Education on Diabetes

Metabolic syndrome 101!

This week I am raising awareness about what metabolic syndrome is, and most importantly what we can do to prevent it!

Metabolic syndrome affects around 1 in 3 adults over the age of 50 (UK statistics), and cases in younger people are increasing. This calls for greater education on the topic, and most importantly, how we can improve our health to live a happier life.

What is it?

blood pressure for metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is the term used when an individual has a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

Having metabolic syndrome puts individuals at a much higher risk of getting cardiovascular disease, having strokes as well as several other serious health conditions.

This is because diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity can cause damage to blood vessels. This can vary, sometimes blood vessels become stiff, and sometimes blood vessel walls become weak, both of which can cause health complications.

How is it diagnosed?

The NHS criteria includes:

  • Being overweight or having a lot of fat around the waist.
  • Having high LDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides.
  • Having a blood pressure of 140/90mmHg or higher
  • The inability to control blood sugar levels (also referred to as insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes).

If you are concerned about your health, or any of the points above, make an appointment with your doctor now!

Prevention and action is key!

Most importantly metabolic syndrome can indeed be prevented and reversed! So if you have been diagnosed, it is time to take action for your health!

Here are some ways you can help yourself:

table salt - metabolic syndrome
  • Losing weight
  • Exercising for at least 30 minutes everyday – try to complete a variety of cardio, weight lifting and yoga based training for the maximum benefits.
  • Eat a rainbow diet rich in fibre, fruit and vegetables
  • Limit your packaged and processed food intake – opt for fresh food
  • Stop adding sugar and table salt to your food
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit your alcohol consumption
  • Increase your water intake to around 2.5L a day

I know for some people this is very simplified, but to change your lifestyle, it has to be achievable!

Thank you for reading Metabolic disorder 101! I hope you found this interesting and useful. Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? Here’s what to do! and What is the deal with cooking oils

Diet, Education on Diabetes

Is ‘diabetic’ chocolate really healthier?

While the concept of ‘diabetic’ chocolate is thoughtful, it can actually do more harm than good.

When I was younger I mainly got given ‘diabetic’ chocolate, particularly at Christmas and Easter time and all I can remember is feeling left out and that it tastes horrible!

So from my own experience and research, lets look into why ‘diabetic’ or sugar free chocolate is not any better for you than normal chocolate.

What is ‘diabetic ‘ chocolate?

what is diabetic chocolate

This is essentially when a product has very little carbohydrate or sugar in it, which makes it ‘appropriate’ for those living with diabetes.

These products were created to help people manage diabetes while allowing some room for chocolate and treats. However, research soon exposed the loop wholes in these products, including inaccurate health promises.

In fact, labelling a product as ‘diabetic’ is now against the law. This is because research has shown absolutely no benefit in consuming diabetic chocolate over normal chocolate, and showing it can actually cause more damage to the body.

Why is it detrimental?

why is diabetic chocolate not great

Diabetic chocolate may be low in sugar, but it is still high in fat, calories and additives. Sugar is replaced with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, which can have some nasty effects in the body.

The artificial sweeteners and additives can cause severe stomach upset, including bloating, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Furthermore, additives can still actually cause blood sugar spikes and increase insulin resistance. The theory behind this states that artificial sweeteners closely resemble glucose, which confuses the body into thinking blood glucose is high, when in fact it is not. This process is linked to worsening insulin resistance.

Finally, it just doesn’t taste the same and can cause people living with diabetes to feel left out.

Opt for this instead

My simple advise is to just have normal chocolate and treats when you fancy them. Of course have chocolate on the occasion and use carb counting to keep your levels in range.

All products have the carb and sugar content listed on the packaging, so use it! Also have your treats while staying active. I like to go for a nice post-meal walk with family and friends to keep my levels balanced. It is possible to eat ‘like a normal person’ while living with diabetes, it just takes some extra time and planning.

Never let living with diabetes stop you from having fun, just be mindful and learn about your body. Tell the people around you what you need, whether thats asking them to walk with you, or simply educating them about what diabetics can eat (which is anything with the correct prep!).

Lastly, tell your family members to get you normal chocolate on special occasions. I am sure they would much rather get you something you like! 🙂

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Thank you for reading Is ‘diabetic chocolate’ really healthier? I hope you found this useful and informative! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out How to handle a hypo mid-workout! and 5 Minute Healthy Chocolate Dessert!

Education on Diabetes

First aid and diabetes education

What is the deal?

Unfortunately, diabetes can often be misrepresented in first aid courses. This can leads to confusion about what exactly diabetes is, and the differentiation between type 1 and type 2.

I often get asked ‘do you have the one with high sugar levels or low sugar levels’. This confusion comes from miseducation about diabetes.

So, lets dive into what first aid teaches, and more importantly how we can turn this into a positive learning point.

How does first aid teach diabetes?

In the UK, first aid courses teach diabetes as having two types:

  1. Low blood sugar
  2. High blood sugar

This creates the idea that type 1 means low blood sugar, and type 2 means high blood sugar. With there already being a big misconception about diabetes, I think this adds to misinformation.

Furthermore, first aid states casualties with diabetes must always be given sugar. If someone living with diabetes is unconscious or acting ‘like they are drunk’ it is most likely down to hypoglycaemia (low sugars). BUT, this behaviour could also be due to high blood sugar. This means giving sugar can sometimes do more harm than good.

How can education about diabetes be improved?

blood test - first aid

Rather than teaching diabetes this way, first aid should focus on teaching what diabetes actually is!

It is as simple as saying; type 1 diabetes is when the pancreas stops producing insulin (usually from a young age), and type 2 diabetes is when there is enough insulin, it just doesn’t work correctly. Both types of diabetes can cause high AND low blood sugar.

What to do if a person living with diabetes needs first aid

When I talk to people about diabetes, this is what I advise if a diabetic is unconscious, or has lost the ability to help themselves:

  1. Call an ambulance if the diabetic cannot help themselves
  2. Check their sugar levels if possible
FGM for blood sugar checking - first aid

This is becoming ever easier with the latest tech, so look at their upper arms or the stomach for an FGM or CGM monitor (like in the picture). You can use their phone or scanning device to look at their sugar levels for more information:

  • A low blood sugar reading = give them a source of fast acting glucose, (preferably a drink high in sugar with around 15g sugar).
  • A high blood sugar reading = do not do anything, wait for paramedics to arrive. NEVER inject insulin, only the person with diabetes should ever do this.

Most often, people living with diabetes will be able to feel if they have low glucose, so the majority of the time they might just ask you to get them a sugary drink. If this happens, stay with them until their sugars reach a safe level. (In this case an ambulance is not needed).

If sugars remain low after 15 minutes, give them another sugary drink until levels rise.

As a summary:

  • Low glucose = 15+15 (15g sugar, wait 15 minutes)
  • High glucose = wait for ambulance, or if they can take some insulin, stay with them until it kicks in

Thank you for reading First aid and diabetes education! I hope this makes diabetes less confusing, and you learned something new! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Diabetes technology 101! and How I ran Tough Mudder while managing Type 1!

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Diet, Education on Diabetes

Gluten – what is the big deal?

Gluten is a very controversial topic, with ‘experts’ claiming we have to quit gluten in order to be healthy. So here is everything you need to know about gluten, and whether or not you should consider going gluten free!

What is it?

sources of gluten

Gluten is a storage protein found in certain grains.

It is essentially is what makes foods stretchy and expand. Sometimes, gluten can be linked to causing leaky gut syndrome due to its expanding properties.

Leaky gut syndrome is when cells in the gut lining lose tightness, and allow fragments of food to leak into the blood. This is linked to a variety of health conditions, including autoimmune diseases.

Grains that contain gluten include:

  • Wheat
  • Spelt
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Malt
  • Wheat starch

E.g. Pasta, bread, flour, cakes, biscuits, pastry and ready-made sauces.

Coeliac’s disease

Coeliac’s disease is where the body attacks the lining of the digestive tract in response to gluten consumption.

This creates some severe symptoms, including:

  • Severe or occasional diarrhoea, constipation, bloating or wind
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Recurrent stomach pain or cramping
  • Iron, B12 or B9 (folate) deficiency
  • Anaemia
  • Tiredness
  • Mouth ulcers
gluten free products

If individuals with coeliac’s continue to consume gluten, damage to the digestive tract will become so severe, nutrients will not be absorbed. This can result in multiple nutrient deficiencies which can lead to further discomfort and the onset of other health conditions.

Therefore, it is imperative that coeliac’s sufferers completely avoid gluten to stay healthy.

