Making fresh produce the main focus of your meals can cut your diabetes risk by 24% or more, thanks in part to all the fiber, which steadies blood sugar. In fact, just adding to your diet some greens could lower your odds by 14%. The magnesium and polyphenols in leafy greens help you stay sensitive to insulin — essential for blood sugar absorption. Enjoy citrus year-round, too. Tangerines and grapefruit contain helpful compounds called naringenin and nobiletin.

The nitrites and saturated fats in processed meats (hot dogs, knockwurst, bacon, sausage) boost diabetes risk by 19% (and fuel cancer and heart troubles, too.) Great alternatives: skinless white-meat turkey, juicy portobello “steaks,” marinated salmon or chicken breasts, or burgers made with, grass-fed beef.

As Chef Shane Kelly says, “Eat outside the box! Because in most cases, eating the box would probably be better for you!”  Natural food is “real food” and doesn’t include artificial ingredients or additives. Real food has many more enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc., useful to your body, than processed food. Natural food doesn’t have to be organic, but since pesticides, residues, antibiotics, and hormones can linger on or in food, foods grown or produced with the benefit of these things might not really be “natural food” any longer. Real food is food that has not been processed: canned; boxed; bagged, etc.

The key to moving toward a more real food diet, is to avoid the middle of the grocery store! Most of the food found in the center of the grocery store has been manipulated and processed to increase the self-life of the product, by adding salt and other preservatives. For this challenge, “real food” can include some foods that are frozen or refrigerated. Examples: salad dressing, (meaning it’s “more real” than dressing on the shelf; frozen fruits; frozen vegetables. Key question: Can it spoil? If yes, it’s real.

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