8 Ways to Reduce your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It usually starts in adulthood and results from your body not producing enough insulin, leaving high levels of glucose in your bloodstream.
Worryingly, it’s estimated that some people can have diabetes for more than a decade before it’s diagnosed, leading to severe complications in the long term, such as heart disease and kidney and eye damage. For this reason, it’s essential to be aware of the early symptoms of type 2 diabetes so that it can be managed through a mixture of lifestyle changes and medicine, but it’s also equally as important to take steps to avoid developing diabetes in the first place.
Currently, 11.9 million people in the UK are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, but these people can still make changes to reduce their blood glucose levels and avoid developing it.
Keep your salt consumption low
Eating too much salt can eventually lead to raised blood pressure, increasing your chance of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Consider using fresh herbs and spices as a tasty alternative to salt when you’re cooking. Be mindful of foods that are naturally high in salt, such as bacon, olives, cheese and gravy granules. You should aim for no more than 6g of salt per day.
Cut down on snacks that are high in sugar, fat and salt such as cakes, biscuits, ice cream, crisps and pastries and opt for healthier alternatives like fresh fruit, vegetable sticks dipped in hummus, plain popcorn, dark chocolate, almonds and red bell pepper with guacamole. Healthy doesn’t need to be boring – just take Delish’s collection of tasty snacks, for example.
Limit your alcohol intake
There is a strong link between type 2 diabetes and alcohol. If you enjoy a drink now and again, try to spread your units evenly over multiple days instead of all in one. And aim to have at least two alcohol-free days a week.
When we’re stressed, our blood glucose levels soar, which can impact our overall health. Therefore, it’s essential to find ways to practice self-care and alleviate stress levels. Scheduling some time into your daily routine to unwind or partake in healthy activities can do wonders for your health or manage your feelings by speaking to a family member, friend or counsellor.
Focus on fibre
Studies have shown that diets high in fibre keep blood sugar and insulin levels low. It can also keep your gut healthy and reduce your blood cholesterol, lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease. Adults over the age of 16 are advised to consume 30g of fibre per day, however, the average adult in the UK consumes only around 19g.
Try to incorporate some high-fibre snacks between meals such as:
- Plain oatcakes
- Dried fruit
- Baked potato
Minimise your intake of processed meat
Regular consumption of processed meat is associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and high cholesterol levels. Opt for leaner cuts of meat that are low in fat and consider incorporating some meat-free meals into your diet, including fish or plant-based proteins like beans, pulses, and tofu.
Boost Vitamin D levels
Vitamin D is crucial for blood sugar control, however, here in the UK, the majority of the population have sub-optimal levels. Studies have shown that people with high blood levels of Vitamin D are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with low levels. We recommend taking at least 2000iu per day, however some people require more than this.
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Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.