Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Diet plays a crucial role in diabetes control, especially when it comes to managing blood sugar levels. One ingredient has been described as the “best herb” for lowering readings. Doctor Jabeen Begum verified that “most studies show that the best herb for diabetes is barberry”. Barberry contains a compound called berberine that has been shown to lower HbA1c.
What is HbA1c?
HbA1c is the “average blood glucose (sugar) levels for the last two to three months”, the charity Diabetes UK explained.
“If you have diabetes, an ideal HbA1c level is 48mmol/mol (6.5 percent) or below,” Diabetes UK added.
Those at risk of diabetes should aim for a HbA1c level below 42mmol/mol (six percent).
The phytonutrient berberine is “naturally antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal”, said experts at Indigo Herbs.
WebMD highlighted one three-month study whereby 36 diabetic adults were ingesting barberry.
By the end of the experiment, those who ingested the herb had “significantly lowered HbA1c levels”.
In fact, the phytonutrient it contains – berberine – was found to be “as effective as metformin”, the medication for diabetes.
Doctor Begum cautioned that barberry should not be taken while pregnant – and the herb is not a replacement for prescribed medication.
She also highlighted that other herbs have been shown to be effective when it comes to managing diabetes.
Examples include: cinnamon, bay leaf, cayenne, turmeric, flaxseed, and fenugreek.
“There may be certain herbs that will work better for you than others,” Doctor Begum confirmed.
As well as herbs, the foods you eat can impact long-term blood sugar control.
For instance, Diabetes UK recommends fresh, frozen, dried, or canned fruit and vegetables.
They are naturally low in calories and packed full of vitamins, minerals, and fibre.
“Everyone should aim to eat at least five portions a day. A portion is roughly what fits in the palm of your hand,” the charity elaborated.
However, it is best to avoid fruit juices and smoothies as they don’t contain enough fibre.
In addition to fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish are part of a healthy diet.
However, any foods high in fat, salt and sugar should be limited as they spike blood sugar levels.
Examples include: biscuits, crisps, chocolates, cakes, ice cream, and sugary drinks.
“They’re also high in unhealthy saturated fats, so they aren’t good for cholesterol levels and your heart,” the charity added.
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