Type 2 diabetes is a prevalent condition that is largely preventable or controllable if people stick to a healthy lifestyle. However, more people than ever at risk of Type 2 diabetes, thanks to sedentary lifestyles and readily available sugary foods. According to Diabetes UK, if nothing changes, more than five million people will have diabetes in the UK by 2025. One nutritious ingredient could lower blood sugar levels and help maintain a healthier lifestyle.
The leafy green vegetable Kale brings a range of health benefits but significantly, one study suggests it could help lower glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity. This is due to it being a rich source of vitamin C, which has been linked to reduced glucose levels in type 2 diabetes.
The aim of the study, published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, was to identify the effect of vitamin C on reducing the levels of inflammatory markers in hypertensive and/or diabetic obese adults.
Sixty-four obese patients, who were hypertensive and/or diabetic and had high levels of inflammatory markers, from primary health care centres in Gaza City, Palestine, were enrolled into one of two groups in an open-label, parallel, randomised controlled trial.
A total of 33 patients were randomised into a control group and 31 patients were randomised into an experimental group. The experimental group was treated with 500 mg vitamin C twice a day.
The findings suggest vitamin C can help reduce blood sugar levels and has potential anti-inflammatory effects in obese people with living with type 2 diabetes.
Kale is a great way to consume vitamin C. It is a low calorie, lower carbohydrate option so it is great option for people looking to lower their weight too.
Obesity is one of the leading causes of obesity in the UK. According to Diabetes.co.uk: “Studies suggest that abdominal fat causes fat cells to release ‘pro-inflammatory’ chemicals, which can make the body less sensitive to the insulin it produces by disrupting the function of insulin responsive cells and their ability to respond to insulin.
“This is known as insulin resistance – the hallmark of type 2 diabetes.
“Having excess abdominal fat (i.e. a large waistline) is known as central or abdominal obesity, a particularly high-risk form of obesity.”
The anti-inflammatory properties found in Kale therefore make it a great option to counteract the problems associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes.
In addition to a healthy diet, regular exercise also helps to bring down lower sugar levels and lose weight. It can also support prevention of the condition
According to Diabetes UK, people looking to up their physical activity can ease in with something gentle, like walking, and gradually work their way up to 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity exercise, five times a week.
“You don’t have to do 30 minutes in one go either – try starting with a 10 minute brisk walk and build up from there,” the charity says.
It also recommends setting goals, mixing the activities up and working out with friends to keep motivated.
Diabetes UK recommends trying out the following types of exercise:
- Aerobic exercise: This includes activities such as walking, cycling, jogging and swimming performed at a steady intensity.
- HIIT exercise (a type of aerobic exercise): HIIT is an acronym for high-intensity interval training. With HIIT training, low-to-moderate intensity intervals are alternated with high-intensity intervals and can be applied to various types of aerobic exercises such as running or cycling.
- Resistance exercise: This consists of lifting free weights, using weight machines, performing exercises using resistance bands and the body’s own weight.
- Balance and flexibility exercises: Examples of this include yoga and tai chi.
For diabetes, greater health benefits are gained from doing a combination of aerobic (or high intensity interval training) and resistance exercise.
It is important to stay hydrated when when working out but people living with type 2 diabetes should stick to sugar-free electrolyte drinks. Water is the best bet, it adds.