is choosing the stairs instead of the elevator and standing while chatting on the phone. This is a great start of reducing any sitting tendencies. And once again, it will be well worth the effort.