TYPE 2 diabetes can be controlled by following a diet which helps to improve blood sugar control. We all know the importance of eating enough fruit and veg as part of a healthy, balanced diet, but there is one type of vegetable in particular that has been shown to lower blood sugar.
Diabetes is a condition in which a person has too much sugar in their blood. In type 2 diabetes, this happens because the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body’s cells don’t react to the insulin produced. The role of insulin is to control the level of sugar in the blood and transfer it to the cells to be turned into energy. This means if insulin is unable to do its job properly, too much sugar will remain in the blood.
This can be dangerous, as diabetes can lead to serious health complications with the heart, eyes, nerves, kidneys and feet.
In order to control type 2 diabetes and prevent complications from occurring, it’s essential to follow a balanced diet that is low in sugar and calories.
People with the condition are advised to eat as healthily as possible and ensure they get their five-a-day of fruit and vegetables.
We are all aware of the importance of including five-a-day into our diets, whether you have diabetes or not, but for people with the condition there is one type of vegetable that may be particularly beneficial.
According to dietitian Juliette Kellow, this vegetable is the root vegetable.
“All root vegetables are rich in fibre so they can help with blood sugar and weight control,” said Kellow.
Fibre is a plant-based carbohydrate that, unlike other carbs such as sugar and starch, is not digested in the small intestine.
Fibre is made up of two types: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre forms a gel in the intestine which helps to control blood sugar by stopping sugar from being absorbed into the bloodstream.
“Soluble fibre slows sugar absorption into the blood. Better blood sugar control helps to protect against insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes,” said Kellow.
Insoluble fibre, meanwhile, increases the bulkiness and softness of stools, helping to promote digestion.
According to Kellow, one study found high intakes of root vegetables reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 13 per cent.
Root vegetables include carrots, potatoes, beetroots, sweet potatoes, turnips and parsnips, among others.
Kellow advises scrubbing rather than peeling root vegetables, as many of the nutrients and insoluble fibre are found in or just below the skin.
The dietitian also recommends including root vegetables in your diet on a daily basis.
The NHS states everyone should eat 30g of fibre per day, as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
“There is strong evidence that eating plenty of fibre is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes,” said the NHS.