- Diabetes type 2 symptoms include unexplained weight loss, frequently needing the toilet and tiredness or fatigue
- The condition often develops in later life due to a poor diet, being overweight and lack of exercise
- Treatment for diabetes type 2 involves changing your diet and lifestyle
- You should eat this many fruits and vegetables a day if you suffer from the condition
Diabetes has two main forms, diabetes type 2 and diabetes type 1. They are both caused by problems with the hormone insulin, that is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels.
Symptoms of these conditions tend to include needing the toilet regularly, increased hunger and thirst and tiredness.
Treatment for diabetes focuses on maintaining blood sugar levels which, if too high, can cause damage to blood vessels, and raise the risk of kidney and heart disease.
Ways to maintain blood sugar levels involve changing your diet to contain fewer high-fat, high-sugar foods.
You should try to eat this many fruit and vegetables a day in your diet to avoid fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
Diabetes UK suggests that everyone should eat “at least” five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to help with blood sugar levels.
“Naturally low in fat and calories and packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre, fruit and vegetables add flavour and variety to every meal,” says the national charity on its website.
“They may also help protect against stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers.”
The charity suggests trying a rainbow coloured selection of different fruits and vegetables every day to get as many as you need.
“Fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit in juice and canned vegetables in water all count,” it adds.
It says that diabetics who have been told not to eat fruit because of the sugar it contains, should disregard this as a “myth”.
“The concern has been that because fruits contain sugar, it makes your blood glucose go up.
“In fact, most fruits have low to medium glycemic index, so they do not lead to a sharp rise in your blood glucose levels compared to other carbohydrate containing foods like white or wholemeal bread.”
The NHS also advises diabetics to eat “plenty of fruit and vegetables – at least five portions per day.”
Fruits have already been shown to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
A study of half a million people, published in PLOS Medicine, found that fruit consumption was linked to a 12 per cent reduction in risk of developing diabetes type 2.
Eating nuts such as cashews, almonds and hazelnuts should help maintain your blood sugar levels.
Adding about 57g of tree nuts could improve glycaemic control and blood lipids in type 2 diabetes patients, said scientists at the International Tree Nut Council.
The nuts – which include almonds, Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, macadamias, walnuts and peanuts (which aren’t technically a nut) – should be added to your diet as a replacement for carbohydrate foods, the researchers claimed.
Patients following the diet plan could lower their blood sugar levels, despite the higher fat intake.
It could also reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, as the amount of ‘bad’ cholesterol in their blood could be lower.