A type 2 diabetes diagnosis sends a very clear signal that your blood sugar levels are too high. Blood sugar is a type of sugar that enters your bloodstream through eating food. Type 2 diabetes doesn’t usually produce symptoms in the initial stages but consistently high blood sugar levels, a feature of diabetes, causes the body to undergo adverse changes in the long-run.
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Unstable blood sugar levels may seem benign but it can damage the vessels that supply blood to vital organs.
Eventually, this can increase the risk of deadly complications such as heart disease and stroke.
Luckily, you can bring blood sugar levels under control by making healthy lifestyle changes.
One of the most important adjustments you can make is eating a healthy, balanced diet.
While there is no single miracle worker, evidence shows that specific ingredients have a particularly potent effect on blood sugar levels so it would be wise to include them in your diet.
One ingredient that has yielded promising results is holy basil, a herb that is native to India.
According to medical site LiveStrong, holy basil, taken in powder form, has been shown to lower fasting and post-meal blood glucose levels.
Fasting blood glucose is a test to determine how much glucose (sugar) is in a blood sample after an overnight fast.
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In one study, 40 type 2 diabetics were asked to stop all of their diabetes medications.
Half of the patients were given 2.5g of holy basil leaf powder daily, and the other half were given a placebo for four weeks.
The groups were closely monitored and at the end of the study, holy basil was found to reduce fasting blood glucose levels by approximately 17.6 percent, and post-meal blood glucose levels by 7.3 percent.
Animal studies also support these claims.
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In one study, rats that received holy basil extract saw a 24 percent decrease in blood sugar after 30 days.
Blood sugar in rats that were fed holy basil leaf powder also decreased after a month.
General dietary tips
There’s nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll have to limit certain foods.
According to the NHS, 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
Despite the NHS’s advice, it is important to restrict your intake of starchy items because they are often high in carb.
Carbohydrate is broken down into glucose relatively quickly and therefore has a more pronounced effect on blood sugar levels than either fat or protein.
Type 2 diabetes – how to spot it
“Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising. This is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell,” says the NHS.
If you do experience symptoms, these can 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
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