Type 2 diabetes often lies dormant for many years, and, if it is not treated, it can erupt in devastating fashion. The condition, which signals your pancreas is not functioning properly, only presents a problem when blood sugar levels are consistently too high. Regularly having high blood sugar levels for long periods of time (a complication of diabetes) can result in permanent damage to parts of the body such as the eyes, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels.
- Type 2 diabetes: Food to lower blood sugar
Unfortunately, the mechanisms that cause this harmful process often go undetected for years, because the symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes do not necessarily make you feel ill.
According to the NHS, the 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 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 it, advises the health body.
If you receive a type 2 diagnosis, you will be advised to change aspects of your lifestyle to lower blood sugar levels and bring the condition under control.
Diet plays an essential role in stabilising blood sugar levels and certain items have been touted for their blood sugar-lowering abilities.
One such item is safflower oil, a popular cooking oil.
A study published in Clinical Nutrition suggested that consuming eight grams of safflower oil daily for four months may improve blood sugar levels in some people with type 2 diabetes.
The same study also found it lowered blood cholesterol, and inflammation levels – other heart disease markers.
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The beneficial mechanisms of safflower oil
Safflower oil is a rich source of unsaturated fatty acids, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – the body needs these fats to function.
A systematic review of studies suggests that eating a diet high in unsaturated fats can improve a person’s blood glucose control.
The study found that replacing some sources of carbohydrate or saturated fats with unsaturated fatty acids, especially polyunsaturated fats, had a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels, as well as insulin resistance and insulin secretion.
Researchers in the study on safflower oil suggest that people should use quality dietary fats alongside diabetes treatments to reduce complications associated with the condition.
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What to avoid
There’s nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll have to limit certain foods.
Generally, simple carbohydrates are to be avoided if you have type 2 diabetes.
Simple carbohydrates are broken down quickly by the body and therefore have a more pronounced effect on blood sugar levels.
They include sugary drinks; syrups; table sugar; fruit juice concentrate; and products with added sugar, such as baked goods.
The other crucial tip to stabilising blood sugar levels is to keep active.
According to the NHS, you should aim for two and a half hours of activity a week.
“You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath,” notes the health body.
This could be:
- Fast walking
- Climbing stairs
- Doing more strenuous housework or gardening
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