Diabetes is an epidemic in the United States, with about 29 million people who have it, another 8 million who are undiagnosed and 86 million who are considered pre-diabetic, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, is a disease in which the body’s cells don’t use insulin properly. At first, the pancreas makes more insulin to get glucose into the cells, but over time, the pancreas can’t make enough to keep blood glucose levels normal and the result is type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes increases a person’s risk for several health conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. It’s also responsible for as many as 12 percent of deaths in the U.S., three times higher than previous estimates, a January 2017 study in the journal PLOS ONE found.
Although genetics can increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, both diet and exercise also play a big role.
In fact, people with pre-diabetes who lost just 5 to 7 percent of their body weight reduced their risk by 54 percent, a study out of John Hopkins in July 2013 found.
Here, experts weigh in with 10 foods that balance your blood sugar and can prevent diabetes:
You might think fruit is off the menu because of its sugar content, but fruit is filled with vitamins and nutrients that can help ward off diabetes.
Apples are one of the best fruits you can eat because they’re rich in quercetin, a plant pigment. Quercetin helps the body secrete insulin more efficiently and wards off insulin resistance, which occurs when the body has to make more and more insulin to help glucose enter the cells. Insulin resistance is the hallmark characteristic of type 2 diabetes.
“It’s filled with antioxidants, and also there’s fiber in the fruit that naturally slows the digestion of the sugars,” Karen Ansel, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Syosset, New York, and author of “Healing Superfoods for Anti-Aging,” told Fox News.
But be sure to eat apples with the skin because this park of the fruit has six times more quercetin than its flesh.
Eating a serving of yogurt every day can cut your risk for type 2 diabetes by 18 percent, a November 2014 study out of the Harvard School of Public Health found.
Although it’s not clear whether that’s because yogurt has probiotics, one thing is for sure: The snack, especially the Greek variety, is high in protein, which makes you feel satiated and prevents large blood sugar spikes, Marina Chaparro, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), and a certified diabetes educator in Miami, Florida, told Fox News.