Type 2 diabetes, for many people, amounts to a lifelong battle with blood sugar levels. Blood sugar - the main type of sugar you get from food - supplies the body with energy but having consistently high levels can be highly destructive. In healthy individuals, insulin is secreted by the pancreas to regulate blood sugar levels, but this function is impaired in people with diabetes.
heart diseaseThis causes blood sugar levels to rise without restriction - a process that can contribute to .
Fortunately, high blood sugar levels can be lowered by making healthy lifestyle changes.
Diet offers a surefire way to stabilise blood sugar levels and certain items have been singled out for their blood sugar-lowering benefits.
Alpha-lipoic acid - an organic compound found in a variety of foods and dietary supplements - is one such item.
Scientists believe that alpha-lipoic acid helps lower blood sugar by promoting processes that can remove fat that has accumulated in muscle cells, which otherwise makes insulin less effective.
Moreover, alpha-lipoic acid may lower the risk of diabetes complications.
It's proven to ease symptoms of nerve damage and lower the risk of diabetic retinopathy that can occur with uncontrolled diabetes.
Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetes complication that affects eyes - it's caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina).
Dietary decisions to avoid
As a general rule, simple carbohydrates are broken down faster than complex carbohydrates, so therefore have a more pronounced impact on blood sugar levels as soon as you eat them.
Simple carbohydrates are found naturally in foods such as fruits, milk, and milk products.
They are also found in processed and refined sugars such as sweets, table sugar, syrups, and soft drinks.
The glycemic index (GI) can help you identify blood-sugar friendly carbs when shopping.
The GI index is a relative ranking of carbohydrates in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels.
Carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and, therefore usually, insulin levels.
Low GI foods include green vegetables and most fruits; raw carrots; kidney beans; chickpeas; lentils and bran breakfast cereals.Type 2 diabetes - how to spot it
Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising but there are subtle signs to look out for.
These include:Urinating more than usual, particularly at nightFeeling thirsty all the timeFeeling very tiredLosing weight without trying toItching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrushCuts or wounds taking longer to healBlurred vision.