Gluten intolerance (non-coeliac)

Some people can have what we call intolerance or sensitivity. This is essentially when consuming gluten causes a variety of symptoms, without the presence of antibodies or long-term damage. The reason why is not fully known, but it could be linked to leaky gut syndrome.

Symptoms of sensitivity include: (these are usually less severe than symptoms in coeliac’s)

  • Bloating
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Nausea
  • Brain fog/ poor concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

Some people also benefit from quitting gluten with health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic skin conditions like eczema. Research suggests that gluten can make inflammation worse in the body, and can increase autoantibodies seen in some autoimmune conditions.

If you do not have any digestive issues or health conditions, there is essentially no point in quitting gluten. Individuals can be perfectly healthy consuming gluten, so please do not go down the route of thinking cutting out certain food groups makes you ‘healthy’.

My general advice, is if you have any digestive issues or unexplained symptoms, go and see your doctor and consider quitting gluten for 6-8 weeks to see if this relieves symptoms. If it does not relieve symptoms, you are fine to continue consuming gluten.

Gluten and type 1 diabetes

type 1 diabetes and gluten

Interestingly, type 1 diabetes and coeliac’s disease seem to be linked. Many people living with type 1 also have coeliac’s.

Research has shown that the autoantibodies (antibodies that cause the onset of autoimmune diseases) seen in type 1 diabetes are very similar to those seen in coeliac’s.

So if you are living with type 1 diabetes, I would absolutely recommend asking your doctor for a coeliac’s blood test.

If this comes back negative, but you suffer from any of the gluten sensitivity symptoms listed above, I would definitely quitting gluten for 6-8 weeks (the longer the better) to see if this helps.

Thank you for reading gluten – what is the big deal? I really hope you learnt something new and have a better understanding of gluten! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Autoimmune conditions linked with type 1 diabetes and Keeping your feet healthy with diabetes!

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Education on Diabetes, Top Tips

How to lower your cholesterol!

Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is vital for your wellbeing and for disease prevention. Having high cholesterol puts us at an increased risk of getting cardiovascular disease, strokes and many other health issues.

Keep reading for my top tips!

1. Find out what your cholesterol is

blood test - cholesterol levels

The first place to start is to chat with your doctor and ask for a cholesterol test. If you have diabetes, cholesterol should be checked at least twice a year alongside your HbA1c.

It really is important to keep track of your cholesterol results as well as your HbA1c as high cholesterol can have the same long-term consequences as high glucose.

When cholesterol is high, it can damage the lining of blood vessels leading plaque build up.

This also allows you to set goals with your doctor to better your health.

These are the following cholesterol blood test goals:

  • Total cholesterol: Under 5mmol/L
  • High-density lipids (HDL): below 4 mmol/L
  • Low-density lipids (LDL): Below 3mmol/L
  • Serum triglycerides: below 2.3 mmol/L

2. Limit processed foods

Firstly it is really important to understand that there are different types of fat, some of which are not great for your health, and others that are fundamental for your body and health.

Processed foods tend to be packed with what people call ‘bad fats’. This is known as saturated fat and trans fats. Essentially, you want to consuming as little of these fat types as possible.

This is because ‘bad fats’ cause the health problems associated with having high cholesterol.

The best way to avoid processed foods is to make your meals and snacks from scratch. Also think about limiting red meat sources as they are high in saturated fats.

I also want to make it clear that consuming what many call ‘bad fats’ occasionally is absolutely fine. Please remember that every food group has a place in the diet, it is just about making food that promotes health the bulk of your diet.

3. Increase ‘good fats’

good fats to lower cholesterol

‘Good fats’ are vital for health because they help to lower ‘bad fats’ in the blood. Good fats are known as HDL and bad as LDL.

Include some of the following in your daily diet:

  • Avocado
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Nuts and seeds (walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds etc)
  • Oily fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna etc)
  • Eggs
  • Dark chocolate
  • Yogurt

Please do not be afraid to include the above foods in your diet! I have personally increased the amount of oily fish in my diet and I have seen many benefits. Food is your friend, never the enemy!

4. Support your liver

The liver is actually the main organ that controls the amount of cholesterol in the blood. HDL’s are released from the liver when LDL’s are too high in the blood. HDL’s then attach to LDL’s and move them back into storage in the liver.

