The number of people affected by diabetes continues to rise at an alarming rate, and while some cases are hereditary, many stem from lifestyle factors that you can control. By being more mindful of your health, you can dramatically reduce the risk of diabetes in your golden years while simultaneously improving your overall health and wellbeing. Here are five ways to reduce the risk of diabetes in your golden years.
Stop Using Tobacco
Studies show that individuals who give up tobacco can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 50 percent. Tobacco use has been associated with insulin resistance, meaning that your body may have trouble processing sugar due to nicotine-induced damage to pancreas cells. It also raises cortisol levels, a stress hormone that can lead to weight gain and disease development when elevated over long periods. By kicking tobacco to the curb, you’ll keep your mind sharp and healthy and improve your chances of living longer.
Exercising regularly is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of diabetes. According to researchers, high levels of physical activity can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by 33 percent if you’re overweight and up to 50 percent if you’re already at a healthy weight. Even small amounts of physical activity each day can make a big difference, so make an effort to incorporate some exercise into your routine. Aim for 30 minutes or more per day on most days, even 10 minutes could still be helpful.
Develop Good Sleeping Habits
Sleeping habits are another essential factor in preventing diabetes. It is easier to maintain a healthy weight if you have consistent sleeping patterns. People who have regular, adequate sleep patterns find it easier to manage their diabetes and prevent other health complications. If you struggle with getting enough sleep, schedule regular naps during your day and take steps to improve your quality of sleep at night. This includes making sure your room is dark and cool, turning off electronics before bedtime, and keeping a journal for insomnia or other obstacles.
Eat More Fiber
Several studies have shown that eating fiber can reduce a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes, particularly if they eat more fiber in their 40s and 50s. This might be because high-fiber diets tend to lead to weight loss and/or exercise—both of which can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Fiber doesn’t just come from veggies; you can get it from whole grains, nuts, and beans too. Try to eat 25 grams per day; this is roughly equivalent to two pieces of whole wheat bread.
Stress has been linked to a number of serious health problems, including an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. When people feel stressed, they tend to overeat and avoid exercise. If you want to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, or manage your symptoms if you already have it, then focus on stress management. You can use meditation, yoga, or even make sure that you get enough sleep every night. This helps your body release more oxytocin, which reduces stress hormones and cravings for sugar!