Diabetes does not have a cure, but you can work to manage the disease. Better yet, however, is preventing the disease entirely, and certain lifestyle changes can indeed help you avoid developing type 2 diabetes altogether. New research has found that doing something as simple as adding a particular food into your daily meals can slash your diabetes risk by a significant amount. Read on to find out what you should be working into your diet twice a day.
Eating fruit twice a day slashes your risk of diabetes.
A study published June 2 in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology&Metabolism looked at how fruit intake is associated with the risk of diabetes. The researchers analyzed data on the fruit consumption of more than 7,600 participants who were included in the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute's Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study. According to the study, participants who ate whole fruits had a 36 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes within five years compared to those who consumed less than half a serving of fruit each day.
You have to consume whole fruit, however.
Researchers for the study found that only the consumption of whole fruits lowered the risk, so consuming fruit through other means may not help you prevent diabetes. "We did not see the same patterns for fruit juice," study co-author Nicola Bondonno, PhD, a researcher at the Edith Cowan University's Institute for Nutrition Research in Perth, Australia, said in a statement. "These findings indicate that a healthy diet and lifestyle which includes the consumption of whole fruits is a great strategy to lower your diabetes risk."
People who eat more fruit also have to produce less insulin overall.
The study also found that there was an association between fruit intake and markers of insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar, but according to the study, people who consume more fruit have to produce less insulin to lower their blood sugar levels. Both continuous levels of high blood sugar and high levels of insulin can be troublesome to one's health. Ongoing high blood sugar can damage nerves, blood vessels, and organs, per WebMD. And "high levels of circulating insulin (hyperinsulinemia) can damage blood vessels and are related not only to diabetes, but also to high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease," Bondonno explained.
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Type 2 diabetes affects millions of people in the U.S.
More than 34 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and around 90 to 95 percent of those are type 2 diabetes cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2017, as it was mentioned as the underlying cause of more than 83,500 deaths. To keep diabetes from turning deadly, you need to manage it, but unfortunately, the disease can wreak havoc in your body for years without you even knowing. In fact, of the 34 million people in the U.S. with diabetes, 7.3 million are undiagnosed, per the ADA.
"Type 2 diabetes symptoms often develop over several years and can go on for a long time without being noticed," the CDC says. Common symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, thirst, hunger, blurry vision, numb or tingling hands and feet, tiredness, and dry skin.