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Diabetes and Inflammation


Exercise to Fight Diabetes and Inflammation

Walking 30 minutes a day on most days has been proved to be the best way to prevent type 2 diabetes for people at high risk. Part of exercise's power for diabetes prevention may come from its anti-inflammatory effects.

Physical activity releases a flood of anti-inflammatory chemicals into the body. Exercise also causes the body's cells, especially muscle cells, to dramatically increase their sensitivity to insulin.

The increased insulin sensitivity from exercise also helps reduce chronic inflammation. The benefits are seen even with moderate exercise, like regular walking.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Diet can also contribute to chronic inflammation. And some foods have anti-inflammatory properties.

An anti-inflammatory diet by itself is not effective at preventing diabetes, however, unless it leads to weight loss. Weight loss and increased physical activity can have stronger anti-inflammatory effects than diet, and both are necessary for reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Foods with natural anti-inflammatory properties include:

  • Healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, olive oil, flaxseed oil, and canola oil
  • Avocados
  • Walnuts
  • Most fruits and vegetables, like oranges, tomatoes, and leafy greens

Foods that tend to increase inflammation in the body include unhealthy fats, such as:

  • Trans-fatty acids
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Margarine
  • Red meat (beef and pork)

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on August 10, 2012
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