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There is much consternation in the medical field regarding the origins and determinants of diabetes. Is it genetic and thereby unavoidable, or are there other forces at play? The most likely answer is a combination of the two, yet experts agree that adopting a healthy lifestyle plays a key role in managing and possibly preventing diabetes. Here are a few healthy habits to adopt; the results are something that anyone can see, diabetic or not.

While few people actually benefit from a sedentary lifestyle, the dangers are far more pronounced if you have inherited or are at risk for diabetes. Incorporating more physical activity into your routine offers significant benefits for your body, including more efficient use of insulin, a decrease in blood pressure and an improvement in the health of your circulatory system. When your muscles are forced into action, they readily absorb more glucose, causing your blood sugars to stay at a reasonable level. These favorable effects can greatly enhance the quantity and quality of your years.

By consuming a diet that is rich in fiber, you are less likely to experience high blood glucose levels. Fiber also helps to lower your cholesterol levels, which is especially important because as a diabetic, you have a higher risk of developing heart disease. According to the American Diabetes Association, you should aim to include 14 grams of fiber in each 1,000 calories you consume. Fiber-rich foods include whole grain breads, vegetables, fresh fruits and legumes. You might also consider taking a daily fiber supplement.

Most people can relate to the need to shed a few excess pounds here and there, but as a diabetic, this objective is even more important for your health. Obesity is one of the most common culprits in the development of type 2 diabetes; if you have type 1 diabetes, obesity increases the severity of your condition. In both cases, extra weight nearly doubles your risk of dying from heart disease. Problems associated with weight gain and obesity include high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels. To make things worse, these conditions severely impair your body’s resistance to insulin. Although it is not guaranteed, there is the chance that shedding those pounds can allow you to stop taking insulin or prescription medications.

If you have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes caused by obesity, you may be tempted to jump on the bandwagon of the Next Big Thing in dieting. The Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet and others are not effective long-term solutions for losing weight and warding off diabetes. These diets often eliminate entirely certain types of foods, many of which are critical in the production of insulin and absorption of glucose. A dietician or nutritionist can provide safer, more reasonable diet plans customized to fit your specific needs.

Are you genetically predisposed to diabetes, or is it something that stems from poor lifestyle choices? The answer is uncertain. One thing that IS certain, however, is that adopting a healthier way of life can turn things around for your mind and body, regardless of the origin of your diagnosis. The more you understand the relationship between diabetes and your decisions, the sooner you can implement the necessary changes.

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