Eat flaxseed for a ‘big reduction’ in blood sugar levels

Type 2 diabetes: Doctor explains impacts of the condition

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Diabetes is a serious and potentially lifelong condition. Around four million people in the UK are currently living with diabetes. But like some other medical conditions, what you eat and drink can make a difference when it comes to reducing the risk.

There are two forms of the condition – type 1 and type 2.

Both of these result in the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood becoming too high.

In type 1, this happens when your body cannot produce enough of a hormone called insulin, which controls blood glucose.

Type 2 diabetes is much more common and the raised blood sugar levels are usually caused by being overweight or not exercising enough.

An expert has suggested that incorporating flaxseed into your diet could benefit diabetes patients.

Speaking to, registered nutritional therapist and health coach at Food Fabulous – Ailsa Hichens – explained: “There has been a lot of work and research looking at the benefits of flaxseeds (milled linseeds).”

Flaxseed can be found in most health food stores and some supermarkets either in whole form or ground up.

Ms Hichens added: “One specific study found that people who ate 30 grams flaxseeds (about three tablespoons) in yoghurt (not low fat or fat free yoghurt) had big reductions in their HbA1c (one of the key markers of insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control) compared with people who ate the same yoghurt but with no flaxseeds.

“To make the dish (an excellent breakfast) more palatable, you might add a small handful of fresh berries, which are the lowest sugar fruit.

“Flaxseeds are also phytoestrogens, which means they are weak sources of oestrogen, so they are great for evening out midlife hormones.”

The study she referenced was published in the Clinical Nutrition Research Journal in 2019.

It concludes: “Our results showed that the addition of flaxseed to yoghurt can be effective in the management of type 2 diabetes.”

A separate study, issued in the European Journal of Nutrition in 2020, recommended eating 10 grams of flaxseed three times a day for the best results.

As part of the research, 15 healthy participants consumed either three flaxseed muffins containing a total of 30g of flaxseed once in the morning, three flaxseed muffins consumed at three different time points across the day (10g flaxseed per muffin) or three control muffins consumed at three different time points across the day (0g flaxseed).

“The results of this study demonstrated that flaxseed muffins given three times a day were effective at lowering and maintaining blood glucose levels over 24 hours, compared to the control muffins and that both flaxseed treatments resulting in a lower blood glucose iAUC during the night,” it says.

“The results of this study indicated that adding flaxseed to a daily diet produced a lower glucose profile over 24 hours in a free-living context compared to the control muffins.”

A normal fasting blood glucose level is considered 100 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL).

If it ranges between 100 to 125 mg/dL it is considered prediabetes, or 126 mg/dL and higher means the patient has diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes can include:

  • Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
  • Feeling thirsty all the time
  • Feeling very tired
  • Losing weight without trying to
  • Itching around your genitals, or repeatedly getting thrush
  • Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
  • Blurred vision.

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