Type 2 diabetes is a harsh, but preventable disease. However, more than 25 million American children and adults are living with Type 2 diabetes today and an estimated 79 million have pre-diabetes. With complications including heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, kidney disease, blindness, and neuropathy, taking control of the risk factors for diabetes is life changing.
If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, consider finding a smoking cessation program in your area that will help support you as you make the decision to stop. Smoking can hinder your body’s ability to regulate blood-sugar levels, a major concern for anyone living with diabetes or who is pre-diabetic. Smoking can also increase your chances of developing complication of diabetes, including blindness, nerve damage, heart problems and kidney failure.
Be Active 30 Minutes a Day
Researchers have found physical activity can cut your risk for developing diabetes by at least half when you exercise 30 minutes a day. Take a walk, swim, bike or play golf. Invite your friends along. You are more likely to keep exercise a part of your day when you have someone there with you to hold you accountable – plus, it makes it more fun!
Make One Small Change with Each Meal
You can make a small change with every meal, right? Add a serving of fruit or vegetables to each meal to help reduce your risk for developing diabetes. In addition to reducing the risk for this disease, eating a fruit or vegetable at every meal helps you maintain a healthy weight, which is an additional component to preventing diabetes.
Add Olive Oil
We need fat in our diet to support a healthy body. Choosing the right fats in your diet, however, can help prevent heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Diets high in olive oil, like the Mediterranean diet, give the body necessary fats with anti-inflammatory properties from oleic acid, the main fat in olive oil. For this reason, olive oil helps reduce the risk of insulin resistance, a risk factor for diabetes.
Know Your History
Factors outside of your control like age, race, gender, and family history can contribute to developing diabetes. What can you do about these? You can be proactive from the beginning to fight the onset of diabetes. If you don’t know your family history, ask your parents and other relatives if anyone had Type 2 diabetes in your family. Knowing your family history can help change your destiny.
Know Your Risk
Today may be the wake-up call you need to make changes in your life. Take the diabetes risk test to find out if you are at risk for diabetes or pre-diabetes. Talk to your doctor and develop a plan for managing that risk. Then talk to your family and friends and share with them the changes you are making to live a healthy life.
Change Your Plate
Take a quick look at your plate. Is it bigger than it used to be when you where younger? The “Small Plate Movement” says you can lose weight without doing anything different than changing your plate and choosing a smaller one. Plates no more than 10 inches in diameter are recommended for controlling the right portions on your plate and helping you consume fewer calories. Reducing our caloric intake also helps promote a healthy weight and reduces our risk for diabetes.
Track Your Success
Small changes can become habit when we track and celebrate our success. Write down one small change you made every day and review at the end of the week. Were they difficult to make? Do you already feel better? Celebrate your success and know you are making positive changes to help prevent developing diabetes.