This process is absolutely vital, but can become compromised when the liver is under pressure.

To support your liver try to do the following:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Eat the rainbow
  • Eat sour foods (lemon juice, rocket, artichoke, watercress etc)
  • Don’t smoke
  • Hydrate!

5. Live an active life

exercise to lower cholesterol

Having an increased body weight and sedentary lifestyle puts us at a higher risk of having elevated cholesterol.

Therefore, it is vital to make movement and exercise a part of your daily routine.

Try to complete at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, but try to do more! If you only have time to do 20-30 minutes, opt for high intensity types to get more out of the time.

Most importantly, choose exercise you enjoy because this makes it easier to stick to a routine long-term!

Thank you so much for reading how to lower you cholesterol! I hope you found this post useful and you learnt something new today! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out How to keep your kidneys healthy with diabetes and How to read food labelling effectively!

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Education on Diabetes

Been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? Here’s what to do!

Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can feel helpless, daunting and isolating. But with the correct help you can still live a healthy life and potentially even reach remission!

What is type 2 diabetes

type 2 diabetes

Firstly, it is important to understand that type 2 diabetes is when blood sugar levels are too high due to insulin resistance. This means your body is still producing insulin, however the insulin is not interacting correctly with your cells.

It is also important to understand what remission from type 2 diabetes is. If diet and lifestyle is changed adequately (usually alongside taking any diabetic drugs prescribed), it can be possible to lower your HbA1c (average glucose in the blood) into normal range. If the diet and lifestyle returns to a high sugar and processed diet, it is very likely high glucose and diabetes will return.

This means it is incredibly important to change the diet and lifestyle to help bring glucose levels into the normal range.

What diet and lifestyle changes to make

healthy foods - type 2 diabetes

Firstly, the amount of sugar and processed foods must be decreased to prevent spikes.

Think about adding as much colour to your diet as possible, and eat the rainbow. Different coloured fruit and vegetables contain different micronutrients that are vital for our health. So try and aim for 7-10 a day, rather than 5!

Increase your fibre intake! Swap white carbs for brown, as this helps sugar levels to remain stable and helps digestion. Increase lean protein intake (chicken, turkey and fish) and eat vegetable protein sources. This can include tofu, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds!

Finally, get yourself moving! Sedentary lifestyles have a very close connection with the onset of type 2. So increase your exercise levels by walking, swimming, hitting the gym or whatever type of exercise you enjoy!

How to keep track of your sugar levels

Quite a lot of the time healthcare teams fail to educate people living with type 2 diabetes about how and why they must keep close check of sugar levels.

A small amount of people living with type 2 diabetes have access to pricker sets to check blood glucose. It is absolutely vital everyone living with type 2 has access to this equipment. Being able to check your sugar levels daily helps to identify when your sugars are spiking.

Check blood pressure - type 2 diabetes

If you have the money I would highly recommend purchasing a testing kit to help you reach your HbA1c goal and better your health.

I would recommend starting with 4 tests a day, when waking, before lunch and dinner and before bedtime. If you feel unwell do a test to see if this is being caused by high or low blood sugars.

It is possible for low blood sugar levels to occur so please keep a snack and your kit with you at all times.

I would also recommend looking at your cholesterol levels as well as your blood pressure. If these are both high you should talk to your doctor about next steps!

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Thank you so much for reading what to do after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes! I hope this helps and please reach out to me if you have any questions or need any support at all. Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this blog, be sure to check out 5 foods to limit if you’re living with diabetes! and 5 foods diabetics should be eating!

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Education on Diabetes

Autoimmune conditions linked with type 1 diabetes

As you probably know already type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. It can be common for people living with type 1 diabetes to develop other autoimmune conditions.

This post is not to cause any stress, I just think it is good to know which autoimmune conditions are linked to type 1 diabetes, and the symptoms of them. If any symptoms arise, this allows you to speak to your doctor as quickly as possible!

The following autoimmune conditions are more commonly associated with type 1 diabetes:

  • Coeliac’s disease
  • Hyperthyroidism (Grave’s disease)
  • Hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s disease)
  • Pernicious anaemia

Keep reading to find out exactly what these conditions are, and the signs and symptoms.

Coeliac’s disease

Coeliac’s disease is where the body attacks the lining of the digestive tract in response to gluten consumption.

