Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that plagues the American population. In their 2017 National Diabetes Statistics Report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that 30.3 million Americans were living with type 2 diabetes—which is over 9 percent of the U.S. population. Though there are inheritable factors you can’t control that can increase your risk, there are still plenty of things you can do to avoid becoming part of this alarming statistic. Keep reading to learn how to prevent diabetes by adopting these simple everyday habits. And for more healthy habits you should be doing every day, don’t miss these 50 Doctor-Approved Habits You Should Totally Steal.
Good news, coffee addicts: Your java obsession might just be doing you some good. One 2012 study published in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry found that heavy coffee drinkers—or those who drank at least four cups of coffee per day—had a 50 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. That’s because coffee contains compounds that inhibit hIAPP, a substance that can lead to the onset of type 2 diabetes. And for more ways to stay healthy, check out these 50 Doctor-Approved Habits You Should Totally Steal.
2And staying away from sweetened beverages
One easy way to prevent diabetes is by replacing sugary drinks like soda with healthier ones like water. In one 2016 study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology, Swedish researchers found that every sweetened beverage a subject drank increased their type 2 diabetes risk by 20 percent.
3Drinking alcohol only in moderation
You don’t have to give up alcohol if you want to reduce your diabetes risk. In fact, one 2005 meta-analysis published in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care found that people who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol had a 30 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
4Eating blueberries regularly
A delicious way to stave off diabetes is with fruits like blueberries, grapes, and apples. In 2013, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health examined data on more than 187,000 participants from three studies, they found that subjects who ate at least two servings each week of these whole fruits reduced their type 2 diabetes risk by as much as 23 percent compared to those who ate less than one serving per month. And for more tasty ways to be healthy, check out the 30 Best Foods for Maximizing Your Energy Levels.
5And eating breakfast
The simple act of eating breakfast every day could help you keep your type 2 diabetes risk in check. In one meta-analysis of six studies published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2018, researchers found that skipping breakfast just once a week was associated with a 6 percent increased diabetes risk. Subjects who skipped breakfast four to five days a week saw a 55 percent elevated diabetes risk. They don’t call it the most important meal of the day for nothing!
Managing your stress levels has just as big of an impact on your physical health (and your diabetes risk) as it does your mental and emotional wellbeing. One study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions conference in 2018 analyzed data from more than 22,000 women over a three-year period and found that subjects with the highest stress levels had nearly double the diabetes risk.
7Watching less TV
Sedentary behavior has long been associated with an increased risk of diabetes. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that one of the ways you can avoid the disease is by limiting how much TV you watch every day. In one 2015 study of more than 3,000 subjects published in the journal Diabetologia, researchers determined that each hour spent watching TV is associated with a 3.4 percent increased risk of developing diabetes.
8Limiting mouthwash use
The occasional swig of mouthwash before bed might be good for your gums, but it isn’t doing the rest of your body any favors. A 2017 study published in the journal Nitric Oxide found that among 1,200 overweight individuals between the ages of 40 and 65, subjects who used mouthwash at least twice a day had a 55 percent increased risk of both pre-diabetes and diabetes compared to those who used it more sparingly.
According to the study authors, mouthwash contains antibacterial ingredients that affect the formation of nitric oxide, which can lead to metabolic disorders like diabetes.
You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s worth reiterating: Working out is one of the best ways to stay healthy. When it comes to preventing diabetes specifically, one 2019 study published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings determined that moderate muscle mass reduced subjects’ type 2 diabetes risk by 32 percent. And if you want to get healthier today, check out these 30 Amazing Ways to Turn Around Your Health in One Day.
10Biking to wor
When it comes to your commute, a bicycle is the way to go. Sure, this transportation method might be tiring and can make you look like a bit of a mess on sweltering summer days, but one Danish study published in PLOS Medicine found that folks who commuted to work via bicycle had lower type 2 diabetes risks. Even if you don’t want to make your commute more active, simply taking up cycling as a hobby can go a long way in the fight against diabetes.
11Hanging out with friends
Looking for an excuse to spend more time with your friends and loved ones? That’s great news for your health, too. Research published in BMC Public Health in 2017 found that for men, living alone was associated with 84 percent increased odds of diabetes. For women, meanwhile, not being an active member of groups and clubs was associated with 60 percent increased odds of pre-diabetes and 112 percent increased odds of type 2 diabetes.
Try to get all of your eating done earlier in the day if you’re worried about developing diabetes. When researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham had subjects eat their meals within a six-hour timeframe that began at 8:30 a.m. and ended before 3 p.m., they found that they had better blood sugar control than those who ate within a 12-hour window. What’s more, the subjects who fasted in the 2018 study also saw lower blood pressures and reduced appetites. Wellness wins all around!