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5 Simple Swaps That Reduce Blood Sugar and Block Diabetes

Wouldn’t it be amazing to reduce high blood sugar levels just by making easy tweaks to your routine? Good news: You can! These simple study-backed diabetes swaps let you outsmart the disease — and they’re easier than you’d think!

Trade dark coffee for light.

Love waking up with a cup of joe or cooling off with iced java mid-afternoon? Smart move! Italian scientists say drinking two cups of coffee daily lowers diabetes risk by 54 percent, thanks to blood sugar–balancing chlorogenic acid in the brew. And by choosing a lighter roast (which is less processed), you’ll maximize those benefits: A study in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that light roasts contain up to 2,400 percent more chlorogenic acid than dark roasts.

Eat berries.

Savoring strawberries deters diabetes, thanks to anthocyanins that enhance cells’ sensitivity to insulin. Proof: Harvard scientists found that folks who ate at least two servings (16 or more berries) per week were 33 percent less likely to have blood-sugar elevations.

Swap solo for social.

When you’re firing up the grill, invite a neighbor over. Swiss scientists found that folks who regularly participated in social activities lowered their diabetes risk by 38 percent. Emotional support increases feel-good chemicals that aid in blood-sugar control while combatting the body-wide inflammation that can set diabetes in motion.

Sub out worries for wonder.

Fretting over to-do’s? Gaze at your garden! Stress hormones hamper insulin production, but University of California research suggests that lowering tension cuts diabetes risk in half. Tip: Japanese scientists say admiring a flower for six seconds lowers stress levels by up to 83 percent.

Switch sitting to strolling.

Too much sit time ups blood sugar, but moving every half hour helps. Research in Diabetes suggests walking for 40 minutes daily (even just minutes at a time) switches on enzymes that help the body use glucose efficiently, lowering diabetes risk by 68 percent.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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