This Morning: Type 2 diabetes can be 'devastating' says expert
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Type 2 diabetes means your pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the insulin it does produce is not absorbed by the cells. This has real-world implications: insulin regulates blood sugar levels. Stripped of this mechanism, blood sugar levels can rise to dangerous levels.
Fortunately, you can lower high blood sugar levels via your diet.
Specific items have been touted for their blood sugar-lowering prowess and one of the most notable is ginger.
Ginger is the thick knotted underground stem (rhizome) of the plant Zingiber officinale that has been used for centuries in Asian cuisine and medicine.
Numerous studies have pointed to the benefits of supplementing with ginger for blood sugar control.
In the December 2009 issue of the European Journal of Pharmacology, researchers reported that two different ginger extracts – spissum and an oily extract – interact with serotonin receptors to reverse their effect on insulin secretion.
Treatment with the extracts led to a whopping 35 percent drop in blood glucose levels and a 10 percent increase in plasma insulin levels.
A study published in the August 2012 edition of the natural product journal Planta Medica suggested that ginger may improve long-term blood sugar control for people with type 2 diabetes.
Researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia, found that extracts from Buderim Ginger (Australian grown ginger) rich in gingerols – the major active component of ginger rhizome – can increase uptake of glucose into muscle cells without using insulin, and may therefore assist in the management of high blood sugar levels.
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Diabetes.co.uk says: “It’s also worth noting that ginger has a very low glycaemic index (GI).”
Low GI foods break down slowly to form glucose and therefore do not trigger a spike in blood sugar levels as high GI foods do.
Other low GI foods include:
- Some fruit and vegetables
- Wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats.
Some low GI foods, such as wholegrain foods, fruit, vegetables, beans and lentils, are foods we should eat as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
However, “using the glycaemic index to decide whether foods or combinations of foods are healthy can be misleading”, notes the NHS.
The health body explains: “Foods with a high GI are not necessarily unhealthy and not all foods with a low GI are healthy.
“For example, watermelon and parsnips are high GI foods, while chocolate cake has a lower GI value.”
It adds: “If you only eat foods with a low GI, your diet may be unbalanced and high in fat.”
Type 2 diabetes – signs to spot
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Peeing 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.
According to the NHS, you should see a GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
The health body says: “A GP can diagnose diabetes. You’ll need a blood test, which you may have to go to your local health centre for if it cannot be done at your GP surgery.”
It adds: “The earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment started, the better.”
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