Diabetes prevention: 5 tips for taking control

Changing your lifestyle could be a big step toward diabetes prevention — and it's never too late to start. Consider these tips. By Mayo Clinic Staff

When it comes to type 2 diabetes — the most common type of diabetes — prevention is a big deal. It's especially important to make diabetes prevention a priority if you're at increased risk of diabetes, for example, if you're overweight or have a family history of the disease.

Diabetes prevention is as basic as eating more healthfully, becoming more physically active and losing a few extra pounds — and it's never too late to start. Making a few simple changes in your lifestyle now may help you avoid the serious health complications of diabetes down the road, such as nerve, kidney and heart damage. Consider the latest diabetes prevention tips from the American Diabetes Association.

Tip 1: Get more physical activity

There are many benefits to regular physical activity. Exercise can help you:

  • Lose weight
  • Lower your blood sugar
  • Boost your sensitivity to insulin — which helps keep your blood sugar within a normal range

Research shows that both aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes, but the greater benefit comes from a fitness program that includes both.

Tip 2: Get plenty of fiber

It's rough, it's tough — and it may help you:

  • Reduce your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control
  • Lower your risk of heart disease
  • Promote weight loss by helping you feel full

Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Tip 3: Go for whole grains

Although it's not clear why, whole grains may reduce your risk of diabetes and help maintain blood sugar levels. Try to make at least half your grains whole grains. Many foods made from whole grains come ready to eat, including various breads, pasta products and many cereals. Look for the word "whole" on the package and among the first few items in the ingredient list.

May. 29, 2013 See more In-depth