More than 30 million Americans have diabetes and 90% to 95% of them have type 2 diabetes. Older age, poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle are some of the biggest risk factors in developing type 2 diabetes. The good news is that there is plenty you can do to not only lower your chances of getting diabetes, but also to improve your overall quality of life. Read below for some of our top tips on helping to maintain or improve your health.

Are You Drinking Enough Water?

Water is the healthiest drink option in the world, and it should be your primary beverage to drink throughout the day. Other drinks are loaded with unhealthy ingredients, so cutting them out altogether is ideal. Besides helping to prevent diabetes, water offers plenty of other health benefits as well. Water supports organ health, helps maintain blood pressure, and can even aid in weight loss. If you need help incorporating more water throughout the day, try keeping a water bottle with you at all times, add fruit to give it some flavor, or set goals to drink a certain amount every hour.

Cut Out Sugar: Why Too Much Sugar Is Bad for You

Everyone loves a sweet once in a while, but too much sugar raises your risk of developing diabetes along with several other health concerns. Prolonged high-sugar consumption drives resistance to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels. There are plenty of delicious treats to substitute that can help you cut out harmful foods from your diet. Try adding fruit instead of sweeteners or snacking on dark chocolate and trail mix. Also, you should make a habit of reading nutrition labels whenever you are grocery shopping to make sure you are buying healthy, low-sugar options.

Cigarette Smoking: A Risk Factor

The harmful effects of smoking are endless. Not only does smoking negatively impact your heart, lungs, and circulation, but it also increases your chances of getting diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smokers are 30–40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers. Once you make the decision to give up cigarettes, consult with your doctor to see what kind of help is available to you in this process. Support groups, nicotine patches, and meditation can help you stay on track.

How Does Exercise Reduce the Risk of Diabetes?

Daily exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body. Not only does it make a positive impact on your mood and overall lifestyle, but exercise makes it easier to control your blood glucose, or blood sugar, level. To get the most out of daily physical activity, look into senior activities you enjoy doing that incorporates aerobic exercise and strength training. Always consult with your doctor before starting any new workout regimen.