Six ways to cut your diabetes risk

Type 2 diabetes is on the rise in Britain, and in many cases, is a preventable condition. Here are just a few tips on how to reduce your risk.

Cut your diabetes risk

Pic: Getty

Get lean
A healthy eating and exercise regime has long been known to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but recent research suggests it's important to include a little weight training to your fitness plan.

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocriniology & Metabolism, increasing your lean muscle mass with a few weekly resistance training sessions lowers your insulin resistance. In fact, researchers found that for every 10 per cent increase in muscle mass, the risk of developing prediabetes dropped by 12 percent. So next time you visit the gym, mix it up a little by alternating cardio and weights.

Raise your roughage
Fibre isn't just good for the gut. According to, a Harvard study of healthcare professionals linked a higher intake of cereal fibre to a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes, while a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine claimed that two more weekly servings of fibre reduced the risk of developing the condition by 11 per cent. And since it slows down the flow of glucose into the bloodstream, you're less likely to get those sugar spikes after a meal.

Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (aim to beat not meet your five-a-day target), and whole grain foods are a surefire way of getting your recommended 18g a day, but if you're not yet a fibre fanatic, you're advised to increase your intake gradually to avoid short-term stomach cramps and bloating.

Chill out
Stress is becoming ever more prevalent in the UK, and among the many mental and physical health problems it can cause is an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. This is because the body reacts to stress by increasing blood sugar and blood pressure - the changes in blood sugar levels associated with continued stress over time mean the body is eventually unable to regulate levels efficiently.

Take time to chill out with a spot of deep breathing, yoga or meditation and give your body and mind a helping hand in managing stress.

Sleep well
How well and for how long you sleep can affect a number of the body's essential processes, including appetite, weight control and the immune system, as well as affecting your blood sugar levels. Long-term sleep deprivation can increase insulin resistance, and the resulting fatigue also makes you more likely to comfort eat, potentially leading to weight gain that could increase your risk of developing diabetes.

Try to get some decent shuteye by getting some form of exercise during the day, sticking to a regular bed time, and sleeping in a cool, dark, quite room for at least seven hours a night.

Up your omega-3s
Omega-3 fatty acids are known to provide an increasing number of health benefits, including protection against type 2. In 2011, an international study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism, found that a diet high in omega-3s enables the body to better burn off glucose and fat. And these helpful little substances are thought to stimulate a process called "insulin signalling cascade", which improves the way in which blood sugar is used in the body.

Tuck into two portions of oily fish a week and you'll be giving your body a type 2-preventing boost.

Go nuts
Recent research suggests that a small portion of walnuts two or three times a week could significantly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In a US study of nearly 140,000 women, those who consumed a 28g pack of fatty acid-rich walnuts at least twice a week were 24 per cent less likely to develop the condition than those who rarely ate them. So get cracking.