The following are some symptoms of coeliac’s:

coeliacs - autoimmune conditions
  • Severe or occasional diarrhoea, constipation, bloating or wind
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Recurrent stomach pain or cramping
  • Iron, B12 or B9 (folate) deficiency
  • Anaemia
  • Tiredness
  • Mouth ulcers

The treatment for coeliac’s disease is to completely remove gluten from the diet to prevent damage to the digestive system.

For further support and information, check out Coeliac UK

Graves’ disease (Hyperthyroidism)

Graves’ disease is when the immune system accidentally attacks the thyroid gland, causing it to become overactive. The role of the thyroid gland is to produce hormones that regulates metabolism (energy).

excessive thirst - autoimmune conditions

When the thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones in excess, the following symptoms can arise:

  • Hyperactivity – people with overactive thyroid often describe this as nervous energy
  • Mood swings/ irritability
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Persistent tiredness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Thirst
  • Itchiness
  • Goitre (swelling or lump in the neck)

Visit the NHS overactive thyroid page for more information.

Hashimoto disease (Hypothyroidism)

Hashimoto disease is when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland resulting in it becoming under active. To diagnose both Hashimoto and Graves’, a blood test is needed to see how your thyroid is functioning.

Symptoms of Hashimoto disease include:

  • Persistent tiredness
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Cold sensitivity
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Muscle aches
  • Goitre (lump or swelling in the neck)

If you are diagnosed with an Graves’ or Hashimoto disease, Thyroid UK provides all the information you need to know to get started!

Pernicious anaemia

Pernicious anaemia is when the immune system destroys cells in the stomach that are vital for vitamin B12 absorption. This results in B12 deficiency which causes a variety of symptoms:

tiredness - autoimmune conditions
  • Anaemia symptoms (fatigue, breathlessness, dizziness, paleness)
  • Balance problems
  • Paresthesia (pins and needles)
  • Numbness or burning in hands and feet
  • Loss of taste, smell or hearing
  • Blurred vision
  • Poor memory or concentration
  • Weight loss
  • Digestive disturbances
  • Tinnitus

Pernicious anaemia can take years to develop, and the severity of symptoms varies between people.

For more information, have a look at Pernicious Anaemia Society

Thank you for reading autoimmune conditions linked to type 1 diabetes! I hope this was informative, and please do not panic if you have any of the above symptoms. If you do, go and see your doctor and have a chat! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Autoimmune diseases 101! and Diabetes technology 101!

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Education on Diabetes

Microbiota 101!

The good bacteria in your gut is absolutely vital for your health, and helps pretty much every system in the body, including your digestive, immune and endocrine (hormonal) system!

So, keep reading to learn about the microbiota, and what you can do right now to promote your health!

What is the microbiota?

We have around 40 trillion bacteria living in our guts. Some bacteria is beneficial to us because it helps us to digest and absorb nutrients. On the other hand, some of the bacteria is detrimental and can cause illness if it overgrows.

Therefore it is vital to keep the good bacteria healthy in the gut to keep us healthy!

Why is it important to my health?

The good bacteria in the gut actually helps us to make, digest and absorb nutrients. For example, bacteria in the intestines makes the majority of vitamin K2 our body needs for blood clotting and wound healing.

Having a healthy microbiota also keeps the cells in the gut tight, preventing inflammation and symptoms such as bloating, cramping and constipation.

Furthermore, bacteria in the gut helps to strengthen our immune system by training immune cells to recognise pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Research has shown an association between an imbalanced microbiota and certain conditions. This can include IBD, atherosclerosis, type 1 and type 2 diabetes and liver disease. This shows why supporting ur digestive system is so important.

What damages it?

stomach ache - imbalanced microbiota

Damage to the microbiota essentially means that the bad bacteria has become favoured. This can result in digestive issues such as:

  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Excess flatulence

The following points contribute towards imbalanced bacteria in the gut:

1.High refined sugars/ processed foods: When we eat a diet high in processed foods, it feeds the bad bacteria in the gut and causes them to outgrow the good bacteria. So make sure you have a diet high in whole foods and have processed foods as a treat on the occasion!

2. Antibiotics: antibiotics are used to kill off bad bacteria that cause infection, however antibiotics are broad and will kill any bacteria in the gut whether it is good or bad. So if you need to take some antibiotics, it is good to be aware of this to prevent any digestive issues after taking them. Keep reading to see how to support your gut bacteria!

