Top 10 ways to prevent diabetes

Diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be prevented. Whether you fall in the high-risk category for diabetes, or are simply concerned for your health, do read the top 10 ways in which you avoid getting this disease.

A healthy diet and exercise can help prevent diabetes

According to the WHO Collaborating Centre for Research, Education and Training in Diabetes, diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death in the world. This disease is of special relevance in India, as Indians tend to develop diabetes at an earlier age and at lower levels of obesity.

There are five simple ways to identify those who’re in the high-risk category for diabetes:

  • Those above the age of 40
  • Those with a positive family history of diabetes
  • People with increased abdominal fatness. If the waist circumference of a male is over 90cms (35.4 in) and female is over 85cms (33.4in), he or she is at increased risk of developing diabetes.
  • Those considered at a pre-diabetes stage (Impaired fasting glucose >=110mg/dl, impaired glucose tolerance 140-199mg/dl)
  • Those leading a sedentary lifestyle

If any of the above five criteria are applicable to you, you should start making changes to your lifestyle immediately, in order to prevent getting diabetes. Here are the top 10 things you can do to keep this disease at bay.

Top 10 ways to prevent diabetes

  1. Burn more calories that you consume – It is a healthy practice to consume fewer calories than you use. Eat foods that are not high in calories and increase your physical activity by walking more, taking the stairs whenever you can and making a conscious effort to stay active.
  2. Be conscious of your measurements – A slim waist is not just a cosmetic vanity, it is also a sign of better health. As Indians, we have a tendency to gain weight around our midriffs and thus it’s very important to make an effort to keep the inches off. Experts suggest that women should keep their waist measurement below 80 cm (31.5 inches), and men below 90 cm (35.5 inches).
  3. Start eating smaller, more frequent meals – Many of us follow the policy of eating three solid meals a day. Consider changing over to the divide and eat policy. So if you’re used to eating 4 chappaties, eat 2 now and 2 after a couple of hours. Also, whatever happens, don’t skip breakfast.
  4. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet – It’s time to take control of what you eat. Make a conscious effort to include plenty of fruits (whole fruits are far better than juices) and vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, in your diet. The benefits to your overall health, sense of well-being and looks will be immense.
  5. Gain with whole grains – Wheat, brown rice and oats are far healthier for you than refined foods. Make them a part of your diet and keep diabetes at bay.
  6. There’s no escaping exercise – When it comes to prevention, the power of regular exercise is far greater than that of any medicine created. Through regular exercise, at least 30 minutes a day, you can prevent a range of diseases – from diabetes to heart disease. It keeps you feeling healthy, looking good and makes life far more enjoyable. If you’re not exercising already, start today.
  7. De-stress – Experts have found a strong correlation between stress and diabetes. Don’t simply accept stress as a part of modern living. There are many things you can do to avoid and reduce stress in your life. Practice yoga, take up meditation, exercise – the list is endless. Take steps to reduce stress in your life today.
  8. Quit smoking – If you needed another reason to quit smoking, here it is. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that a person who smoked 16 to 25 cigarettes a day was three times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than a non-smoker.
  9. Reduce salt intake – Hypertension and diabetes have a very close connection. In fact, the prevalence of hypertension in the diabetic population is twice that of the non-diabetic population. So if you have any of the risk factors of diabetes or hypertension, take care of reducing your salt intake.
  10. Check your blood sugar and cholesterol levels – If you fall in the high-risk group, i.e., if you have a family history of diabetes, along with any one of the risk factors listed above, you must get regular blood sugar and cholesterol checks.

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