TYPE 2 diabetes is a problematic condition because it means your pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the cells are resistant to the insulin it produces. This has grave consequences because insulin regulates blood sugar, the main type of sugar found in your blood. Harmful levels of blood sugar can damage blood vessels, causing all manner of complications – one of the worst being heart disease.
Fortunately, specific dietary decisions have been shown to improve insulin resistance and reduce blood sugar.
In fact, consuming holy basil, a green leafy plant native to Southeast Asia, has been shown to improve these mechanisms.
It has also been shown to address associated risks, such high cholesterol, weight gain and high blood pressure.
In animal studies, rats that received holy basil extract saw a 24 percent decrease in blood sugar after 30 days.
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They had lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) and higher “good” cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol).
To understand the distinction, LDL cholesterol sticks to your artery walls, thereby raising your risk of heart disease.
HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, picks up this harmful cholesterol and transports it to your liver – reducing your risk of heart disease.
One animal study found that the oil in holy basil (eugenol) lowers stress-induced cholesterol levels.
There was a reduction of total cholesterol in the kidney, liver, or heart in rats with and without diabetes after they ate holy basil leaf powder.
General dietary tips to help manage type 2 diabetes
There’s nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll have to limit certain foods.
Foods with a high carbohydrate content are to be avoided because carbohydrate is broken down into glucose relatively quickly and therefore has a more pronounced effect on blood sugar levels than either fat or protein.
To stop you straying into high-carb territory, you should follow the glycemic index (GI).
The GI index is a relative ranking of carbohydrates in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels.
Type 2 diabetes – the warning signs
Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising. This is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can include:
- Urinating more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision