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Dodging Diabetes

In Issue:

whole and cracked open walnuts

Eating walnuts may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. (Shutterstock)


STEP 2
EAT LESS MEAT, MORE NUTS (ESPECIALLY WALNUTS).

A recent study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found type 2 diabetes risk grew as participants increased red meat consumption. Researchers tracked people who changed their meat-eating habits, using data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and NHS II—about 150,000 people all told. Among those who started eating more red meat—about 3.5 servings per week—diabetes risk jumped by almost 50 percent. Meanwhile those who reported eating less red meat saw their diabetes risk plummet by about 14 percent.

While cutting back on red meat, it’s likely a good idea to beef up walnut consumption. Harvard University researchers recently published a study that found eating walnuts may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. In the report, women who consumed eight ounces of walnuts or more per month reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 24 percent compared with women who ate no walnuts.

Why walnuts? Researchers theorized that their “unique benefits” were likely due to high concentrations of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids—both of which have been shown to be beneficial in diabetes prevention.

 

feet walking through dried leaves on road

Three short post-meal walks can help reduce blood sugar levels. (Shutterstock)


STEP 3
TAKE AN AFTER-DINNER WALK.

While previous research has proven that exercise helps prevent diabetes, a 2013 study by researchers at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services published in Diabetes Care is the first to examine short bouts of physical activity timed following meals—when blood sugar tends to spike. The research found that three short post-meal walks were as effective at reducing blood sugar over 24 hours as a single 45-minute walk. A short walk following an evening meal was most effective of all. It significantly slashed blood sugar levels for up to three hours—at a time of day when blood sugars tend to spike and stay high for hours.

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