Diabetes is rising at an exponential rate, with an alarming prevalence of 62 million in India alone. It affects not only middle-aged adults, but increasingly the youth as well. Along with high mortality and morbidity rates, diabetes can result in serious complications, such as kidney failure, limb amputation, heart diseases and even blindness. A disease of affluence Unhealthy eating practices along with a sedentary lifestyle are the bane of urban India. Junk food with its high levels of saturated fats, cholesterol and triglycerides reportedly increase one’s chances of developing Diabetes by almost 30%. How we eat is as important as what we eat Many a times due to time constraints, and poor eating habits (eating dinner while watching TV), we tend to gulp down food quickly without chewing properly. It is very important for saliva to mix with food particles so that food is digested properly and nutrients are absorbed by the body. Not chewing properly increases undigested calories. So next time, think before gulping your food down. Smoking and alcohol Regular smoking and alcohol intake can increase your risk of developing Diabetes by almost 50%. Hence it is extremely important to limit your intake of nicotine and alcohol. How to combat Diabetes Increase physical activity - Working your muscles more often and making them work harder improves their ability to use insulin and absorb glucose, this puts less stress on your insulin-making cells. Exercise helps keep a healthy blood sugar level, maintain a healthy weight, manage stress and improve sleep. Lifestyle changes – Changes such as taking the staircase instead of the lift, walking instead of driving. Walking briskly for half an hour every day reduces the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes by 30%. Dietary Changes – Increase your intake of dietary fiber and polyunsaturated fats, like the long-chain omega-3 PUFAs, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from fish and other seafood. Using olive oil, vegetable oil, low-fat dairy, poultry or whole grains, lowers Diabetes risk by 35%. Look to eat a balanced diet. Monitor your blood Sugar - Regular screening and monitoring of your blood sugar levels and HbA1c helps to detect Pre and early Diabetic cases and start timely interventions. What can you do? It is important to be familiar with the risk factors for Diabetes. By being more active, maintaining a healthy weight, diet and lifestyle, you can prevent, delay, and/or manage the onset of diabetes altogether.