3. Swap out bologna for broccoli
Those who ate the most fruits and vegetables each week (typically six servings a day) had a 21 percent lower risk of developing diabetes over 11 years than did those who ate the least (typically only two servings a day), new research finds. Another study linked a diet that regularly includes processed meats to higher diabetes risk. "We found subjects who ate processed meats like hotdogs, breakfast sausages and luncheon meats at least twice a week had a 63 percent higher risk than did those who ate them less than twice a month. The reason could be that eating lots of cured meats is associated with greater weight gain and a higher obesity rate," says lead author Amanda M. Fretts, senior research fellow at the Cardiovascular Health Research Unit at the University of Washington in Seattle. What should you eat instead? A Mediterranean-style diet — with lots of fruits, vegetables and legumes — has been shown to reduce diabetes risk.
4. Throw away your cigarettes
Lighting up raises your likelihood of developing diabetes by 40 percent. Now new research finds that you can dramatically lower that risk by quitting. According to a study presented at the American Diabetes Association conference in Philadelphia in June, smokers who quit reduced their risk of developing diabetes to that of nonsmokers within 10 years. If you've been putting off quitting for fear that you'll pack on the pounds (another risk factor for diabetes), don't worry: "Our study found that as long as you don't put on more than 10 pounds, the benefits of quitting outweigh the risk of moderate weight gain," says lead researcher Karen Margolis, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
5. Get moving
Regular aerobic exercise helps prevent diabetes in multiple ways: It keeps you trim, helps control your cholesterol and blood pressure, and regulates insulin production. Walking is the easiest way to get started, but if you're new to fitness and not ready for the recommended 10,000 steps per day, a study by Fretts' team at the University of Washington showed that adding just 3,500 steps a day was associated with a 29 percent lower risk compared with those walking less than that amount. A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association also found that weight training was associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing diabetes.
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