1. Drink moderately
Include a glass of wine with your dinner. One study found that women who had a glass of wine a day cut their risk of diabetes in half compared to teetotallers. Not a wine lover? The study found the same effects for beer. But cork the wine bottle once dinner is over. An Australian study found that drinking a glass of wine immediately after eating can result in a sudden drop in the insulin in your blood, meaning the glucose from your meal hangs around longer, eventually damaging the arteries.
2. Watch your fat intake
Cut back on saturated fat. The reason you want to avoid saturated fat is simple: American scientists evaluated 3,000 people and found that those with the highest blood levels of saturated fats were twice as likely to develop diabetes.
3. Go for a walk
Walk about 2 kilometres a day. That’s all it took in one large U.S. study to slash the risk of dying from diabetes by more than a third. Believe it or not, if you walk 10 kilometres a week, you’ll be nearly 40 percent less likely to die from all causes and 34 percent less likely to die from heart disease, the leading cause of death in people with diabetes. The reason? Walking makes your cells more receptive to insulin, which leads to better control of blood sugar. It also raises levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.
Rent a comedy and watch it after dinner. A Japanese study found that people with diabetes who laughed soon after eating (while watching a comedy) had significantly lower blood sugar levels than those who listened to a boring lecture. The connection held even for those without diabetes.
5. Start your day with grapefruit
Have half a grapefruit with breakfast tomorrow morning. American researchers asked 50 obese patients to eat half a grapefruit with each meal for 12 weeks and compared them to a group that didn’t eat any. Those patients who ate the grapefruit lost an average of 1.6 kg (3.6 lb). They also had lower levels of insulin and glucose after each meal, suggesting a more efficient sugar metabolism. (Make sure you talk to your doctor first before eating grapefruit if you are on any medication, as it can affect the way that medicines are processed in the liver.)
6. Muscle up
Add at least one day a week of resistance training. You’ll build more muscle than you will by walking, and the more muscle mass you have, the more efficiently your body burns glucose and the less that hangs around in your blood.
7. Have decaf on the side
If you can’t resist that cake, have a cup of decaffeinated coffee with it. British researchers found that combining decaf with simple sugars (such as those in doughnuts, cakes and cookies) reduces the rise in blood sugar that such sweet things create. Standard coffee didn’t have the same benefit. The reason? While plant chemicals in coffee slow the rate at which your intestines absorb sugar, caffeine delays sugar’s arrival in the muscles, keeping it in the bloodstream for longer.
8. Have smaller meals more often
Prepare your breakfast, lunch and dinner, but then divide each meal in half. Eat half now, then the other half in a couple of hours. Eating several small meals rather than three large meals helps to avoid the major influx of glucose that, in turn, results in a blood sugar surge and a big release of insulin.
Spend 10 minutes a day tensing then relaxing each muscle in your body, from your toes to your eyes. The technique is called progressive muscle relaxation, and a study of 100 people with high blood sugar levels found that this kind of significantly improved their blood sugar levels.
10. Fall in love with legumes
Eat 75 g of beans a day. These high-fibre foods take longer to digest, so they release their glucose more slowly. Studies find just 75 g a day can help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels.