According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is a problem with your body that causes blood sugar levels to rise higher than normal. Type 2 is the most common type, and as of 2012, 29.1 million Americans (or 9.3 percent of the population) were affected by it. Diabetes is a leading cause of heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and other associated complications such as blindness, amputation, impotence and nerve damage. On the bright side, Type 2 diabetes is preventable if you live a consistently healthy lifestyle, so take a look at a couple ways you can cut your risk to developing it.
Diet: Links between magnesium consumption and diabetes show that moderate consumption leads to decreased risk over a long period of time. Researchers have found that an increased magnesium intake helped reduce inflammation and resistance to the effects of the key blood sugar-regulating hormones, insulin. Pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate are high in magnesium, so make sure to grab some next time you're at the grocery store. (via ABC News)
Other studies have shown a correlation between consuming whole fruits and a reduced risk for developing diabetes. Simple solution: Swap a glass of apple or orange juice for the real fruit, and you've cut your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes by approximately 23 percent. (For more on this, click here to read about the difference between good and bad sugars.) When it comes to acidic foods, limit the amount you take in to avoid any associated metabolic problems such as a reduction in insulin sensitivity. Many suggest that cutting out red meat or at least reducing the amount you usually consume. Researchers at the University of Singapore found that a small increase in red meat (extra half serving per day) was associated with a 48 percent elevated risk. (via ABC News)
Exercise: According to a study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, upping your lean muscle mass could lower your insulin resistance and drop your odds of developing pre-diabetes. In fact, researchers discovered that for every 10 percent increase in muscle mass, a person's diabetes risk decreased by 12 percent. If weight lifting is too hard to implement in your daily schedule, try squeezing in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Not only will this be beneficial for your blood sugar and insulin levels, but it can also help you try and maintain a healthy weight. (via Everyday Health)
Sleep: A study at the University of Chicago found that those who regularly slept fewer than six hours a night were at the highest risk. Long-term sleep deprivation can amp up the body's insulin resistance, especially those who are predisposed to diabetes, so try sleeping at least seven hours of sleep per night. (via Fox News)
>> Read more: 7 Reasons Sleep is So Important
Vitamins: Aside from the studies done on increased magnesium intake, a review in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that people with high levels of vitamin D were less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, so don't be afraid to add that to your daily vitamin regimen. Click here to read more about vitamin D!