Diabetes is a life-threatening condition caused by a lack of insulin or insulin dysfunction. The result of this is chronically high blood sugar levels which give way to a host of coronary diseases. Fortunately, diabetes is highly preventable and can be managed through cautious food intake. One seed, which can easily be added to meals, may stave off the condition by drastically reducing blood sugar levels.
Chia seeds boast wide-ranging qualities, some of them unique.
“The small, black seeds are among the richest plant sources of the omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA),” explains Harvard Health.
These unique molecules, which are essential for digestion and the creation of energy, have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
But these qualities have proven significantly beneficial for blood sugar control.
This was illustrated in one study conducted on 15 healthy men, who are randomised to receive a 50-gram glucose test.
The subjects were given food items that were supplemented either with 25 grams of ground Salba-chia or 31.5 grams of flax on three separate occasions.
“Blood glucose samples and satiety ratings were collected at fasting and over two hours post-prandially,” noted the authors.
“Both seeds appear to differentially alter carbohydrate metabolism and satiety.”
Findings revealed chia seeds demonstrated stronger effects, reducing blood glucose by 39 percent, which was significantly greater than those seen with flax.
Many further studies have highlighted how the soluble fibre content of chia may help lower harmful cholesterol by binding to lipids in the digestive tract and dragging them out of the body.
This is significant for diabetics because high levels of cholesterol predispose individuals to the condition.
How to avoid diabetes
The age at which a person with diabetes seems to be linked to the severity of their condition.
But the dangers of the condition lie predominantly in blood sugar itself, as this destroys nerves throughout the body.
Nerve damage will manifest in myriad ways, but signs are often concentrated in the feet because these nerves have a higher sensitivity to touch.
Some researchers are adamant the condition can be beaten into remission, with the help of adequate weight loss.
This is certainly true for individuals with prediabetes – the stage that precedes a diabetes diagnosis.
Lowering intake of foods that score highly on the glycemic index offers the best chances of avoiding diabetes.
This typically includes foods that are sweetened with sugar, trans fats, white bread, pasta, among others.
Substituting these items for fatty fish, leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, nuts and eggs, could help control diabetes and lower blood sugar.
Exercise can also lower blood sugar up to 24 hours or more after a workout.