Type 2 diabetes occurs mainly in people over the age of 40. When first diagnosed with the condition, doctors will first advise a dramatic change in diet and physical activity.

If this results in no significant lowering of blood glucose level, then medication is usually recommended. These can include tablets which reduce the blood glucose level, as well as insulin injections. To reduce the risk of complications, doctors may also address lowering of high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels too.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Diabetes 2 develops when

You do not produce enough insulin for your body’s needs.

Your body is unable to utilise insulin properly. This is referred to as insulin resistance and means that your body requires more insulin to maintain your blood glucose at a safe and appropriate level.

The blood glucose and insulin connection

After you eat a meal, the digestive system works to convert the foods in your gut into sugars. The primary sugar is glucose and it travels through your gut wall into your bloodstream. Health problems occur when the amount of glucose in your blood reaches a level which is too high or too low.

Insulin is released from the beta cells in your pancreas in response to rising glucose in your bloodstream. Insulin works to control your blood glucose levels, lowering them to an appropriate level. While it does a great job in achieving this, an excess of insulin in your circulation can cause the following:

Excess insulin is known to cause the following:

1) Weight gain: once it helps lower blood glucose levels,
insulin instructs the body to store fat.
2) A reduction in HDL (“good cholesterol”), an increase in
LDL (“bad cholesterol”), and an increase in
triglycerides. All 3 of these factors increase the
likelihood of suffering heart disease.
3) Lower cellular levels of magnesium. A deficiency in
magnesium has been linked with insulin resistance (IR)
and increased risk for type 2 diabetes in adults.
4) Increased sodium retention. This causes excess water to
be held within the body, which is closely associated with
high blood pressure.
5) Increased levels of inflammatory compounds in your
bloodstream. These compounds are especially dangerous
because they can cause direct physical damage to your
blood vessel walls and promote the development of blood
clots, which would increase your risk of heart attacks
and respiratory failure.
6) Scientists also believe that excess insulin in the body
increases the risk of developing cancer. This is due to
the hormone’s role in contributing to the proliferation
of cells within the body.

So it’s clear that while you need to control your blood sugar levels, it’s equally vital to control your insulin levels too. The good news is that your diet plays a huge role in managing both.

A recent study performed by Western Sussex Hospitals in the UK found that the Mediterranean Diet was the most effective diet for adults with type 2 diabetes.

The Mediterranean Diet focuses on an intake of fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes and whole grains. Instead of butter and salt, olive oil and herbs are used to flavour food. Saturated fats from red meat and dairy products are kept to a minimum, typically contributing to less than 10% of the total amount calories consumed.

One of the big appeals of the Mediterranean Diet is that it is much easier to follow on a long-term basis when compared to restrictive low-carb or high-protein diets.

The high-fat content of olive oil not only makes food more palatable and satisfying, it also helps curb the sugar cravings which make for bad food choices during the day.

Want to try the Mediterranean Diet but don’t know where to start?

Start with these simple tips:

* Use olive oil instead of butter/margarine
* Eat vegetables with every meal.
* Include at least two meals containing legumes meals (e.g.
peas, lentils, all kinds of beans) every week.
* Eat at least two servings of fish per week. Oily fish
such as salmon, mackerel and sardines are especially good
choices.
* Reduce the amount of red meat (beef, lamb, pork and
chicken) you eat every week by decreasing the portion size
and eating it less often. 1-2 times a week is ideal.
* Eat fresh fruit every day. Instead of eating snacks in
between meals, eat dried fruit and nuts instead whenever
you feel peckish.
* If you are going to drink alcohol, wine is the best
choice. Even then, aim to drink only 1 glass a day and
always drink it together with a meal.

If you suffer from Type II diabetes, or you are at risk from the disease, give the Mediterranean Diet a go. Your pancreas will thank you!

Author's Bio: 

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