It’s a condition that affects more than 30 million Americans.
According to official government figures, diabetes is now one of the leading causes of chronic health conditions in the US – affecting 25 per cent of over-65s. The consequences of living with this condition can be life-changing, and in many cases life-limiting.
So what can you do to cut your risk?
Ben Ong is a leading naturopathic author in the field of alternative health solutions.
The founding director of Ben’s Natural Health – a high-quality, all-natural, scientifically-proven clinical supplement company – he provides support to more than one million clients across the US and beyond.
His products provide help to those struggling with chronic health conditions, including type 2 diabetes.
Here he suggests ten things you can do TODAY to cut your diabetes risk.
Cut your calorie intake
The fasting diet – otherwise known as the 5:2 diet – is thought to help the body repair damage, including to the pancreas, and helps help regulate glucose levels. Reduce calorie intake to 25 per cent (600 for men, women for 500) for two days a week.
Bin the carbs
Eating too much sugar and/or carbs causes spikes in blood sugar – which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Cutting cake, biscuits, chocolate, along with any other high carb/high sugar snacks will help protect you against developing type 2 diabetes in future.
Any exercise is good, but doing regular aerobic exercise, high-intensity interval training and/or strength training are all particularly good for regulating blood sugar levels.
Regularity is key here so try and find something you enjoy – then stick with it!
Ditch the soda
We all know fizzy and sweetened drinks aren’t good for us. Studies show that drinking just two glasses of soda a day increases your risk of developing diabetes 2 by 20 per cent. Wean yourself off gradually and replace with water or teas to lower sugar intake and improve your wellbeing.
Give up smoking
Heavy smokers are known to have a higher risk than non-smokers when it comes to diabetes. Smokers are in fact 30-40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. It increase blood pressure, restricts blood flow, reduces the effectiveness of your immune system, and increases your risk of heart disease. So make the right choice for your health and give up tobacco for good.
Following the advice given above and ditching bad habits should result in weight loss. Maintaining a healthy weight (check with your doctor if you are unsure what your BMI should be) will always bring clear health benefits. Eighty per cent of diabetics are overweight and losing just 2.2 pounds slashes your risk by 16 per cent.
Monitor your alcohol intake
Cutting out booze will help keep weight at a healthy level. Because many alcoholic drinks contain sugar it will help lower blood sugar levels too. If you think going teetotal will be too difficult, try choosing drinks with fewer calories.
Regular health checks are crucial, especially in later life, as they can help spot signs of pre-diabetes early.
Add vitamin D
Vitamin D – also known as the “sunshine vitamin” – is an essential nutrient that’s especially needed in the winter months when we don’t get enough sunlight. Research shows that when people who are deficient take vitamin D supplements, their blood sugar levels stabilise – reducing their diabetes risk.
Boost your vitamin K intake
This vitamin has been shown in animal studies to stimulate islet cell proliferation and regeneration, as well as improve insulin sensitivity and improve glucose tolerance.
You can add Vitamin K2 to your diet by eating kale, cabbage, scallions or basil, or if you prefer to snack on something a bit sweeter, prunes.