The new research, published in the scientific journal Diabetologia, suggests that efforts to delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes could be a way to prevent cognitive decline.
Current evidence suggests that not smoking, keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check, eating a balanced diet, drinking in moderation and staying mentally and physically active all help to maintain brain health as we ago.
So memory loss could be prevented by preventing high blood sugar levels – but what can you do to ensure your blood sugar stays at a healthy level?
A group of doctors and nutritionists have offered Express.co.uk their best advice.
Prevent the symptoms of dementia by preventing high blood sugar levels – but how?
Take control – naturally
If you find yourself becoming easily fatigued, it can be worth trying a natural supplement.
Nutritionist and fitness trainer Cassandra Barns said: “CuraLin [avalable at www.curalife.co] is a specially formulated dietary supplement containing ten herbs and plant extracts traditionally used to support insulin sensitivity and help keep blood glucose under control.
“A word of caution, however: if you’re being treated for type 2 diabetes, consult your doctor before changing your diet or exercise or starting a supplement.”
CuraLin can also help with the regulation and consumption of sugary foods as its natural ingredients can reduce cravings for sugars and other processed carbohydrates, as well as helping to restrict their absorption in the blood stream.
Prevent sugar binges with protein
Nutrition and weight loss coach Pippa Campbell said: “Eating protein at each meal will help to balance blood sugars and feel full for longer. Try eating eggs for breakfast or add some protein powder to yoghurt.”
Keep a food diary
Nutritionist Cassandra said: “Struggling to keep track of your eating habits? Try logging what you eat. This can help you monitor what food groups you may be over indulging in and can make it easier to control your portion size. It’ll help you stay accountable for what you’ve eaten.”
Read before you buy
You need to become a label reader to understand what is in the food you eat, according to Dr Marilyn Glenville.
She said: “Truly, don’t fall for the marketing hype on the front of the packet. The most important part of the food label that I check is the ingredient list. This tells me exactly what is in the food. Anything ending in ‘ose’ (glucose, sucrose, fructose, lactose, maltose) – is a form of sugar, as are honey, agave, molasses and syrups like corn and rice syrup, not forgetting glucose-fructose syrup (high fructose corn syrup). The higher up the ingredients list, the more sugar the product contains.”
It’s crucial to know the foods that can cause blood sugar levels to rise, which can vary from person to person. That’s where Metabolic Balance can assist.
Pippa said: “The aim of the Metabolic Balance Programme is to reduce insulin and inflammation. This is why the programme is perfect people with Type 2 Diabetes.
“Not only is Metabolic Balance a programme with low GI foods it is also completely personalised. Through blood analysis of the persons biochemistry and medical history a plan can be created with all the foods that will not cause insulin spikes. This is unique to each person with diabetes. For example one client may have carrot on their food list whilst another won’t. So a seemingly healthy food may increase insulin and inflammation in one person but not another.
“I usually get my Type 2 Diabetic clients to also cut out all fruit for the first two weeks. Then we re-introduce the fruit on their plan slowly. I ask the clients to record their blood glucose levels after each meal. Within a week my clients results are incredible with reduced levels. Many eventually come off medication but I like to work with their Doctor on this.”
Swap sugar for natural alternatives
If you are making cakes, think of ways other than sugar to add sweetness, says Dr Glenville.
She said: “For example, you could add carrots, raisins, dates, figs or bananas as natural sweeteners. Many people now make wonderful cakes from naturally sweet vegetables such as beetroot and carrot.
“For apple pies or crumbles use eating apples instead of cooking apples so you do not need to add sugar – you could always add raisins or sultanas to make a pie or crumble that little bit sweeter. Unsweetened date slice is wonderful because dates are naturally sweet. Other natural alternatives include maple syrup, barley malt syrup, brown rice syrup and stevia.”
Don’t underestimate exercise
Staying active is vital when managing Type 2 diabetes, said Cassandra.
She added: “Exercise helps the body respond to insulin, keep blood sugar levels down and manage your weight. You can get the greatest benefits by including both aerobic exercise such as cycling, dancing or jogging and strength training with weights or bodyweight exercises.”
Test your short-term memory with this quiz.