If you’re a healthy individual, your body will naturally be able to maintain your blood sugar levels at an optimal level. However, if our diets are overly rich with carbs and sugar and our lifestyles sedentary, we are putting ourselves at risk to becoming overweight or obese.
Sugar cannot cause diabetes or insulin resistance, however being overweight and obese can and will increase your risk of developing diabetes significantly. Besides this, being overweight and obese can also cause you to start becoming insulin resistant, which means that the insulin your pancreas secretes will have less of an effect on lowering your blood sugar levels.
This is why a proper diet and plenty of exercise are absolutely vital in maintaining our blood sugar levels and overall health and wellness.
But for those already suffering from diabetes type 1 and type 2, the need to maintain sugar levels is ever more important as untreated high blood sugar levels can have serious consequences in the long-term such as damage to our nerves, eyes, kidneys and other organs. Besides this, some serious complications such as gangrene (the death of body tissue) can also occur.
According to the Ministry of Health, the prevalence of diabetes is around 21.6% of the population in Malaysia while a significant number of Malaysians might not even be aware that they are diabetic or pre-diabetic.
The general symptoms of diabetes include:
- Increased hunger
- Increased thirst
- Weight loss
- Frequent urination
- Blurry vision
- Extreme fatigue
- Sores that don’t heal
- Decreased sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
If you suspect that you might be diabetic or have pre-diabetes, it is recommended to contact your nearest physician as soon as possible to get an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate medications.
But if you’re already on medications and find yourself still struggling with maintaining your blood sugar level, here are some supplements that have been clinically proven to effective in maintaining optimal blood sugar levels.
Known in India as “gurmar”, the destroyer of sugar, Gymnema Sylvestre is a medicinal plant that is able to lower blood sugar levels and reduce cravings for sugar.
When taken prior to heavy meals, research has shown that the Gymnemic acid in the plant is able to block receptors in our Gi tract from absorption too much sugar – allowing for post-meal blood sugar levels to drop significantly.
Besides this, the plant may also contribute favourably to insulin production by stimulating insulin production in our pancreas and promoting regeneration of insulin-producing cells. This can further help with controlling blood sugar levels.
And not only that, the plant also has the ability to alter your taste buds by blocking your sugar receptors on your taste buds. The result of this is that, participants who were given Gymnema extract found that they had begun developing less of an appetite for sweet foods and were more likely to limit their food intake.
Native to South-East Asia, Banaba Leaves come from the tree Banaba which is renowned for its various medicinal properties. It’s leaves especially have long been used in traditional medicine as it has strong antioxidant, cholesterol-lowering and anti-obesity effects.
According to recent studies, the antidiabetic effect of Banaba Leaves are attributed to several compounds found in them – corosolic acid, ellagitannins and gallotannins.
Corosolic acid is able to lower blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity and inhibiting alpha-glucosidase, and enzyme that helps digest carbs.
Meanwhile, elligitannins and gallotanins are able to active glucose transporters so that excess glucose or sugar can be transported from the bloodstream to our muscles and fat cells.
Known for being the only source of antioxidant aspalathin, this caffeine and tannin free tea has a variety of health benefits, with one of them being an anti-diabetic effect.
Some studies have shown that aspalathin were able to balance blood sugar levels in mice with type 2 diabetes and reduced overall insulin resistance.
There aren’t any side effects at consuming this tea in the long-term so it’s the perfect daily drink if you’re concerned about your blood sugar levels.