Type 2 diabetes: Best vegetable to eat at Christmas to lower blood sugar
Type 2 diabetes causes a person’s body to lose control of the amount of sugar in the blood. The body doesn’t respond to insulin properly and may not produce enough, causing their blood sugar level to become too high.
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If blood sugar isn’t controlled properly and stays too high, a number of problems can occur, including kidney failure, nerve damage, heart disease and stroke.
To prevent and control the condition, experts recommend eating a healthy diet.
The NHS says there’s noting you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes but certain foods should be limited.
It advises: “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, and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day – do not skip meals.”
With Christmas day just a week away and food prep for the big day on many people’s minds, which foods should you consider including on your plate to help control blood sugar levels?
Vegetables should form a part of every healthy diet, and low-GI vegetables are considered a good choice.
Research has shown choosing low-GI foods can particularly help manage long-term blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Low GI (glycemic index) foods are broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time.
One low GI vegetable to consider adding to your Christmas dinner plate is broccoli.
As well as being low GI, broccoli contains sulforaphane, a natural plant compound found in many cruciferous vegetable which has been found to have anti diabetic effects.
A 12-week study in 97 people with type 2 diabetes examined how consuming broccoli sprout extract, the equivalent to 150 µmol of sulforaphane, daily affected blood sugar levels.
The study found sulforaphane effectively reduced fasting blood sugar levels by 6.5 percent and improved hemoglobin A1c, which is a marker of long-term blood sugar control.
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Sulforphane’s beneficial effect on blood sugar levels are supported by animal studies as well.
Other ways to control blood sugar
Alongside eating a healthy diet, being active is important.
The NHS explains: “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 or doing more strenuous housework or gardening.”
Losing weight if you’re overweight is also important.
The health body adds: “Losing weight will make it easier for your body to lower your blood sugar level, and can improve your blood pressure and cholesterol.
“If you need to lose weight, try to do it slowly over time. Aim for around 0.5 to 1kg a week.”
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