Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that can be brought under control if you commit to a healthy lifestyle. That’s because the primary threat posed by type 2 diabetes – high blood sugar levels, is kept at bay by healthy living. Diet holds the key to regulating blood sugar levels and certain rules must be followed.
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As the NHS explains, there’s nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll have to limit certain foods.
The main culprits to cut down on are starchy items, such as bread, pasta, rice, couscous, potatoes, breakfast cereals.
The reason for this is that starchy foods have a high carbohydrate content.
Carbohydrate is broken down into glucose relatively quickly and therefore has a more pronounced effect on blood sugar levels than either fat or protein.
This also means that some foods present hidden health risks for people with type 2 diabetes.
It is important to get your five a day fruit and veg, for example, but you should opt for non-starchy vegetables to minimise the risk of high blood sugar levels.
Non-starchy vegetables are those which contain smaller amounts of carbohydrate.
In fact, the American Diabetes Association recommends dedicating half your plate to non-starchy vegetables.
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One particular non-starchy vegetable that has been shown to lower blood sugar levels is broccoli.
According to a study published in Science Translational Medicine, broccoli contains an ingredient that can help those with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar level.
A chemical found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and sprouts called sulforaphane is thought to be responsible for the blood sugar-lowering effect.
To identify the suitable compound, researchers used computer models to identify gene expression changes linked with type 2 diabetes, and then sift through thousands of chemicals that might reverse these changes.
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The study found participants who took the equivalent of around five kilograms (11 pounds) of broccoli daily saw a reduction in their blood sugar levels of about 10 percent.
According to the study researchers, that reduction is sufficient to reduce complications in the eyes, kidneys and blood.
The finding is not surprising.
According to Diabetes.co.uk: “Vegetables are one of the most powerful defences against complications and a plentiful intake of non-starchy vegetables is highly recommended for all people with diabetes.”
How do I know if I have type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes can be tricky to spot because the symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.
If symptoms do appear, you experience:
- 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 immediately if you recognise these symptoms, advised the NHS.
“Early treatment reduces your risk of other health problems,” warns the health site.
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