Last Updated on March 1, 2023 by Lori Geurin
In 2018, 34.2 million Americans had diabetes. This is a whopping 10.5% of the U.S. population. And 90% of people with prediabetes are not aware that they have it. Plus, it’s impacting more young people than ever before. Let’s take a closer look at this serious disease and explore some natural ways you can take to prevent diabetes from impacting your health.
- What Is Diabetes?
- Diabetes Symptoms
- 6 Natural Ways To Prevent Diabetes
- What Are The Risk Factors For Type 2 Diabetes?
- Summary – Natural Ways To Prevent Diabetes
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What Is Diabetes?
There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 and type 2. Both forms are marked by high blood sugar. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to prevent type 1, so in this post, we’ll focus solely on how to prevent type 2.
Type 2 is associated with insulin resistance.
Below are some of the early signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
- having cuts that heal slowly
- frequent yeast infections and itching
- blurry vision caused by damaged blood vessels in the eyes
- constant hunger
- numbness and tingling in the extremities
- dark patches on the skin (acanthosis nigricans)
- frequent urination, especially in the night
- dehydration and increased thirst
These symptoms seem concerning, but keep reading for 6 natural ways to prevent diabetes.
6 Natural Ways To Prevent Diabetes
1. Manage your weight.
Many people with type 2 diabetes tend to be overweight or obese. Not everyone, but most. They also tend to store extra fat in the abdominal area. This is what is referred to as visceral fat.
When you have this extra fat around your midsection it increases inflammation in your body. And this increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The good news is that by losing weight, you can significantly decrease your risk. Weight loss is one of the most effective natural ways to prevent diabetes.
There are many effective weight-loss plans, including Paleo, Mediterranean, and low-carb. The key is finding what works best for you.
The great thing about a low-carb diet is that it’s proven to regulate blood sugar and insulin – both protecting you against diabetes.
2. Eat real food.
Eating nutrient-dense, high-quality food has never been more important. The body has the amazing ability to heal itself and prevent chronic disease when given excellent nutrition.
Harness the healing power of real food. And avoid pre-packaged, processed junk food whenever possible. Choose brightly-colored fruits and vegetables and healthy fats.
Foods That Prevent Diabetes
The foods listed below are proven to help prevent type 2 diabetes. This should get you started.
- cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts
- nuts, seeds, and peanuts, including cashews, pecans, almonds, and nut butters
- plain Greek yogurt
- blueberries, apples, and grapes (1) (Keep in mind that if you already have diabetes you’ll want to stick more to low-sugar fruits, such as berries and kiwi.)
- dark yellow vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and squash (2)
- leafy green vegetables, including spinach, kale, and Romaine lettuce
- beans, split peas, and lentils
- portioned amounts of whole grains, including quinoa, bulger, farro, buckwheat, oats, brown rice, rye, and barley (3)
- drink water, black coffee, or green tea
Related: Easy Low Carb Keto One Pot Meal
What Are The Worst Foods For Diabetics?
If you’re pre-diabetic, diabetic, or want to prevent diabetes, you’ll want to avoid these foods:
- white bread and white flour
- pasta, rice, crackers, baked goods, and pretzels
- breakfast cereals, especially the sweetened ones
- sweetened yogurt
- sugar, honey, and maple syrup
- dried fruit, such as raisins and dried cranberries
- coffee drinks
- white potatoes, especially french fries
- sugary drinks, including soda, fruit juices, and sweet tea
Related: 25 Unhealthiest Foods In America
3. Reduce stress.
Stress is a normal part of everyday life. But when you have chronic stress that isn’t well-managed it can lead to serious health problems.
Stress causes the release of hormones, including cortisol and glucagon. And when these hormones increase, they raise insulin and glucose levels in the body…which can lead to diabetes.
This is why it’s crucial to deal with the stress that’s coming into your life. Manage your stress so it doesn’t disrupt your health. There are several healthy ways to address the stress in your life:
- deep breathing exercises
- doing things that make you laugh and smile more
- avoiding stressful situations, when possible
- setting healthy boundaries in your relationships
- deep tissue massage (I love this Gua Sha massage tool for an easy self-massage when my neck, upper back, and shoulders get tight from typing all day)
- going outside in nature
- talking to a trusted friend
4. Move your body every day.
Regular exercise is healthy for everyone. But especially so when you want to prevent type 2 diabetes. Working out boosts your insulin sensitivity at the cellular level. And research shows the most benefits for people who work out regularly (4).
Wondering what types of activities you should do? It’s best to choose something you enjoy and can sustain for the future. Viewing daily workouts as part of your wellness lifestyle can help you maintain a healthy exercise habit.
And, if you get bored easily, then try something new.
That said, some activities have proven more effective than others at improving blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. These include high-intensity interval training (HIIT), strength training, and aerobics (5, 6).
5. Make sleep a priority.
We all sleep. (Hopefully, at least But many of us are not getting enough. With families, friends, work, social media, news, and Netflix it’s no wonder we get any sleep at all. But making quality sleep a priority is an important part of preventing diabetes.
Studies have shown a correlation between short-term sleep deprivation and several variables leading to diabetes (7).
Here are a few tips for sleeping better naturally:
- avoid caffeine late in the day
- exercise early in the day
- apply lavender lotion or put a drop of lavender essential oil on your pillow
- keep a regular (and relaxing) bedtime routine
- avoid blue light exposure in the evening
- keep the temperature cool
- drink chamomile tea
- wake up and go to sleep at the same times every day
- avoid alcohol late in the day
- create a comfortable sleeping environment with soft, comfy bedding and pillows
6. Don’t smoke.
Smoking raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 50% (8).
And there’s research connecting exposure to second-hand smoke and diabetes (9).
The good news is that when people quit smoking their risk for diabetes goes back down. Here are 13 quit-smoking tips.
What Are The Risk Factors For Type 2 Diabetes?
The following risk factors are from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). People who have these risk factors are more likely to develop diabetes.
- a family history of diabetes
- age 45 or older
- high blood pressure
- polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- low HDL or high triglycerides
- history of gestational diabetes, stroke, or heart disease
- obese or overweight
- acanthosis nigricans
- are African American, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, American Indian, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander
- lead a sedentary lifestyle (10)
Summary – Natural Ways To Prevent Diabetes
As you can see, there are several natural ways to prevent diabetes. Eating healthy food, getting regular workouts, prioritizing sleep, and dealing with stress is a great place to start.
Although it’s common, there are healthy steps you can take to prevent your risk of developing the disease. Even if you have family members with diabetes this doesn’t mean that you will develop it too.
For years I suffered from severe reactive hypoglycemia, (which isn’t always but can be a sign of prediabetes). Thanks to a suggestion from my doctor to start intermittent fasting, and a strong desire to feel better, I no longer deal with those horrible symptoms. You can read more about how intermittent fasting cured my hypoglycemia if you’d like to.
Making simple changes to your lifestyle is a great place to start! Try choosing one healthy strategy above and focus on it daily until it becomes a habit. Then add another.
Approaching your health goals step-by-step can help you be successful and healthier at the same time!
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