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12 Tips to Outsmart Diabetes

Here's how to prevent or manage the disease

En español | Over 29 million Americans have diabetes. Another 86 million have prediabetes. The resulting circulatory, heart and eye problems make life more difficult and, sadly, shorter. Here are 12 ways to prevent or manage the disease.

1. Seek Greek

We know you've heard this before, but the staples of a Mediterranean diet — vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, fish and red wine — are a good idea anytime. And supplementing that diet with extra-virgin olive oil can reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes by 30 percent.

2. Don't just sit there

An extra two hours a day spent watching television increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 14 percent, according to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Our suggestion: Exercise while watching, or run around the block between episodes.

3. Have a cuppa

Numerous studies show that drinking more than two cups of coffee (16 ounces) a day is associated with a 25 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The FDA maintains that up to 400 milligrams per day of caffeine (about four cups) is safe for healthy adults.

4. Stress less

Chronic worry and stress not only contribute to insulin resistance but also make it harder for your pancreas to move glucose out of your bloodstream. Techniques proven to help you relax and reduce stress include biofeedback, meditation and deep breathing.

50 Tips: 10 Best Ways to Outsmart Diabetes

Nick Ferrari

Proper eating and exercise can help prevent and manage diabetes.

5. Squeeze some citrus

Eating oranges, grapefruit, lemons and other citrus fruits can slow glucose uptake, helping keep your blood sugar levels under control, a study in the journal Preventive Medicine concludes.

6. Sprinkle with cinnamon

Studies find that people with type 2 diabetes who eat one gram (just a pinch or light sprinkle) of this tasty spice every day may experience a drop in blood sugar. Try cinnamon on your morning cereal, in your coffee or dusted on yogurt.

Lentils

Shutterstock

Lower your blood sugar by eating some lentils.

7. Fix it with food

These foods eaten daily can help you manage your blood sugar:

  • Beans, peas and lentils: One cup of these protein-rich legumes can lower your blood sugar levels significantly.
  • Dark chocolate: It contains nutrients called flavonoids, which can both drop insulin levels and limit your cravings for sweet and salty foods.
  • Oatmeal: The magnesium in it helps your body secrete insulin properly.

8. Flex your muscles

A 2012 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that men who lifted weights for at least 2 1/2 hours every week lowered their risk of diabetes by 34 percent.

9. Mind your meds

If you're already on medication for diabetes, it's important to take it as prescribed. Plus, free apps such as Mango Health and Pocket Pharmacist can alert you to possible side effects from other prescription and nonprescription drugs you might be taking. Plenty of medications can interfere with your blood glucose levels.

10. Limit red meat

An analysis of the diets of almost 150,000 people found that eating an extra half serving a day of red meat increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 50 percent

11. Keep your naps short

If you routinely doze for more than 60 minutes during the day, consider this a wake-up call. A 2016 study by Japanese researchers who looked at the data of more than 21 studies showed that snoozing longer than an hour a day could increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 45 percent.

12. Opt for an App

Researchers at Cardiff University School of Medicine, UK, found that type 2 diabetes patients who used apps to monitor their condition had lower blood glucose levels when compared to the control group. More good news: There are plenty of iOS and Android diabetes apps to choose from: BG Monitor, Blue Loop and Diabetes in Check are a few of the most popular.

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