Type 2 diabetes causes the body not to response to insulin properly – a hormone that allows the body to use sugar from carbohydrates. As a result, this causes blood glucose levels to rocket, triggering symptoms such as excessive thirst and needing to pee more frequently. If type 2 diabetes is left untreated, serious health problems can develop, such as heart disease, stroke and nerve damage. Making some simple lifestyle changes can help prevent and condition and keep blood glucose levels in check.
One lifestyle change to make is limiting certain foods in your diet.
While there’s nothing you can’t eat if you have type 2 diabetes – eating a wide range of foods is recommended – sugar, fat and salt should be kept to a minimum.
This is a general rule when it comes to what to eat to manage blood glucose levels.
But individual foods have also been found to be beneficial – one being chia seeds.
Chia seeds, which are native to Central America, are small oval-shaped seeds, black in colour, with a diameter of around one millimetre.
Dubbed a superfood in recent years, the health benefits of chia seeds are believed to come from their high antioxidant and omega-3 content.
They are also a good source plant-based protein and fibre.
A small-scale randomised controlled trial from 2017 saw overweight people with type 2 diabetes lose more weight after six months when they included chia seeds in their diet, compared with those who ate an oat bran alternative.
Weight loss has been found to be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes, making chia seeds a good choice in the eyes of the researchers.
High fasting blood glucose levels are a typical symptom of untreated type 2 diabetes.
Animal studies have also found chia seeds may improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, stabilising blood sugar levels after meals.
A few human studies have also supported this idea by demonstrating eating bread with chia seeds lowers the post-meal rise in blood sugar, compared to bread that doesn’t include chia seeds.
Chia seeds can be enjoyed in smoothies, breakfast cereals and salads.
But if you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it’s advised you speak to your GP before making any changes to your diet.
Alongside diet changes, it’s also important to be active to lower blood sugar levels.
The NHS says physical exercise helps lower your blood sugar level, and you should sim for 2.5 hours of activity a week.
It adds: “You can be active anywhere so 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.
An East-Asian delicacy has also been found to lower blood sugar levels.