Eating the right foods daily is one of the most important decisions you make to help you prevent as well as control type 2 diabetes. In fact, type 2 diabetes can be prevented, says the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health (a.k.a., Harvard Chan), through a healthy diet plus lifestyle choices, like not smoking, exercising daily and abstaining from alcohol. While the onset of type 2 diabetes is partially influenced by genes, the risk can be largely decreased by practicing a healthy lifestyle . Choose a healthy diet. It’s the easiest route to well-being.
Choose Fats Wisely – There’s the good, the bad and the ugly!
The good fats are polyunsaturated fats, often found in plant-based foods like nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. These good fats can stave off type 2 diabetes. Steer clear from the bad fats, also known as trans fats. Fried foods, margarine, fast-food products and factory-baked goods often contain the dreaded trans fats. Food items containing “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” in the ingredients list should be avoided!
Stop on Red – Cut out the red meat!
According to Harvard Chan, reduce your risk for getting type 2 diabetes by 35 percent by eliminating red meat and processed meat from your diet. These unhealthy meats include beef, pork, lamb, bacon, hot dogs and deli meats—all found floating around at football games and possibly the shelves of your refrigerator. What’s the scoop? It appears the high levels of iron and sodium have a debilitating effect on the cells that produce insulin, increasing the risk for type 2 diabetes. What are the healthy alternatives? Replace red meats with nuts, poultry or fish instead.
Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid – Avoid sugary drinks!
Water is the best beverage to consume in lieu of high-calorie fruit drinks and juices. Weight gain is often a result of drinking too many artificially sweetened drinks, which leads to an increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Harvard Chan recommends substituting water, coffee or tea—without the added sugars and creams. The school even suggests coffee and teas may help in preventing diabetes, but more research is needed to shed light on the effects of these substitutes.
Reduce Processed Carbs – Swap them for whole grains
Harvard Chan found evidence that refined carbs actually increase the risk for the disease. There’s a science behind choosing whole grains over refined carbs: Refined carbs spike sugar levels, while whole grains allow for a “slower increase in blood sugar and insulin.”
You have a say in what foods go into your body. Choose health. Control diabetes and even reduce your risk for developing type 2 diabetes through a lifestyle of healthy eating!