DIABETES patients in old age are more likely to suffer from long-term deterioration in their memory and thinking skills than those who have normal blood sugar levels, according to a new study. But is there anything you can do to prevent the signs and symptoms of a neuro-degenerative disease?
The new research, published in the scientific journal Diabetologia, suggests that efforts to delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes could be a way to prevent cognitive decline.
Current evidence suggests that not smoking, keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check, eating a balanced diet, drinking in moderation and staying mentally and physically active all help to maintain brain health as we ago.
So memory loss could be prevented by preventing high blood sugar levels – but what can you do to ensure your blood sugar stays at a healthy level?
Prevent the symptoms of dementia by preventing high blood sugar levels – but how?
Prevent sugar binges with protein
Eating protein at each meal will help to balance blood sugars and feel full for longer. Try eating eggs for breakfast or add some protein powder to yogurt.
Keep a food diary
Nutritionist Cassandra said: “Struggling to keep track of your eating habits? Try logging what you eat. This can help you monitor what food groups you may be over indulging in and can make it easier to control your portion size. It’ll help you stay accountable for what you’ve eaten.”
Read before you buy
You need to become a label reader to understand what is in the food you eat, according to Dr Marilyn Glenville..
She said: “Truly, don’t fall for the marketing hype on the front of the packet. The most important part of the food label that I check is the ingredient list. This tells me exactly what is in the food. Anything ending in ‘ose’ (glucose, sucrose, fructose, lactose, maltose) – is a form of sugar, as are honey, agave, molasses and syrups like corn and rice syrup, not forgetting glucose-fructose syrup (high fructose corn syrup). The higher up the ingredients list, the more sugar the product contains.”
Swap sugar for natural alternatives
If you are making cakes, think of ways other than sugar to add sweetness, says Dr Glenville.
She said: “For example, you could add carrots, raisins, dates, figs or bananas as natural sweeteners. Many people now make wonderful cakes from naturally sweet vegetables such as beetroot and carrot.
“For apple pies or crumbles use eating apples instead of cooking apples so you do not need to add sugar – you could always add raisins or sultanas to make a pie or crumble that little bit sweeter. Unsweetened date slice is wonderful because dates are naturally sweet. Other natural alternatives include maple syrup, barley malt syrup, brown rice syrup and stevia.”
Don’t underestimate exercise
Staying active is vital when managing Type 2 diabetes, said Cassandra.
She added: “Exercise helps the body respond to insulin, keep blood sugar levels down and manage your weight. You can get the greatest benefits by including both aerobic exercise such as cycling, dancing or jogging and strength training with weights or body-weight exercises.”