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How to Prevent Diabetes

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  • Ideally, consume at least 50 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories. You need both soluble and insoluble fiber for a healthy and balanced nutritional plan
  • Exercise can be beneficial in preventing diabetes. The mitochondria have a series of electron transport chains wherein they pass electrons from the reduced form of the food you eat to combine it with oxygen from the air you breathe, eventually forming water. In a way, exercise can promote mitochondrial health because it forces the mitochondria to work harderforces the mitochondria to work harder

Believe it or not, diabetes is completely preventable. If you think that you'll develop Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes because of certain factors, it doesn’t mean you can’t make the necessary changes to your lifestyle to avert this disease. These changes, which mainly involve your diet and your lifestyle, may just help with lowering your diabetes risk.

How Crucial Is a Healthy Diet in Preventing Diabetes?

There are three hormones that have been linked to diabetes, and all of these are connected to the food you eat:

  • Insulin — This hormone secreted by the pancreas is responsible for delivering blood sugar or glucose across cell membranes to be used as fuel.
  • Leptin — If you have diabetes, you’re likely to have a malfunction of leptin signaling. Leptin is the hormone produced by your fat cells, and it is responsible for telling your brain that you have enough fat stores, have eaten enough and you need to burn calories at a normal rate.1
  • Ghrelin — This is secreted by the stomach lining and is responsible for telling the brain that you’re hungry.

How do all of these hormones ultimately trigger diabetes? Malfunction of leptin or ghrelin signaling can drive you to eat too much food for your activity level and rate of metabolism, causing weight gain and obesity. If you’re obese, your body may experience a resistance at your cell level to insulin, leading to high blood sugar levels and a diabetes diagnosis.

Key Dietary Factors to Remember to Help Prevent Diabetes

Food plays a significant role on whether or not you develop this illness. Following these dietary strategies can help prevent the onset of diabetes:

Increase your daily intake of soluble and insoluble fiber — Ideally, you should consume at least 50 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories. You need both of these types of fiber for a healthy and balanced nutritional plan.

Soluble fiber can absorb water in the intestinal tract, slow down the digestion process and help with satiety or making you feel full longer. Meanwhile, insoluble fiber assists with increasing digestion rate, preventing constipation and maintaining weight.  A high-fiber diet can aid with regulating food digestion and releasing leptin and ghrelin, hormones that are important in your efforts to lose weight, feel full and prevent diabetes.

Reduce your net carb intake and replace with high-quality healthy fats — A low net-carb diet helps reduce stress, decreases inflammation and lowers the amount of insulin required to use the energy from the food you eat.

You can measure the amount of net carbs you have consumed by noting how many grams of carbs you’ve eaten and subtracting the amount of fiber. After lowering your net carb intake, replace the carbs with high-quality healthy fats vital for boosting heart health, feeding your brain and modulating genetic regulation.

Drink enough water — If you’re dehydrated, your liver will secrete a hormone that increases your blood sugar levels.2,3,4 When you’re properly hydrated, blood sugar levels will lower naturally. Monitoring urine color throughout the day will indicate if you’re hydrated or not. A light yellow urine color is a sign that you’re well-hydrated.

An Emphasis on Exercise

While both short and long-term exercise don't appear to have an effect on the amount of leptin secreted in your body, exercise has been shown to have a significant impact on your body's resistance toward leptin. The more you exercise, the more your cells are sensitive to leptin.5 Increased leptin sensitivity can help reduce potential insulin resistance and your risk for diabetes.

In general, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), especially a type of HIIT workout called the Nitric Oxide Dump, can be helpful in preventing diabetes,. This workout takes approximately three to four minutes to accomplish, and is usually performed three times daily, with two-hour intervals between sessions.

Exercise can be beneficial in preventing diabetes because of how it works in your body. Skeletal muscle gets its energy from the mitochondria, or the energy storehouse of your cells, which is responsible for utilizing energy for all metabolic functions. The mitochondria have a series of electron transport chains wherein they pass electrons from the reduced form of the food you eat to combine it with oxygen from the air you breathe, eventually forming water.

This drives protons across the mitochondrial membrane, which recharges adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from adenosine diphosphate (ADP). The former is known to be an energy carrier throughout the body. In a way, exercise can promote mitochondrial health because it forces the mitochondria to work harder.

Although increased mitochondrial work does prompt production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) or free radicals, which act as signaling molecules, you should know that one of ROS’ functions is to make more mitochondria. When you exercise, the body will respond by creating more mitochondria to keep up with the heightened energy requirement.

Apart from HIIT workouts, walking is another powerful way to help curb your diabetes risk, especially if you’re not currently doing anything in terms of fitness. You can even make daily walking more powerful by incorporating HIIT principles. Alternating between speed-walking and slow strolling may allow you to maximize rewards. For most people, 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day are ideal.

Other Lifestyle Tenets You Should Focus on to Prevent Diabetes

There are other lifestyle factors that can impact your risk for diabetes, namely:

Stress levels — When you get stressed, your body secretes the hormones cortisol and glucagon, both of which may affect blood sugar levels.6,7 Increased stress levels can also affect the levels of body inflammation. Should this inflammation become chronic and out of control, health problems such as obesity, insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, periodontal disease, stroke and heart disease may develop.

It’s highly recommended that you control your stress levels through exercise, meditation, yoga, prayer and/or other relaxation techniques, to help lower stress levels and correct insulin secretion problems.8

Good-quality sleep — Getting enough sleep can help you feel refreshed and experience good health. Poor sleeping habits or lack of sleep can reduce insulin sensitivity, promote weight gain and serve as a precursor to both Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.9

All in all, these techniques prove that you can keep diabetes from developing in your body. While these tips may require more effort when it comes to compliance and maintenance, these changes can pay off and allow you and your loved ones to live healthier lives without becoming another statistic in the diabetes epidemic.

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