Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs because a person’s pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood glucose levels. If left untreated, unregulated blood sugar levels can lead to serious health complications such as heart disease and stroke. Fortunately, eating certain foods can compensate for the poor insulin production. Growing research suggests a natural plant extract can lower blood sugar levels.

Berberine is the active compound of a Chinese herb that’s been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

Several studies investigating the effects of berberine on people with diabetes have shown it to lower blood sugar and encourage the breakdown of carbs for energy.

Findings also show that berberine may reduce post-meal blood sugar spikes by more than 30 percent.

Furthermore, research suggests berberine may be as effective as some blood sugar lowering drugs.

A diabetes-friendly diet

Increasingly, a low-carb diet is being recognised as one of the most effective ways to regulate blood sugar levels.

A recent study conducted at Bispebjerg Hospital in collaboration with, among other partners, Aarhus University and the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen, found that eating food with a reduced carb content and an increased share of protein and fat improved blood sugar regulation in people with type 2 diabetes.

Significantly, the benefits were seen independent of weight loss.

“The purpose of our study was to investigate the effects of the diet without ‘interference’ from a weight loss. For that reason, the patients were asked to maintain their weight. Our study confirms the assumption that a diet with a reduced carbohydrate content can improve patients’ ability to regulate their blood sugar levels — without the patients concurrently losing weight,” explained Senior Consultant, DMSc Thure Krarup, MD, from the Department of Endocrinology at Bispebjerg Hospital.

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He added: “Our findings are important, because we’ve removed weight loss from the equation. Previous studies have provided contradictory conclusions and weight loss has complicated interpretations in a number of these studies.”

28 patients with type 2 diabetes participated in the study over a total period of 12 weeks.

For six weeks, the patients were given a conventional diabetes diet with a high carbohydrate content, and, for the other six weeks, they were given a diet with a reduced carbohydrate content, high protein content and moderately increased fat content.

The patients were given the diet types in random order.

Low-carb foods include:

  • Lean meats, such as sirloin, chicken breast, or pork
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Cauliflower and broccoli
  • Nuts and seeds, including nut butter
  • Oils, such as coconut oil, olive oil and rapeseed oil
  • Some fruit, such as apples, blueberries and strawberries
  • Unsweetened dairy products including plain whole milk and plain Greek yogurt

Keeping active also plays a key role in blood sugar control. It also help people with type 2 diabetes control their weight – a key factor in diabetes management.

According to the NHS, people should aim for 2.5 hours of activity a week.

What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

According to the NHS, 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 a person’s penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
  • Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
  • Blurred vision

A certain superfood has also been shown to lower blood sugar.

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