How to cut your risk of diabetes

Reduce your risk of diabetesPic: Getty

It is estimated that some 2.9 million Britons have diabetes, with many more thought to be as yet undiagnosed. Around 90 per cent of adults suffer from type 2 diabetes.

Though manageable with treatment and monitoring, type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, but it could, in some 80 per cent, be prevented or at the very least delayed. Check out these simple lifestyle changes that could cut your risk of developing this long-term condition by as much as 60 per cent.

Lose weight
According to Diabetes UK, if you are overweight, every kilogram you lose could reduce your risk by up to 15 per cent. Most people are well aware if they are overweight or obese, but pay particular attention to tummy fat, which research has shown to be linked to a greater risk of type 2 diabetes. If your waist is more than 31.5 inches for women or 37 inches for men, it's time to think about shifting some of those excess pounds.

Eat well
Even if you are a healthy weight, eating properly is a must if you want to cut your risk of developing diabetes. In particular, cut back on fat, sugar and salt to help reduce cholesterol levels, and bump up your portions of fresh fruit and veg. A 2009 study revealed that eating processed meats increased the risk of diabetes by 40 per cent, so it's advisable to keep those to a minimum in your diet. On the other side of the coin, a Harvard study suggested that consuming two more portions of fibre each week reduced the risk of the condition by 11 per cent.

Up your exercise
No matter what your age, exercise is key to preventing a whole host of long-term health conditions, of which type 2 diabetes is one. According to Age UK, research has shown that regular exercise could cut your chances of developing the condition by as much as 64 per cent. And a 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism revealed that weight training could significantly reduce the risk, so mix your cardio with a little resistance training.

Cigarettes and alcohol
Stop the former, and cut down on the latter. Smoking is known to increase blood pressure levels, in turn a major cause of diabetes, while overdoing the booze is likely to lead to weight gain and boost your chances of type 2.

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.

Have you made changes to your lifestyle in a bid to cut your risk of type 2 diabetes? Leave your comments below...