How a vegan diet can help people suffering from Type 2 Diabetes

A review published in the British Medical Journal recently found that a plant based diet can help to improve the lifestyle of those suffering from severe lifelong chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, in many ways.

The benefits of a healthy plant based diet which includes lots of fresh vegetables, pulses, fruits and wholegrains, rather than refined plant-based carbohydrates, such as sugar and white flour, are clear to see in general for all of us, thanks to a variety of medical studies carried out over the years.

But this particular review found that eating a healthy diet, such as a vegan or plant based one, can even help people with type 2 diabetes to manage their condition, improve the mood, ease symptoms and avoid complications.


What is Type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a chronically debilitating condition where insulin, which is essential fuel for our bodies, doesn’t work properly, or the pancreas which produces it isn’t releasing enough of it, – this causes high glucose levels in the blood.

Diabetes displays nasty symptoms, such as a more frequent need to urinate, increased feelings of thirst and the slowness of wounds to heal. If left untreated, it can seriously damage the heart, eyes, feet and kidneys.

According to Diabetes UK, there are different ways of treating Type 2 diabetes. Some people can manage it by being more active, losing weight and healthier eating. For example, Diabetes UK have some great tips on how substituting in healthy greens such as Kalettes® , spinach and kale can help.

Eventually, most people will also need medication to bring their blood glucose down to a safe level.


The effects of a plant-based diet on adults with type 2 diabetes

The researchers who carried out 11 studies which looked at the effects of a plant-based diet on adults with type 2 diabetes were from the University of London, the University of Northampton and East Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust.

They were looking to summarise the effects of this type of diet on the wellbeing of their patients.

The results showed adults with diabetes who followed a vegan diet reported improved quality of life, decreased depression, less pain and psychological improvements.

In 8 studies including 405 adults with diabetes, diabetes control measured by HbA1c was better in the plant-based diet groups. And in 5 out of 6 studies including 312 adults with diabetes which reported weight outcomes, people in the plant-based groups lost almost double the amount of weight than people in the control groups.

The researchers said: “It can be concluded that plant-based diets accompanied by educational interventions can significantly improve psychological health, quality of life, HbA1c levels and weight and therefore the management of diabetes.”

A good intake of fruits and vegetables which contain high amounts of healthy vitamins and minerals is thought to boost the immune system, improve mental and physical health and help ward off a whole range of serious illnesses. So why not consider getting more plant based foods into your diet today and start looking forward to a healthier, happier you!