November is Diabetes Month, spotlighting a disease that impacts 2 million adults and an increasing number of teens. The 7th leading cause of death, diabetes is linked to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and blindness. It is estimated that almost 80 million Americans have pre-diabetes, defined by above-normal sugar levels, which can lead to diabetes.
The good news is that positive lifestyle habits can reduce the need for diabetes medication and even prevent the disease entirely. Some of lifestyle changes that help include
Lose weight. Even a few pounds, can reduce diabetes risk. Studies show that even a modest 10% weight loss can have a measurable impact.
Exercise regularly. It burns calories and lowers blood sugar. Studies show just 150 minutes of exercise a week can delay or prevent diabetes.
Eat a high-fiber diet. Complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains help to control blood sugar and overeating. Aim for 25 - 35 grams per day. Watch out for simple carbohydrates such as white bread.
Keep up your level of vitamin D. Vitamin D has a positive impact on bone and heart health. But new research now suggests that individuals with high vitamin D levels can lower diabetes risk by 38%.
Drink coffee. A cup or two of regular (not decalf) coffee a day has been shown to increase protection against diabetes.
So, take charge of your lifestyle habits. In doing so, you take charge of your health as well.
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