How to Reduce Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

How to Reduce Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes affects 11 million Canadians - and of that 11 million, 90% of the cases are Type 2 Diabetes. Wondering how you can reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes? There are some healthy changes you can make to help reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes.


Did you know that about 11 million Canadians are living with prediabetes or diabetes? And of the 11 million, 90% of them are cases of Type 2 diabetes. While Type 2 diabetes typically appears in those over the age of 40, it is increasingly becoming a concern amongst children and adolescents with a link to obesity. Type 2 diabetes is also common with those who have a family history of Type 2 diabetes. However, Type 2 diabetes is preventable - and there are a few things that you can do to reduce your risk of developing prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes. 

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that occurs when either your body cannot produce enough insulin or your body is unable to properly use the insulin that it makes. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. It’s job is to help regulate and control the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood. 

Who is at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is linked to many other health concerns and risks and there are a variety of factors that can increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes are:

  • Being overweight or obese, or having a high Body Mass Index (BMI).
  • If you are over the age of 40 years old.
  • If you have a family history or direct family members with diabetes, including gestational.
  • If you are physically inactive or spend most of the day in a sedentary position.
  • If you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
  • If you have prediabetes, which is also called impaired glucose tolerance (which means that you have higher than normal blood sugar levels).
  • If you have obstructive sleep apnea, which is a sleep-related breathing disorder.
  • If you have one of the following health conditions: polycystic ovary syndrome, vascular disease, schizophrenia, depression or bipolar disorder, or acanthosis nigricans.

What Are the Long Term Side Effects of Type 2 Diabetes?

Developing Type 2 Diabetes can pose long term risks and can lead to serious health complications, if it is not properly managed. Type 2 Diabetes can lead to:

  • Cardiovascular disease, heart disease or stroke.
  • Vision loss or blindness.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Nerve damage, foot ulcers, and amputation of lower limbs.
  • Kidney damage or kidney failure.
  • Depression.
  • Dementia.

What Can You Do to Reduce Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes?

Developing Type 2 Diabetes can lead to serious health complications, but there are many things you can reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes. They are the most effective when done together with one another, as they all are working towards improving and living a healthier lifestyle. 

Here are 10 ways you can prevent Type 2 Diabetes:

1. Maintain a Healthy Weight to Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

As previously mentioned, developing Type 2 diabetes is more common amongst those who are overweight. When overweight, your body can become less sensitive and fail to respond normally to insulin, resulting in an insulin resistance and an elevated level of glucose in the blood, therefore resulting in higher than normal sugar levels. 

If you are considered overweight or are unsure if your BMI is high, speak with your healthcare provider. They can also help you to create a plan to help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight going forward. A healthy weight and BMI can reduce your chances of an insulin resistance occurring and therefore minimize your risk of Type 2 diabetes and other severe health conditions as well. 

2. A Healthy Diet Can Decrease Your Chances of Diabetes

What you eat not only has a direct link to your weight, it also helps to improve your overall health and wellbeing, and decrease your chances of Type 2 diabetes. Making changes to your diet can help to reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes. A healthy diet consists of a heaping amount of fruits and vegetables, protein-rich foods (such as meat, nuts, beans, dairy, and fish), and whole grains.

Here are some other modifications you can make to your diet to reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes:

  1. Reduce the amount of fat, sodium, refined sugars, and simple carbohydrates from your diet. 
  2. Minimizing portion sizes, and increasing your fruit and vegetable intake to account for half of your meal, each meal. 
  3. Limit the amount of alcohol and sugary drinks you consume. 
  4. Eat home cooked meals as much as you can and limit the amount of take out or eating out you do to once a week.
  5. Reduce the amount of processed foods you consume. 
  6. Cut back on refined sugars.

3. Exercise Regularly to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

There are many reasons to stay active and exercise! Physical activity isn't just good for your cardiovascular health, your mental health and your physical well being - it also can help you to reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Not only does exercising help you to maintain a healthy weight and prevent weight gain, it can also help to reduce your blood glucose levels as well. It is recommended that you engage in 30 minutes of physical activity every day in order to live a healthy lifestyle and to help reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Activities that can help you to build endurance, strength or flexibility such as jogging, biking, swimming, yoga, pilates and more!

If you are someone who works a job that requires you to be in a sedentary position for a lengthy amount of time/the day, it is important to reduce the amount of time in your day spent in a sedentary position. Some hacks can include walking to and from work instead of driving or taking public transportation, taking a walk on your lunch break, and setting a reminder to stand up every 30 minutes to get your body moving.

