En español | Diabetes is called the lifestyle disease for good reason. Your risk of getting the blood sugar disorder is reduced dramatically if you follow a healthy diet, exercise and control your blood pressure, weight and cholesterol. What else can you do? The latest research may surprise you.
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1. Eat breakfast every day
It doesn't matter if it's Pop-Tarts or last night's pizza: Eating something — anything — within two or three hours of rising, every day, reduces your risk of getting diabetes by 34 percent, new research finds. "What we suspect is that the consistency of eating a daily breakfast helps control appetite and caloric intake for the rest of the day, which helps prevent weight gain," says lead author Andrew Odegaard, a research associate at the University of Minnesota. Do opt for healthy food choices when possible. Among your best options: peaches, plums and nectarines. These stone fruits have bioactive compounds that can help prevent obesity-related diabetes and heart disease, according to breakthrough science presented at the August 2012 meeting of the American Chemical Society.
2. Increase your zzz's
Sleeping less than six hours a night is associated with a 60 percent higher rate of diabetes, results from the Boston Area Community Health Pre-Diabetes Study show. Why? One theory is that when you're sleep-deprived, appetite-regulating hormones go a bit haywire. In a University of Chicago study, participants' cravings for sugary and salty foods, like cookies and potato chips, jumped by up to 45 percent after just two sleepless nights, because of a drop in the satiety-signaling hormone leptin and an increase in ghrelin, an appetite trigger. Lack of sleep also causes spikes in the hormone cortisol, which raises insulin levels and causes blood sugar imbalances. "The first strategy for a longer night's sleep is to get the TV, computer and smartphone out of the bedroom," says Rebecca Piccolo, a biostatistician at New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Mass. If you're already diabetic, new research suggests that getting treated for sleep apnea could help control your blood glucose levels. After meals, people with severe sleep apnea had blood glucose levels almost twice as high as did those without the condition.