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Top 5 Ways to Avoid Diabetes - Family Style!

Updated on March 27, 2011

It's no surprise that diabetes, a chronic condition in which your pancreas does not produce insulin normally, is on the rise, specifically Type II, in which the body can't respond to it properly. It used to be an adult disorder - something many of you associate with aging parents and grandparents.

With childhood obesity rates on the rise, the same disease occurs in youth as well. It not only causes you to eat low-carb, but it can cause you to be blind, have your arm, leg, hand, or foot cut off, get a stroke, or suffer a heart attack. Of course, there's a condition involving high glucose levels just before it sets in that can be reversed early - prediabetes.

How can you and your family prevent having Type II diabetes run in the household?

#1: Eat Your Flutin' Fiber!

There's no doubt that fresh fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of many diseases, and their ways of preventing diabetes are not exceptional. Fruits are as sweet as candy or desserts, but they have fiber, which not only keeps you and your family full but controls the amount of insulin your pancreases produce. What's more - they, along with vegetables, have vitamins and antioxidants to keep everyone healthy!

Even just one serving of dark green leafy vegetables, as a study suggests, can lower the risk too! If your family wants something sweet, ditch the candy and chocolate bars and put fruit at a kid's eye level so everyone can reach for it.

Does your family hate the very thought of eating vegetables? Try some sneaky ways to get them to eat - hide them in food, grow your own with them, and give veggies cool names! They'll never know that you're serving them veggies at every meal.

Oh, and swap the usual white bread for whole wheat bread, which has more fiber. Trade the jasmine rice you've been serving your stir-fries with and use brown rice instead. Instead of your kids having electric blue oatmeal in the morning, why not add dried blueberries and a few shelled sunflower seeds to the plain, unsweetened type? It's that flutin' simple.

#2: Drink Plain Old Water, Coffee, and Tea

Many fast food joints and coffeehouses serve their signature coffee drinks, but with all the whipped cream, full-fat milk, and sugar, they add calories to your waistlines. So have your coffee plain, or drink it with skim milk and a bit of no-calorie sweetener. (On a lighter note, a Japanese study found that the caffeine in plain coffee reduces the risk of diabetes.) The same goes with tea - have it plain or squeeze a bit of lemon juice to make it appealing. Better yet, drink some green tea - it has a great amount of antioxidants to keep you sane as heck,

Soft drinks - the fruit punches with little fruit juice or the soda with high fructose corn syrup - increase diabetes risk because the added sugar adds a lot of hated calories. Plain, flavorless, crystal clear (and boring) water is a great alternative. If you and your family hate the taste of it - which has no taste at all - squeeze a bit of lemon or orange or add a drop or two of your favorite extract to make it appealing to you.

Even spending a day at a theme park can be exercise!
Even spending a day at a theme park can be exercise!

#3: Get Some Flutin' Exercise!

I know, I know - there are times when we all hate dread exercising, and some of us hate it completely. But exercise is a great way to prevent diabetes, and even if it's brief and intense - as a study reports - it can lower your blood sugar. Here are some ways to get your family moving and free of the disease:

Bleep out the E-Word

According to my hub, "Top 5 Anti-Exercise Excuses," many people don't like exercising is because it's too much work. Tell your family, especially your kids, to play with you and call it playtime instead of exercise.

Make it Fun!

Exercise doesn't have to be doing core exercises in skimpy clothing or doing drills you'd see in almost every PE class - it can be fun! My way of getting exercise is going to a theme park because there's a lot of walking involved and I'll get extra steps if I go on the off-season, on the single-rider lines, and use ride reservation passes! Providing that I bring my healthy fare and/or make healthy choices in the restaurants, chances are that I will burn a lot of calories having fun!

If you can't take my suggestion to heart, why not play some water balloon dodgeball or do some party dances in your living room?

Go for A Hike

Hiking does not have to be a camping/vacation thing anymore - just find your local park or forest near you and walk down the nature trails. Your kids can learn something from this experience - the different plants and animals - without noticing that they're exercising.

#4: Sleep on It

Many of you don't really get enough sleep - and by doing so, you raise your diabetes risk by 4.5 times if your sleep less than 6 hours, a study says. For adults like you, they'll need 7-8 hours of sleep each night. For children and teens they need 11-13 (for ages 3-5), 10-11 (for ages 5-12), and 8-9 (for teens) hours of sleep each night. Instead of watching late shows, why not meditate, read a calming story, or just relax in a dim, cool room?

#5: Manage Your Weight in Fat

One of the risk factors of developing Type II diabetes is how much fat you have, and sadly, most of the fat falls onto your belly. This causes the liver to be fatty, thus producing not-so-normal amounts of insulin that your body can respond to. Researchers at Duke University reported that combined with stress, belly fat can raise your risk higher.

Does that mean losing weight just to be beautiful? No - doctors encourage people to shrink their bellies so they can live healthier, be there for their children, and feel good about themselves.

Instead of singling out an obese child, why not change you and your family's lifestyles? Follow the above tips, eat lean protein and less red meat, and move more. Those are very simple ways you and your family can do to reduce their risk of diabetes as well as manage their waists.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      To me, whole family should follow the above rules, however parents should make the changes and sit together with children to educate them and help them grow up healthy. Nowadays, this seldom happens.

    • slideseven profile image


      8 years ago from UK

      Absolutely superb article on diabetes.

      My wife has had the condition for around eight years now and I know a lot of the medications she takes (type 11 diabetes) and we have a long list of greens and other vegetables to eat daily, along with fibre loaded fruit.

      Although I am not diabetic I try to follow her eating pattern of lots of oily fish, veg, fruit and walking.

      Great hub!


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