Celebrity chef Paula Deen is known for her heart-stopping recipes, such as Lady’s Brunch Burger: a beef patty topped with bacon and a fried egg then sandwiched between Krispy Kreme doughnuts. So, in 2012, when Deen informed the public that she has Type 2 diabetes, it was hardly a surprise. The food she’d cooked and eaten for years increased her risk for heart woes and diabetes.
Heart disease indicates that you might be making lifestyle choices that up your risk for diabetes. Poor glycemic control is linked to earlier disability, becoming housebound and earlier death for people with cardiovascular disease. Around 68 percent of people age 65 or older with diabetes die from heart disease.
The good news? Maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle reduces your risk for Type 2 diabetes. A study published in Diabetologia assessed the heart health and diabetes risk of nearly 8,000 adults in comparison with their meeting, or not meeting, healthy benchmarks for Life’s Simple 7 : maintaining healthy blood pressure, glucose levels and cholesterol; eating a healthy diet; exercising at least 150 minutes per week; not smoking; and maintaining a healthy weight. Those who scored in the recommended range for at least four of these factors had an 80 percent lower risk of developing diabetes 10 years later.
So protect your heart health and dodge the diabetes bullet, too! No red or processed meats; a plant-heavy diet with 100 percent whole grains and lean proteins; regular physical activity; and no first- or secondhand smoke.