3. Stress: When our sympathetic nervous system is activated (think flight or flight) blood is directed away from the digestive system. This can cause a favourable environment for the overgrowth of bad bacteria. Therefore, it is a wise idea to practice activities that help you to relax and to keep your gut healthy!

4. Alcohol/smoking: chemicals from smoking and consuming alcohol is toxic to bacteria in the gut. Alcohol and smoking also causes inflammation in the gut which may lead to leaky gut syndrome.

Finally, if you have coeliac’s or have a gluten sensitivity it is important to avoid gluten. This is because gluten will begin to damage the lining of the intestine which will impact good bacteria. This can eventually impact the absorption of nutrients and lead to leaky gut syndrome.

How you can support your gut bacteria

  1. Take a probiotic supplement to help reestablish the beneficial bacteria in your gut. I would definitely recommend taking probiotics for at least a month after finishing antibiotics.

2. Eat prebiotic and probiotic foods. Prebiotic foods contain nutrients that feed good bacteria in the gut that are already there. Probiotic foods contain live bacteria that helps to maintain and improve colonies of good bacteria in the gut. Try to have at least one of the following foods from the examples below.

Kombucha - Microbiota 101

Prebiotic food examples: onion, garlic, leeks, artichoke, oats, apples, flaxseeds. – bacteria feeds off of the fibre and short chain fatty acids in these foods.

Probiotic food examples: Kimchi, Kefir, kombucha, seaweed, yogurt, sauerkraut, tempeh and miso (anything fermented will contain live bacteria cultures).

Remedy is a fantastic company to check out to try Kombucha and Kefir probiotic soft drinks! My favourite flavour is the passion fruit, but they have a variety of flavours that is perfect for everyone.

3. Avoid processed sugars. Eating a lot of refined sugar feeds and favours the bad bacteria in the gut. So make sure you prioritise having natural, unprocessed foods in your diet.

4. Keep stress levels low. I know this is easier said than done, but when we are stressed blood gets directed away from the gut to prepare us for fight or flight. When we are continuously in fight or flight mode it can result in digestive issues as there is not enough blood to nourish the gut and microbiota.

Thank you for reading Microbiota 101! I really hope you learned something new and it helps you to make positive changes to your lifestyle. Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out 5 ways to improve digestion! and my Chinese Takeaway alternative!

Remedy for gut health - microbiota 101
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Education on Diabetes

Keeping your heart healthy with diabetes

The heart is another organ that can be impacted by diabetes. Being diabetic increases your risk of getting heart problems by 50%!

Therefore, it is vital to keep your sugar levels as controlled as possible, as well as incorporating the following tips in your lifestyle!

Keep reading to find out what you can do to keep your heart healthy while living with diabetes!

Don’t underestimate omega-3’s!

omega-3 for to keep heart healthy

A lot of people know that the omega’s are healthy, but what people don’t know is the balance of omega-3 to omega-6 is vital. If the balance is unequal, it can create a pro-inflammatory state in the body.

This can be dangerous because too much omega-6 can aggravate inflammatory illness such as heart disease, atherosclerosis and arthritis for example.

Omega-3 and omega-6 are digested in exactly the same way, and they compete for absorption. So if your diet is very high in omega-6, little to no omega-3 will be absorbed. Furthermore, the typical Western diet is very high in animal products, which creates this imbalance of omega-3 and omega-6.

To avoid this imbalance, it is very important to include sources of omega-3 in your diet everyday. Have 2-3 portions of oily fish per week (salmon, herring, sardines, tuna and mackerel), and have a handful of walnuts, chia seeds or flaxseeds everyday to keep your heart healthy!

Maintain your blood pressure

lower blood pressure to keep heart healthy

Maintaining healthy blood pressure is vital for the cardiovascular system as well as overall health.

Having high blood pressure promotes the development of cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis (plaque build up in the arteries) and can even lead to a heart attack.

Therefore it is vital to keep your blood pressure between 120/80 and 90/60mmHg.

Lower blood pressure by:

  • Decreasing processed food and table salt consumption
  • Drink lots of water
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes per day
  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Do not smoke
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Drink alcohol in moderation

Most of us love to have a drink, but it is really important to drink in moderation to maintain a healthy heart.

