Type 2 Diabetes, the condition that is sweeping the nation due to its alarming increase and health related complications, can be kept under control if you live by a plant-based diet, suggests new research.
This diet is associated with improved psychological wellbeing and a reduction in some of the known risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes.
Our experts share further benefits of a plant-based diet…
1. Why we should be eating 10 a day…
“It’s important to eat vegetables, especially cruciferous colourful varieties as they are full of life enhancing micronutrients, antioxidants and fibre. They’re essential for keeping our bodies and minds healthy.
Vitamins A and C are immune boosting, skin healing and eye protecting vitamins. Fibre keeps the gut healthy as it encourages bowel regularity and lowers cholesterol. It also nourishes our protective gut flora and allows for slower assimilation of nutrients, increasing feelings of fullness and provides a steady supply of energy.
Other notable minerals are potassium and magnesium, which help maintain energy and are cardio protective. Together these micronutrients, antioxidants and fibre improve overall health and help protect us from terminal illnesses like diabetes and heart disease,” explains Nutritionist Alix woods.
2. Mood booster
“Healthy carbohydrates, such as wholegrain foods, which are high in fibre are not only comforting, but they will also help stablise blood sugar levels, preventing mood dips and irritability. In the winter a vegetable soup with barley and other whole grains can be a warming mood booster,” explains Jacqueline Harvey, Wellness Expert & Author (www.jacquelineharvey.co.uk).
Top Tip: If you’re thinking about adopting a plant-based diet this New Year then itsu have made your life that little bit easier as they arelaunching for a limited time,Winter Wonton & Greens soup (£3.99,www.itsu.com).
This plant-based, low calorie meal, is packed with brown rice and seasonal greens; the perfect combination of whole grains and vegetables. For an extra treat they have also added two vegetable gyoza dumplings – yum!
3. An apple a day keeps diabetes at bay
As well as increasing your intake of vegetables, try having an apple a day. “Although fruit contains natural sugars, most have a low to moderate glycaemic index and do not raise blood glucose levels excessively (though don’t over-indulge in dried fruits).
A study involving 38,000 women found those eating at least one apple a day were 28% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those eating no apples. While a recent analysis of 5 trials, involving almost a quarter of a million people, found that regular consumption of apples and pears is associated with an 18% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.” explains Dr. Sarah Brewer, working in association with CuraLin diabetes supplement (www.curalife.co).
4. Take extra care of your heart – it’s vulnerable
In the UK, 1 in 7 men and 1 in 12 women die from coronary heart disease where the arteries become narrower and harder because of the build-up of plaque. If this wasn’t bad enough, it has also been found that cardiovascular disease is one of the main causes of early death in people with the Type 2 Diabetes.
Good dietary and lifestyle advice are important for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and certain nutrients have been shown to be helpful.
High levels of homocysteine (a common amino acid in your blood that you mostly get from eating meat) have been shown to increase the risk of damaging the lining of the arteries and this can contribute to heart disease. It is important to have good levels of the B vitamins and folic acid in order to help keep homocysteine in the normal range.
Top Tip: To help manage your homocysteine levels try the new NHP Cardio Support (£25.78, www.naturalhealthpractice.com). This supplement contains the key nutrients that your body needs to detoxify homocysteine.
5. Help strengthen your immunity
Vitamin C is found in abundance in fruits and green vegetables. Benefits of vitamin C include protection against immune system deficiencies, prenatal health problems, eye disease and even skin wrinkling. “Other plant compounds that are not considered ‘essential’ also seem to be helpful for our immunity – such as Flavonoids and carotenoids found in brightly coloured vegetables and fruit, and Glucosinolates found in the cabbage-family vegetables,” says Nutritionist Cassandra Barns.
Although many may state that vegetarians and vegans aren’t getting enough Iron, which you would usually get from consuming meat, there are ways to help maintain normal iron levels. If you decide to adopt a plant-based diet, make sure you get your iron levels checked regularly. If you’re low in iron, try including an Iron supplement within your diet, such as Natures Plus Hema-Plex chewables (£16.50, www.planetorganic.com).
These are a convenient way to support the health of your blood.
7. Try a supplement made up of plant extracts!
If you already suffer with Type 2 Diabetes, herbs and plant extracts can help support balanced blood sugar levels. CuraLin (£59,www.curalife.co) is a specially formulated dietary supplement containing ten herbs and plant extracts, which are derived from Ayurvedic medicine, that work with the body to help balance blood sugar levels of those suffering from Type 2 Diabetes. CuraLin can also help reduce cravings, boosts insulin sensitivity and production and supports daily energy levels.