Type 2 diabetes is prevalent in the UK and is caused by the body’s inability to produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels. Unchecked blood sugar levels, if left unchecked, can cause a wide-range of health issues, such as heart disease and stroke. Fortunately, overhauling one’s diet can keep the risks at bay by regulating blood sugar levels and a certain supplement has been shown to do the trick.
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According to the NHS, a healthy diet is key to managing blood sugar levels, so it is imperative to avoid certain culprits known send blood sugar levels soaring.
As a general dietary guide, the health body recommends you should:
- Eat a wide range of foods – including fruit, vegetables and some starchy foods like pasta
- Keep sugar, fat and salt to a minimum
- Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day – do not skip meals
If you need to overhaul your diet, the NHS also says it may be easier to make small changes every week. Evidence suggests one simple dietary change could help to keep blood sugar levels in check – taking vitamin C supplementation.
This is the key finding in a study published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, which found that taking 500 mg of vitamin C twice daily reduces blood sugar levels throughout the day and minimises spikes in blood sugar after meals.
The study said that the antioxidant properties of vitamin C also reduce blood pressure by counteracting the high levels of free radicals found in diabetics.
Free radicals are compounds that cause damage to cells, proteins and DNA as a result of everyday chemical processes that take place in the body. Cells that struggle to function properly or die create the conditions for diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure to develop.
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Glenn Wadley, head of the research group, said: “We found that participants had a significant 36 percent drop in the blood sugar spike after meals. This also meant that they spent almost three hours less per day living in a state of hyperglycemia.”
Hyperglycemia is the name given for high blood glucose levels and, as Mayo Clinic explains, the longer blood sugar levels stay high, the more serious the symptoms become.
Wadley, who said that hyperglycemia also heightens the risk of cardiovascular diseases for people with type 2 diabetes, added: “After taking vitamin C supplements, we found that the percentage of people with hypertension fell by half.”
He continued: “While physical activity, good nutrition and current diabetes medications are standard care and very important for managing type 2 diabetes, some people can find it tough to manage their blood glucose levels even with medication.”
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Other ways to manage blood sugar
According to the NHS, physical exercise also helps to lower your blood sugar level and you should aim for at least 2.5 hours of activity a week to reap the optimal benefits.
As the health site points out, You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath.
This could be:
- Fast walking
- Climbing stairs
- Doing more strenuous housework or gardening
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes
Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell, notes the NHS.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Urinating more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision
You should contact your GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or if you are worried you may be at a higher risk of getting it, advises the NHS.
Diagnosing type 2 diabetes involves a blood test, which you may have to go to your local health centre for if it cannot be done at your GP surgery, explains the health site.
It added: “The earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment started, the better. Early treatment reduces your risk of other health problems.”
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