Type 2 diabetes is a condition which causes the body to stop reacting to insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone the body makes that controls the amount go glucose in the blood, and when the body doesn’t respond to insulin properly, blood glucose levels can become too high.
If blood glucose isn’t controlled properly and stays too high a number of complications can occur, including kidney failure, nerve damage, damage to vision, heart disease and stroke.
So what can you do to keep blood glucose levels in check to both prevent and control type 2 diabetes?
If you regularly eat a poor diet it may increase your risk of developing the condition, for example, a diet that doesn’t contain much fibre.
Health experts recommend eating a healthy, balanced diet with regular meals, three times a day.
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Type 2 diabetes: An exotic ‘superfood’ has been proven to control the chronic condition
When it comes to specific foods to eat, one which has proven to improve control of type 2 diabetes is dragon fruit.
Dragon fruit has become increasingly popular in recent years and is dubbed a superfood in many cultures.
While people primarily enjoy it for its unique look and taste, it’s also be shown to provide a host of health benefits.
A meta analysis published in the journal PLOS ONE looked at the effects of consuming dragon fruit on blood glucose control in people with prediabetes and those with type 2 diabetes.
According to the paper, previous studies involving animals had shown a potential link between dragon fruit and better control of diabetes.
This benefit was believed to have occurred because dragon fruit encourages the growth of pancreatic cells that produce insulin.
The analysis then examined a number of clinical trials comparing the effects of dragon fruit with a placebo in people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.
It was concluded the dragon fruit’s effect on fasting plasma glucose in people with pre diabetes was significant.
Type 2 diabetes: Dragon fruit has been found to help prediabetes
Type 2 diabetes: Regular exercise can also help control blood glucose levels
It was also found the more dragon fruit a person eats, the greater blood sugar benefits they can receive.
Many people might think the sugar content of fruit means they can’t eat it, but sugar in whole fruit does not count towards “free sugars”, according to Diabetes UK, so it’s not this type of sugar you need to cut down on.
The diabetes charity explains: “This is different to the free sugar in drinks, chocolate, cakes and biscuits, as well as in fruit juices and honey.
“The amount of carbohydrate you eat has the biggest effect on your blood glucose levels after eating.
“A portion of fruit, such as a medium apple, generally contains about 15 to 20g carbs, a chocolate muffin has 55g carbs and a 500ml ordinary fizzy drink has 54g carbs.
“It is better to reduce your intake of chocolate, sugary drinks, cakes and other snacks than whole fruit when trying to restrict your carb intake to help manage your blood glucose levels.”
Other ways to control blood glucose levels
Alongside eating a healthy diet, the NHS recommends being active.
It states: “Physical exercise helps lower your blood sugar level. You should aim for 2.5 hours of activity a week.
You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath. This could be fast walking, climbing stairs, and doing more strenuous housework or gardening.”
Losing weight if you’re overweight can also help control blood sugar levels.