Diabetes has been a growing public health problem around the world. According to the World Health Organization, 347 million people worldwide have diabetes. This metabolic disease is also the fourth leading cause of death in the world.

Anyone who is overweight, has high blood pressure or has a family history of the disease is at high risk of diabetes.  In observance of the National Diabetes Month and World Diabetes Day on Nov 14, we have listed 10 prevention tips to avoid diabetes and to ensure you never get it, which could mean a lifetime of drugs and blood sugar monitoring, and serious health complications.

Changing your lifestyle is a big move toward diabetes prevention — and it’s never too late to start.

1. Shed those extra pounds.

Being overweight puts added pressure on the body’s ability to properly control blood sugar using insulin and therefore makes it much more likely for you to develop diabetes. According to Obesity.org, almost 90% of people with type 2 diabetes in the United States are overweight. Studies showed small amounts of weight loss in the range of 5-10% can prevent the development of type 2 diabetes among high-risk adults.

2.  Make healthy food choices.

It’s time to take control of what you eat. Make a conscious effort to include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet. The American Diabetes Association suggested you try meals with a salad or broth or tomato- based soup with lots of vegetables. This helps you eat more veggies while filling you up before you get to the higher fat and calorie courses. Choose some fresh carrots, grapes or pretzels instead of a bag of chips for your snack.

3. Ditch the fast food.

Regularly eating fast food can seriously damage your health. Coupled with low nutritional value, the high fat, calorie and sodium content of these foods can lead to diabetes. A 2004 study conducted by The Lancet showed regularly eating fast food doubles your chance of developing insulin resistance, which heightens risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

4. Pick the right appetizer.

Eating greens with a vinaigrette may help control your blood sugar levels. According to Prevention.org, vinegar contains acetic acid which may inactivate certain starch-digesting enzymes, slowing carbohydrate digestion. Vinegar’s effects may be similar to those of the blood sugar—lowering medication acarbose.

5. Exercise regularly.

People with diabetes are encouraged to exercise regularly (at least four hours a week) for better blood sugar control. Muscle movement leads to greater sugar uptake by muscle cells and lower blood sugar levels, eventually lowering your risk for diabetes. Diabetes.co.uk suggested physical activities like walking, jogging, and playing double tennis or badminton.

6. Eat cereals and whole grains.

Intake of high-fiber cereals and whole grains is linked to lower rates of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels, while whole grains are unprocessed and still include the entire grain kernel, which is where all the healthy fiber can be found.

7. Stabilize your blood sugar with cinnamon.

Cinnamon has the ability to improve blood glucose control. A study concluded that cinnamon lowers fasting blood glucose for about 3 to 5%, which is about the level of reduction found in the older generation of diabetes drugs. Compounds in cinnamon may activate enzymes that stimulate insulin receptors. The sweet spice has also been shown to help lower cholesterol and blood fats that may contribute to diabetes risk.

8. Get enough night sleep.

According to a research conducted by Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, extending the hours of sleep can improve the body’s use of insulin, thereby reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes in adult men. Insulin is a hormone that regulates a person’s blood sugar level. Retaining the body’s sensitivity to insulin reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. When men sleep 10 hours a night, their insulin sensitivity is much better than when they have persistent sleep restriction.

9. Get a blood test.

A blood test can reveal whether your sugar levels put you at risk for diabetes. Knowing your blood sugar levels can put you on a track to steadying them before diabetes sets in and medications may be necessary.

10. Don’t stress.

Stressing out can trigger your blood sugar levels to skyrocket. Relaxation exercises and other stress management moves can help you gain control over your blood sugar levels. There are many things you can do to avoid and reduce stress in your life like practicing yoga, taking up meditation, and doing regular exercise.

Written by Anna Yalung, MD

Anna Yalung, MD

Regenestem Manila’s Head Dermatologist Anna Yalung, MD is an accomplished physician with more than ten years of experience in providing excellent skin care, treatment, and on-point diagnosis to patients here and abroad.Just like her husband, Dr. Eric Yalung, Dra. Yalung does not stop finding and adapting new methods and technology that can enhance the services she provides to her clients. One such example is her foray into cell-based anti-aging medicine.Honed in this new development through several intensive trainings abroad, Dra. Yalung is ready to add more expertise to Regenestem Manila’s already packed portfolio of services.Her mission — to make people feel happy in their own skin, in the easiest and most effective way.

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