November is American Diabetes Month, and nearly 2 million women under the age of 45 have the condition. While chances are you're already working hard in the fight against diabetes, some strategies may prove better than others. Here, some easy tweaks to up your diabetes defenses:
Coffee is good, but adding milk is better For every cup of java you down you cut your risk of diabetes by 7 percent, found a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Although a cup-of-Joe is a healthy addition to your day, there's no better way to skyrocket coffee to superstar status than by adding milk to the equation. You won't find a better source of calcium and vitamin D all rolled into oneÃ¢â‚¬”a killer combination when it comes to fighting diabetes. Hint: Stick to fat-free or low-fat milk to keep the calorie count low.
Cardio is good, but weight lifting may be better Losing 5 to 7 percent of body weight through diet and exercise lowers the likelihood of getting diabetes by 58 percent, according to a National Institutes of Health study. But forget cardio-only sweat sessions; building muscle is the better medicine. Research shows that resistance training is particularly good for burning visceral fat, the belly fat that covers your organs and raises your risk of metabolic syndrome, a precursor to type 2 diabetes. And even if you already have the condition, it's not too late to benefit from lifting weights. Austrian scientists have found that people with type 2 diabetes who start strength training are able to drastically lower their blood sugar levels and improve their condition.
Oatmeal is good, oatmeal with cinnamon is better Studies suggest that oatmeal can help prevent obesity, diabetes, and heart attack. Top this powerhouse breakfast with cinnamon for even more diabetes fighting nutrients. Just half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day makes cells more sensitive to insulin, which helps them convert blood sugar to energy, according to a study at the Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland. Sprinkle some of this sweet stuff onto your next breakfast bowl and reap some pretty powerful rewards.
Strawberries are good, but chocolate-covered strawberries are better Strawberries are super-rich in vitamin CÃ¢â‚¬”a nutrient that may reduce your risk of diabetes, a study in Archives of Internal Medicine reports. Researchers measured vitamin C levels in study volunteers and then tracked them for 12 years. Those with the highest levels of the vitamin were 62 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those with the lowest levels. If this benefit alone isn't reason enough to rejoice, this certainly is: Cambridge University researchers found that high chocolate consumption can reduce the risk of developing diseases like stroke, heart attack, and diabetes by 30 percent. Try this disease-fighting duo fondue style: Melt a square of dark chocolate, which has the most flavonoidsÃ¢â‚¬”an antioxidant that enhances the power of vitamin C, dip strawberries, and enjoy! Just don't over indulge. Chocolate is high in calories and fat.
Whole grains are good, whole grains with peanut butter on top may be better Whole grains have powers refined grains simply don't have, says a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Whole grains shrink belly fat, reducing the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes. Try this classic playground pairing: Top whole-wheat or whole-grain bread with natural peanut butter. Studies link the creamy stuff to a reduced diabetes riskÃ¢â‚¬”probably due to the high fiber content (2 tablespoons has almost 2 g). Beware: the calories are on the high side, so pay attention to the serving size.
Red bell peppers and broccoli are good, but these veggies paired with legumes are better Veggies like red peppers and broccoli are rich in vitamin C, the same nutrient found in strawberries that may reduce the risk of diabetes, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The vitamin may prevent the buildup of free radicals, which damage cells in a way that interferes with glucose metabolism and can cause diabetes, says Nita Forouhi, Ph.D. of the Institute of Metabolic Science at Addenbrooke's Hospital in England and the lead author of the study. Pair these veggies with legumesÃ¢â‚¬”chickpeas, cannelloni beans, kidney beans, and lentils, for a low-fat, low-calorie, high-fiber, high-protein meal that reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Fiber from the legumes slows the release of glucose into your bloodstream, preventing blood sugar spikes that worsen diabetes and make you feel hungry. Add broccoli, red peppers and legumes to salads or soups or try this great Moroccan Chickpeas and Vegetables with Couscous recipe.
Want to take action in the fight against diabetes? Make the American Diabetes Association Facebook Pledge this month.