21 Healthy Habits That Can Prevent Diabetes

The latest science to improve your blood sugar, whittle your middle, eat healthier, and more.

Choose dairy daily

Dairy haters, listen up: Women who ate the most low-fat dairy products had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a recent study of more than 82,000 women published in the Journal of Nutrition. Researchers think that certain milk proteins increase insulin secretion. Interaction among nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium may also prevent diabetes. Another factor: If you’re filling up on dairy, you may be less likely to eat other foods, such as sweetened beverages or snacks, which can raise diabetes risk. Swap your usual bagel or muffin breakfast for yogurt (mix in berries and nuts for a filling, nutritious parfait), enjoy a glass of skim milk with fruit for dessert, and snack on a low-fat string cheese with a couple of whole-grain crackers to quench pre-dinner cravings.

Eat the rainbow

New research confirms that a produce-rich diet can prevent diabetes, according to a British study from the Institute of Metabolic Science in Cambridge. After researchers studied the eating habits of more than 3,700 adults ages 40 through 79, then followed them for 11 years, they discovered that adults with the highest fruit and vegetable intake (about six servings daily) had a 21 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who ate the least (about two servings a day). Variety mattered: People who consumed 16 different kinds of produce a week were 40 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those who ate just eight different types. Have at least one fruit or veggie at every meal or snack, and change things up from day to day and week to week. Challenge yourself to buy one new item a week at the supermarket and learn a new recipe to prepare it. Make sure you know these surprising diabetes symptoms you might be missing.

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