Imagine having the power to take control of your well-being, reverse your doctor’s diagnosis, and reclaim your health. No, it’s not the plot of a science-fiction movie, nor does it have to be little more than a fleeting dream. On the contrary, it is a very realistic possibility 96 million adults in the United States living with a diagnosis of prediabetes. And reversing prediabetes doesn’t take as long as you might think—if you know the truth about what works.
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a condition characterized by blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. One way to think about what’s happening: Imagine your body is a car and sugar is the gas. Normally, insulin acts as a key to let the sugar into your cells to use as energy. But if you have prediabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin (or the insulin doesn’t work properly) to let the sugar into the cells. So the sugar stays in your bloodstream instead of entering your cells, raising your blood sugar levels.
Janet M. O’Mahony, MD an internist practicing in Baltimore explains that a diagnosis of prediabetes is a warning that diabetes may be in your future. Dr. O’Mahoney explains that without lifestyle changes, people with prediabetes are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes within 10 years. “About 10% of people with prediabetes will develop diabetes each year.”
How is prediabetes diagnosed?
For most people, prediabetes is picked up on the routine blood test they have done at their annual physical. The most common metric used is Hemoglobin A1C, which measures your average blood sugar level over the past three months. It does this by looking at the percentage of your red blood cells that are coated with sugar. An A1C level between 5.7% and 6.4% is indicative of prediabetes. Also derived from routine blood work is fasting blood sugar level, which is normal if it is below 100 mg/dl, and indicates prediabetes if it is in the range of 100 to 125 mg/dl. (Haven’t had blood work in a while? Click on for a moment online prediabetes diagnostic test.)
What is the risk of prediabetes?
“The biggest risk for prediabetes is the long-term damage from diabetes—especially to your heart, blood vessels, and kidneys—that may have already begun,” says Dr. O’Mahoney. Click on for more on associated health risks of type 2 diabetes.
How long does it take to reverse prediabetes?
It all depends, says Linda Khoshaba, NMD, FABNE, founder of Natural Endocrinology Specialists and a board-certified physician specializing in naturopathic endocrinology. It takes time to reverse prediabetes. “It may take weeks or months to see results. But the sooner you start making lifestyle changes, the sooner you’ll be able to reverse prediabetes and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.” Anecdotal evidence from our real-life success story archives: Cindy Levengood reversed her prediabetes in less than three months.
The 8 easiest ways to reverse prediabetes
A daily walking routine for exercise…check. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night…check. Quit smoking…check. Dr. In fact, O’Mahoney says these are excellent ways to reverse your prediabetes. But to help you speed up healing, we’ve rounded up 8 study-proven easy lifestyle extras:
1. Replace coffee with green tea
Revamp your morning routine, start your day with green tea instead of coffee, or even other varieties of tea, to reduce blood sugar levels in just 4 weeks, according to Ohio State University scientists. The anti-inflammatory compounds are called catechins in green tea has been researched proven to reduce inflammation in the gut as well as help heal “leaky” junctions between cells that line the gut. It is believed that toxins entering the bloodstream via a so-called “leaky gut” help trigger the inflammation throughout the body that can lead to elevated blood sugar levels as well as diabetes.
2. Eat breakfast before 8.30
Shows eat early in the day reduces insulin resistance and blood sugar levels. When researchers analyzed data from 10,575 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, they found that those who routinely ate breakfast before 8:30 a.m. had lower blood sugar levels throughout the day. “We found that people who started eating earlier in the day had lower blood sugar levels and less insulin resistance, whether they limited their food intake to less than 10 hours a day or their food intake was spread over more than 13 hours a day.” leading researcher Mariam Ali, MD told the people at the Endocrine Society’s 2021 annual meeting.
3. Sprinkle cinnamon on your oatmeal
The estimated 96 million of us in the United States living with pre-diabetes can improve blood sugar levels and indulge our taste buds at the same time. This is according to a study published in Journal of the Endocrine Society who found a daily diet containing cinnamon was helps lower elevated blood sugar levels and improving the body’s response to eating a high-carbohydrate meal—two hallmark indicators of pre-diabetes. (Click on for more on How Cinnamon Can Help Reverse Diabetes.)