Alcohol not only tends to contain a lot of sugar, but it also majorly increases the risk of having hypoglycaemic events which can put the heart under strain.

Furthermore, alcohol can interfere with diabetic medications (taken for type 2 diabetes), which again makes sugar level control much harder to achieve.

So, opt for non-alcoholic drinks and have alcohol every now and then to celebrate!

Find time for you

Decreasing stress and maximising relaxation is really important for heart health.

sleep to keep heart healthy

Activating your parasympathetic nervous system by relaxing decreases your blood pressure and blood sugar level, as well as decreasing the risk of getting heart complications.

So find some relaxing activities that work for you, such as taking Epsom salt baths, going on long walks, reading and so on. Do at least one of these activities everyday!

Furthermore, make sure you prioritise getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night for your health. Try removing blue light 1-2 hours before bed, opening a window for fresh air and keep your sheets fresh to help get you in a healthy sleep routine.

Thank you for reading keeping your heart healthy with diabetes! I hope this helps you to make positive changes for your health. Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post be sure to read my Chinese Takeaway alternative! and How to keep your kidneys healthy with diabetes

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Education on Diabetes, Top Tips

5 ways to reduce your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes

Many people often worry about getting health complications such as type 2 diabetes, so here are 5 ways to reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes!

Always remember preventing health issues before they become a problem is optimal! If you are concerned about your health, go and see your doctor and look at ways to improve your lifestyle!

1. Switch up your carb sources

fibre for type 2 diabetes prevention

I have said this across so many posts, and I’ll say it again! Opt for brown and wholegrain carbohydrate sources as they contain more fibre, vitamins and minerals than white carbs.

Fibre is very important for the digestive system and maintaining balanced sugar levels. Fibre not only feeds the healthy bacteria in the gut to stimulate optimal digestion and nutrient absorption, but it also slows digestion down, which helps to prevent sudden sugar spikes.

Bear in mind the recommended daily fibre intake is 30g, so pack wholegrain oats, grains, legumes and a variety of fruit and vegetables into your daily diet.

2. Get moving!

get moving for type 2 diabetes prevention

Type 2 diabetes is majorly linked to having a sedentary lifestyle, so get up and get moving to reduce your risk!

If you are a student, or have an office job, I highly recommend scheduling some time into your diary to make sure you take breaks and get some activity in. Whether this is going for a walk on your lunch break, getting to the gym before your shift starts, or walking the dog, make sure you get it done!

The best way to keep active is to find what you enjoy. If you are bored of your current exercise plan, the chances are you won’t stick to it! So try something new, book into a Zumba class, go for a swim, even go for a walk with your family/friends. It doesn’t necessarily matter what form of exercise it is, as long as you are moving your body.

3. Check what you are drinking

coffee - type 2 diabetes prevention

Many people switch up their diet which is fantastic, but people often forget to check what they are drinking!

If you are drinking many cups of tea or coffee a day, with milk and sugar, this unfortunately will add up to a lot of sugar!

Try to reduce (ideally eliminate) any added sugar to teas or coffees, and switch to herbal teas if you are open to it.

Herbal teas have many health benefits, for example green tea is packed with antioxidants, and lemon with ashwaganda tea is fantastic for digestion! If you find herbal teas bland, add a tiny drizzle of honey to make it taste a bit nicer!

4. Get your vitamin D!

Studies have shown that having optimal vitamin D levels is linked to preventing insulin resistance. This essentially means that vitamin D helps the body to utilise sugar effectively, helping sugar to get inside of cells and maintaining optimal blood glucose levels.

I’m not personally very big on supplements, but if you are from somewhere that lacks sun, I would recommend supplementing vitamin D.

Take a supplement that contains 10 micrograms (400 IU) a day (according to NHS guidelines) all year round.

Do not take more than 100 micrograms (4000 IU) a day.

If you are looking at vitamin D supplements for your children, double check the NHS website right here for doses.

5. Eat your anti-inflammatories!

increase insulin sensitivity for type 2 diabetes prevention

Anti-inflammatory foods and herbs help to promote insulin sensitivity. So try to incorporate some of these in your daily diet!

  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 80g blueberries
  • 1 avocado
  • 150g salmon
  • 5-7 walnuts

Thank you for reading 5 ways to reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes! I really hope this helps you to make some positive changes! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to read 5 Easy ways to lower your HbA1c! and my Sausage Casserole Recipe!