TYPE 2 diabetes symptoms can worsen during the winter months, when the weather is colder and winter illnesses are rife. Follow these four tips to prevent blood sugar spikes this winter.
Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition in which the level of sugar in the blood is too high.
It can be dangerous if not controlled properly, as it can lead to serious complications involving the heart, nerves, kidneys and eyes.
In winter, complications are more likely to occur as infections are more common, and it’s easier to indulge in unhealthy foods over the festive period.
Dr Sarah Brewer, working in association with CuraLin diabetes supplement, offers the following four tips to prevent blood sugar spikes from occurring this winter.
It can be tempting to stay indoors snuggled on the sofa when the weather turns colder, but it’s important to remain active and not neglect your exercise routine.
“Don’t reduce your level of exercise when it’s cold – still go out for a daily walk but wrap up warm. Exercise helps to prevent blood glucose levels from creeping up,” said Dr Brewer.
Get the flu jab
Infections cause blood glucose levels to rise, and respiratory infections are more common during the winter.
People with diabetes are advised to get the annual flu vaccination ahead of winter, which they can get for free on the NHS.
Dr Brewer also advises getting a one-off pneumococcal vaccine, which helps protect against pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis.
Take vitamin D supplements
Most people get enough vitamin D from the sun during the spring and summer months.
However, in winter this is not the case, and Public Health England recommends everyone take a vitamin D supplement during the colder months.
“Vitamin D plays an important role in immunity against infections,” said Dr Brewer.
Don’t neglect your healthy diet
It can be easy to over-indulge on cakes and other sweet treats over the Christmas period, which can raise blood sugar levels.
Dr Brewer advises filling up with healthy, winter-warming stews full of low glycaemic-index vegetables and beans.
“Home-made curry makes a great winter warmer, and curry spices such as cinnamon, fenugreek, chilli and turmeric have beneficial effects on glucose control,” said Dr Brewer.
If you are having rice, select brown or wild rice rather than white rice, and choose granary-style seeded and brown wholemeal loaves if having bread.
“Rather than drinking hot chocolate, opt for high flavanol unsweetened cacao, which is a delicious way to help improve glucose control by reducing insulin resistance,” Dr Brewer added.