If you exercise, eat a healthy diet and control your blood pressure and cholesterol your risk of getting diabetes is dramatically reduced. Are there other things you can do to help prevent it? AARP magazine offers the following suggestions:

EAT BREAKFAST EVERY DAY – “What we suspect is that consistency of eating a daily breakfast controls appetite and caloric intake for the rest of the day, which helps prevent weight gain,” says Andrew Odegaard, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Minnesota. Consider peaches, plums and nectarines. New research suggests that stone fruits have bioactive compounds that can help prevent obesity-related diabetes and heart disease, according to research presented at the August 2012 meeting of the American Chemical Society.

INCREASE YOUR SLEEP – Sleeping less than six hours each night is linked with a 60% higher rate of diabetes suggests a study done at the Boston Area Community Health Pre-Diabetes Study show.  One theory is that when you are sleep-deprived,  appetite-regulating hormones can become erratic – igniting your cravings for salty and sugary foods.  New research also suggests that getting treated for sleep apnea can help control blood glucose levels.  Rebecca Piccolo, a biostatistician at New England Research Institutes in Watertown Massachusetts says, “the first strategy for a longer night’s sleep is to get the TV, computer and smartphone out of the bedroom.”

EAT MORE BROCCOLI AND LESS BOLOGNA – Eating cured meats is associated with greater weight gain, and a higher obesity rate. “We found subjects who ate processed meats like hotdogs, breakfast sausages and luncheon meats at least twice a week had a 63% higher risk than did those who ate them less than twice a month”, says Amanda M. Fretts, Ph.D. at the Cardiovascular Health Research United at the University of Washington in Seattle.  Adopting a Mediterranean-style diet- including fruits, vegetables and legumes has been shown to lower diabetes risk.

QUIT SMOKING – Some people delay quitting for fear they will gain weight.  Karen Margolis, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School believes that as long as you don’t gain more than 10 pounds, the benefits of quitting outweigh the risk of moderate weight gain.

MOVE YOUR BODY – Walking, aerobic exercise, weight training, it’s all good.  Walking may be the easiest way to get started. Research has shown that adding 3,500 steps a day is linked with a 29% lower risk of developing diabetes.  Exercise in general can control cholesterol, blood pressure and regulate insulin production.  It’s also great for weight control.

Now, if we could just avoid the Halloween candy……..  AARP  October/November  2012

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