4.  Maintain Low Stress Levels to Reduce Risk of Diabetes

Stress can affect your health in many ways, including increasing your risk of Type 2 Diabetes. There are a variety of factors that can link stress to Type 2 Diabetes, including:

  1. Stress can affect your lifestyle, which means that you may be eating poorly or not exercising regularly.
  2. Stress can disrupt your hormones and affect how well insulin works in your body.
  3. Stress can have negative effects on your immune system.
  4. Stress can result in an increase of blood sugar.

There are some ways that you can minimize your stress levels. Tips to reduce stress include:

  1. Ensuring that you are getting well-rested nights sleep.
  2. Physical activity is also a great way to help reduce stress levels. 
  3. Taking some time to relax and enjoy time to yourself. 
  4. Talking to someone you trust or a therapist. 
  5. Doing yoga or meditation.
  6. Journaling. 
  7. Creating a schedule and being realistic about what you need to accomplish and can accomplish in a day. 
  8. Manage and maintain your blood pressure, glucose levels, and cholesterol levels. 
  9. Eating healthy, nutritious meals that keep you full and energized and not skipping meals.
  10. Reducing the amount of coffee, tea, and alcohol you consume.

5. Eat Whole Grains to Decrease Chances of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

Here’s your excuse to eat carbs, but we’re talking the good kind - that is whole grains! Cut the refined grains and white flour based pastas, breads and pastries and introduce whole grains to your diet. Refined flours have fewer nutrients and consuming them increases your blood sugar levels. Swapping your favourite carbs for their whole grain counterparts is a tasty way to reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Whole grains include: wheat, oats, rice, rye, barley, corn, quinoa, sorghum and spelt. Whole grains are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, including B Vitamins, Magnesium, Vitamin E, Iron and Fiber. Consuming them over refined flour based foods can also lower your risk of obesity, which as we mentioned can contribute to Type 2 Diabetes. At Natura Market, we have a wide variety of tasty whole grain foods for you to choose from, including hearty overnight oats, delicious rice pastas, and organic popcorn!

6. Eat More Fiber to Lower Chance of Type 2 Diabetes

Ah fiber, something we could all eat a little bit more of!  Eating more fiber rich foods can help you to decrease your risk of Type 2 Diabetes - and fruits and vegetables are both two great sources of fiber! That is because fiber can help to control your blood sugar. Incorporate fiber rich foods, like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains, for a well balanced diet. You can shop high fiber foods at Natura Market!

7. Drink More Water to Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes 

You’ve probably heard this one before, but we’re going to say it again - drink more water! Not only does water help to flush toxins from your body, keep your skin healthy and hydrated, and promotes healthy weight management-. It can also help you to reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes too! That is because water contains no calories, sugars or carbohydrates, it doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels. Drinking water can also help your body to reduce excess glucose through your urine, thus reducing the amount of glucose in your blood. Opting for water over a sugary drink or a coffee ridden with sugar also helps to reduce your risk of diabetes as well. If drinking more water sounds like something that's going to be hard for you, try some sugar-free flavoured fruit drops to add some flavour to your water!

8. Quit smoking to Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

If you smoke, here’s another reason to quit - quitting smoking can help to reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes! Smoking has harmful effects on the cells of our body, causing inflammation and can result in insulin resistance in our cells. Smoking can also increase your risk of developing belly fat, which in turn can also increase your chances of diabetes even if you are not overweight. Quitting smoking can help to prevent Type 2 Diabetes - and overall improve your health and well being as well!

9. Add Turmeric to Your Diet to Decrease Chances of Diabetes

Spice things up and reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes with turmeric! Turmeric is the main spice in curry and most commonly found in Asian cuisine. This warm, slightly bitter in taste spice is also known for its medicinal uses and healing benefits. Turmeric, and curcumin (an active found in the turmeric plant), are natural anti-hyperglycemic agents, meaning that they can help to decrease high blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation. Add some turmeric to your morning smoothie, some hummus, your salad dressing, homemade soup, stir fry, use to season chicken, or enjoy a delicious turmeric latte. You can learn more about turmeric and the health benefits of spices here. 

10. Eat These Foods to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Yes, there are foods that you can eat that can reduce risk of Type 2 Diabetes! Here are some foods that can lower your risk and help to prevent diabetes:

Whether you’re considered at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes or just looking for ways to prevent Type 2 Diabetes, there are small changes you can make that can have a big impact in improving your overall health and reducing your risk of diabetes. Preventing diabetes starts with a healthy diet and at Natura Market we have a wide selection of healthy foods, to suit every diet and lifestyle!


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