Natural Ways to Avoid Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes has been around for thousands of years. In the 1930s, Sir Harold Percival Himsworth provided research proving the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. (1) According to his studies, both types of diabetes deal with problems with insulin. However, type 1 deals with deficiency while type 2 addresses resistance.
While type 1 diabetes is believed to be an autoimmune response, type 2 diabetes is a bit easier to control. Depending on our lifestyle choices, we even put ourselves in position to avoid developing type 2 diabetes altogether. With these natural solutions, we also minimize our chances of receiving a prediabetes diagnosis. For those of us suffering with type 2 diabetes, these remedies can help put our condition in remission.
Give Up Tobacco Use
For those of us that smoke, we have up to a 40% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. (2) This occurs because the ingredients in tobacco negatively interfere with our cell function. For example, cigarettes create inflammation, which makes it difficult for our insulin to work properly. Also, the oxidation caused by tobacco smoke mixing with our oxygen increases our vulnerability to type 2 diabetes.
While it may be difficult, we must quit smoking to lower our chances of getting type 2 diabetes. Of course, it takes a bit of time for our bodies to adjust and heal, so it’s best to quit sooner than later. Health experts believe that within eight weeks of quitting, our insulin is efficient enough to naturally lower blood sugar levels. If we struggle to quit on our own, there are multiple resources available to help our efforts.
Increase Physical Activity
Inactivity plays a role in a number of our health conditions, including the development of type 2 diabetes. When we exercise, we’re more sensitive to insulin. Our glucose levels are also lower than when we’re sedentary.
By getting more exercise, we reduce our chances of a type 2 diagnosis. 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week is enough to keep us healthy and avoid symptoms. (3) Even if we currently have the condition, we can reduce our symptoms by exercising regularly. We can take a brisk walk, mow our lawn, or even dance for thirty minutes five days a week for optimal health results.
Lose Some Weight
As we know, being overweight puts us at risk for a number of ailments. One of them includes type 2 diabetes. Once we develop type 2 diabetes, we make it easier for our bodies to develops many other illnesses.
Studies show that losing excess weight raises our chances of preventing both type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. Losing around ten percent of our body weight is great for preventative care and putting our diagnosed symptoms in remission. (4) As previously mentioned, moderately exercising is great for losing weight. Other habits including adopting healthier meal choices also expedite our weight loss process.
Determine Our Risk
Many of us who are vulnerable to a type 2 diabetes diagnosis aren't aware of it. Statistics show that around one in every three adults are at risk for type 2 diabetes and have no idea. Therefore, we should be proactive with our health and determine our risk.
There are many ways to determine type 2 diabetes risk. Many diabetes-related websites offer tests that give a general likelihood based on our age, family history, etc. In addition to taking these questionnaires, it’s best we visit our healthcare providers so they can run tests and determine whether or not we are at risk.
For some of us, these tests may determine we have prediabetes. Prediabetes is defined as blood pressure that is higher than it should be. However, prediabetes can be reversed before it becomes type 2 diabetes. Even if we’re in the beginning stages of type 2 diabetes, our healthcare providers can help us control or eliminate our symptoms.
Increase Fiber Intake
Many of us, regardless of our diabetes risk, don’t get enough dietary fiber. Dietary fiber, also known as bulk derived from plant sources, helps aid a number of our bodily functions. For instance, fiber helps us regulate our bowels, keeps our blood sugar levels under control, and helps us meet our weight goals. (5)
It’s pretty easy to increase our fiber intake. There are two main types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber differs from soluble fiber because it doesn’t dissolve in water. Soluble fiber, which is commonly found in foods like oats, apples, carrots, and citrus fruits, becomes a gel-like texture when put in water. Insoluble fiber, commonly found in whole wheat, beans and vegetables, retain their shape until they’re released from your body.
When we pack our diets with both types of fiber, our body has a better chance of performing at optimum levels, including the functions that otherwise cause type 2 diabetes. While we should strive to get adequate amounts of fiber from our diet, we can also take supplements.
Drink Enough Water
Being that our bodies are majority water, it’s no surprise we regularly need to drink plenty of it. When it comes to type 2 diabetes prevention, drinking water compared to the consumption of other drinks can be the difference between a positive and negative diagnosis.
As we know, it’s easier to digest liquids than solids. Therefore, drinking sugary and carbohydrate-rich beverages are an easy way to make our blood levels spike. When this occurs on a regular basis, we increase our vulnerability to developing type 2 diabetes.
When we consume enough water, it’s easier for us to stay hydrated, which has a positive impact on our blood sugar levels. Drinking water also lacks sugar and carbs, so we can drink it without negatively impacting our insulin levels. (6)
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Sure, enjoying alcohol in moderation is okay. However, overindulging in alcohol can lead to type 2 diabetes. Not only does drinking a lot make us gain weight, it also raises our triglyceride and blood pressure levels.
When our triglyceride levels rise, it’s an indication of a system malfunction. The system responsible for converting our food into energy isn’t working properly, but it doesn’t automatically mean we have type 2 diabetes. However, higher triglyceride levels do cause insulin resistance, which is a precursor to developing type 2 diabetes.
To avoid raising our triglyceride levels, we must give up or lower our alcohol consumption. Drinking less also lowers our chances of eating foods that also increase our triglyceride levels. (7) Health experts recommend that men consume no more than two alcoholic beverages per night and women only drink one.
Avoid Processed Foods
Depending on our schedules, it’s much easier to get fast food or grab a quick snack. Unfortunate, the foods we eat out of convenience are wreaking havoc on our health. Oftentimes, fast food and commercial brand snacks are filled with processed ingredients. Most processed foods have lots of sugar, saturated fats, and minimal amounts of nutritional value.
Being that we typically don’t take the time to ask for the ingredient list in the drive thru line, it’s best to eliminate fast foods from our diet. This is especially true if we’re at risk for type 2 diabetes or have a prediabetes diagnosis.
Instead of eating out as often, we can avoid a type 2 diabetes diagnosis by cooking healthy meals at home. Doing so gives us complete control over our calorie intake. If we’re busy, we can prep healthy meals and snacks to enjoy during the day.
Type 2 diabetes can be detrimental to our overall quality of life. By making healthier life choices, we can avoid this condition and increase our life expectancy. For those of us with prediabetes or an early type 2 diabetes diagnosis, these natural solutions can also reverse our symptoms.
- (1) Diabetes, Past Treatments, New Discoveries, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317484
- (2) Cigarette Smoking: A Risk Factor for Type 2 Diabetes, https://www.fda.gov/tobacco-products/health-information/cigarette-smoking-risk-factor-type-2-diabetes
- (3) How Exercise Helps Prevent and Manage Type 2 Diabetes, https://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes/how-exercise-helps-prevent-and-manage-type-2-diabetes/
- (4) Type 2 Diabetes: Tips to Lose Weight Successfully, https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/type-2-diabetes/type-2-diabetes-how-lose-weight
- (5) Nutrition and Healthy Eating, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983
- (6) 6 Natural Ways to Prevent Diabetes Before It Starts, https://www.gundersenhealth.org/health-wellness/be-well/6-natural-ways-to-prevent-diabetes-before-it-starts/
- (7) How Does Alcohol Affect Triglyceride Levels?, https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/cholesterol/how-does-alcohol-affect-triglyceride-levels