Good news for people who lead active lives: it’s one of the best and most effective ways to avoid type 2 diabetes. Unlike type 1, type 2 diabetes isn’t congenital; instead, it happens during a person’s life. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include inactivity and eating too many sugary foods, and in people who get diabetes, these factors can also affect the severity. Exercise, in particular, is considered the most effective treatment for diabetes. Patients who are taking medication are urged to add exercise as well to boost its effectiveness. Studies show that people who exercise get three times the benefit from diabetes medication as more sedentary people.
Diet can also make a difference. A diet high in legumes, vegetables such as peas, beans, and lentils, for example, reduces levels of a protein known as glycated hemoglobin. High glycated hemoglobin levels are associated with type 2 diabetes—indeed, doctors regard an excess of glycated hemoglobin as a diagnostic indicator of diabetes. As with exercise, legumes provide a benefit to diabetics as well. Eating legumes has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes—fiber provides similar benefits to a lesser degree.
In addition to diet and exercise, other things that prevent diabetes are melatonin and oddly, whole-body vibration. Brief, daily whole-body vibration of people with conditions typically regarded as precursors to type 2 diabetes may help keep glucose levels under control. Vibration was tested on laboratory animals , and found to work on juveniles, but was not as effective in full grown specimen. Nonetheless, researchers hold out hope that applications can be found that will be beneficial to human beings.
Melatonin is a sleep hormone produced by the brain, and melatonin supplements are often used as a sleep aid. A study has found that people with lower concentrations of melatonin in the blood are more prone to developing type 2 diabetes. The study found that people with insufficient melatonin have more than twice the diabetes risk. The mechanism is not entirely clear. However, melatonin can help prevent or reduce weight gain, and being overweight has been associated with risk of diabetes.