Registered Dietitian Robyou’re IafeliceMS, RDN says that while all four types of cinnamon — Sri Lankan or Ceylon (typically sold as “cinnamon”), Chinese cinnamon, Indonesian cinnamon, and Saigon (or Vietnamese) — are helpful, Saigon cinnamon is the most potent and contains more anti-inflammatory and other components than its counterparts that make it a natural insulin balancer. “About 1 teaspoon a day is a tasty way to harness the power of cinnamon,” says Iafelice.
4. Sip water all day…from the right bottle
Proper hydration can help flush glucose out of your blood, helps you better maintain levels and reverse pre-diabetes. Equally important: how you hydrate. So says research published in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism that replacing plastic cups and water bottles reduces your risk of diabetes by as much as 63%. Plastic contains estrogen-like compounds called phthalates, which causes your body to glom onto fat, disrupts its ability to regulate glucose. Tote one of those water bottles to the gym or work to hydrate without the guilt. Also smart: Store leftovers or pack lunches in glass containers or reusable silicone bags instead of plastic bags or containers. One to try is Pyrex glass food storage set in 22 parts (Kohls.com).
5. Take your lunch outside
Forget eating at your desk or grabbing lunch while running errands: instead, head outside to soak up the midday sun. In just 10 minutes – the time it takes to snack on your sandwich – you have reduced your risk of diabetes Tufts University Research. The precise angle of the sun’s rays at this time increases your body’s production of vitamin D without damaging the skinaccording to a Norwegian study in Advances in Experimental Biology. And by keeping D levels high, diabetes risk is reduced by up to 78%, and dramatically increases the likelihood of remission of prediabetes.
6. Sip this mocktail before a big meal
Several studies, including one from Arizona State University, highlight the benefit of knocking back 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before sitting down to a carb-heavy meal. “The acetic acid in vinegar, which is the result of fermentation, can control blood sugar,” says Iafelice. Science agrees as researchers found that apple cider vinegar improves blood sugar response by 55%. But apple cider vinegar isn’t your only option. “Anything acidic, such as other types of vinegar as well as lemon, slows down the digestion and absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, which prevents blood sugar spikes,” explains Iafelie.
Try tossing your dinner salad with this triple-threat vinaigrette made with 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, but also 1/2 cup olive oil (as a study published in Nutrition and diabetes says, reduces the risk of prediabetes developing into type 2 diabetes by 16%). Season it with a little salt, pepper and 1 crushed clove of garlic or a variety of herbs such as basil and oregano.
7. Skip the bedtime snack
Ditch that late night trip to the kitchen and start reversing your pre-diabetes today – according to research published in Diabetes care. Researchers found that eating an hour before bed raises blood sugar by more than 8% and insulin levels drop by nearly 7% compared to eating the same meal 2 to 3 hours earlier. Edible Quinteroa registered dietitian and medical advisor at HealthInsider suggests not eating anything after 20.00 if you normally bedtime is around 10 p.m. “Look to eat earlier if you typically go to bed earlier.”
8. Sleep on a cool pillowcase
Add flash-freezing your pillowcase to your bedtime routine to burn more calories—and increase the production of brown fat, which the National Institutes of Health says makes you almost three times less likely to develop diabetes. Before you leave to brush your teeth, mist your pillowcase with water and put it in the freezer 10 minutes before bed.
For an added bonus, add a few drops of lavender essential oil to the water, as research has linked its aroma promotes calmness to help you get that important sleep. Lavender oil also helps reduce stress, another risk factor for diabetes according to research published in Cureus. As if that’s not reason enough to cool off at bedtime, University of Chicago research says so a cooler head helps you doze off quickly and reach deeper levels of slow wave sleep, something finds improves insulin sensitivity as much as losing 30 pounds!
For real-life success stories of women who successfully reversed prediabetes, check out these stories from our sister site:
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your doctor before following a treatment plan.