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POP QUIZ: What doesn’t discriminate, has heart disease, high blood pressure, blindness, and amputation as a small part of the list of complications, and has cost the US over $218 billion? You guessed it. Diabetes.

There are over 171 million people living with diabetes worldwide. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2030 there will be over 366 million affected by the disease. We can take this prediction as a sentencing or, we can take it as a challenge. The trick to avoiding diabetes is first understanding how we get it, and then do all we can to prevent it. The majority of type 2 diabetes is related to excess weight, so what you do and what you eat plays a huge role.

I challenge all of you to incorporate these 60-second activities into your daily routine to reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

1. Pop a squat while you wait

I know in the morning I like starting my day with a bowl of oatmeal, which helps maintain a healthy balance of good and bad cholesterol. But the cooking can take a minute or two. 

The Challenge: Instead of taking a seat while you wait for your oatmeal to cook, use those 60 seconds as an opportunity to squat!

Why: Squatting builds muscle in your entire body, makes real-life activities easier, burns fat, maintains mobility and balance, prevents injuries, and helps aid digestion.

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2. Add protein to that salad

If you’re eating healthier, you’ve got the right idea. Making a big leafy salad is great for keeping your body healthy and strong. People are often iffy about salads because they think salads aren’t satisfying! Pfft. There are SO MANY ways to make a salad hearty and filling.

The Challenge: Take 60 seconds to find your can opener, pop open a can of tuna and throw the contents in your salad.

Why: Fish proteins are high in omega-3 fatty acids, and do not raise blood glucose levels. Protein is the anti-sugar and by adding it to your salad, you not only gain the benefits of eating protein, but also create a more filling salad.

3. Cinnamon! Cinnamon everywhere!

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Honestly, who doesn’t love cinnamon? Cinnamon buns, cinnamon hearts, beaver tails (if you’re Canadian), what’s not to love? I’m sorry to say, where you see cinnamon, you often see equal or greater amounts of sugar. But that’s not a cinnamon death sentence. Don’t cut out cinnamon, use it in better places!

The Challenge: Instead of adding brown sugar to the oatmeal we squatted with earlier, add cinnamon! Take a minute to find the cinnamon in the back of your spice cupboard and give your bowl a big sprinkle.

Why: Studies have shown that cinnamon reduces bad sugars, fats, cholesterol and total cholesterol in your body. If you have more than a minute to go to the drug store, you can pick up cinnamon tablets in the vitamin isle.

4. Drop the white bread, grab the alternatives.

While in the bread aisle grabbing your favourite white bread for the perfect PB&J, think about your choices and your health. Put that bread down and grab the ingredients to make your own. 

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The Challenge: Drop your white bread habit. Take a minute to remember this article while in the store, and instead get the ingredients to bake a gluten-free bread like this zucchini loaf!

Why: Most gluten-free recipes contain a wide variety of nuts, seeds, and vegetables full of fiber that can reduce your risk of diabetes and help maintain blood sugar levels. 

5. For goodness sake, PUT THAT POP DOWN!

What is the world’s most psychoactive drug you may ask? Why caffeine of course! Caffeine is absorbed easily and affects your brain directly. That’s why we love the stuff so much. It’s addicting!

The Challenge: Take your sweet time putting that can of poison down, open up your fridge and pull out some freshly refrigerated water. Really it should probably take less than 60 seconds so this is an easy one.

Why: Sugary drinks are high on the glycemic index, and drinking more of it is associated with an increased risk of diabetes. In one study, women who drank one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day had an 83% higher risk of type 2 diabetes, compared to women who drank less than one sugar-sweetened beverage per month. Drinking one or more servings of fruit punch per say doubled the risk of diabetes.

Conclusion

If you do choose to follow these 5 easy one minute challenges every day you can, your risk for type 2 diabetes will plummet. The main trick is to keep active and maintain a healthy weight. By swapping poor food choices for good ones and getting active, you will be well on your way to a long, healthy, diabetes-free life.

Sources:

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2012/05/25/darin-steen-demonstrates-the-perfect-squat.aspx

http://www.prevention.com/health/diabetes/prevent-diabetes-these-easy-exercises

http://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/oatmeal#Do’sandDon’ts3

http://www.who.int/diabetes/facts/world_figures/en/

http://www.infographicspedia.com/diabetes-mellitus-facts/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-prevention/art-20047639

http://www.healthambition.com/what-is-in-soda-why-so-addictive/

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/diabetes-full-story/#activity

Image Sources: 

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