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Herbs, spices for healthy blood sugar

Diabetes has been identified as a major risk factor of severe illness from COVID. It is one of the conditions found among those who have lost their lives after an infection with the virus. And with the numbers growing, we need to be as concerned about our sugar levels as we are about our immunity.

Now many of us are taking herbal concoctions to boost our immunity, however, rather, we could also use herbs and spices to both prevent high blood sugar as well as improve sugar control among those managing diabetes or irregular blood sugar. According to various studies, the compounds found in many culinary herbs and spices work collectively to regulate and restore numerous dysregulated and interconnected diabetic biological processes.

These herbs and spices include cinnamon, turmeric, fenugreek, marjoram, cumin, black pepper, thyme, nutmeg, oregano, ginger, basically majority of herbs and spices you know. According to the studies, compounds in these plants promote anti-diabetic biological mechanisms such as stimulating the production of insulin, regulating enzymes that regulate glucose metabolism, as well as inhibiting intestinal glucose digestion, and absorption. At the same time, secondary compounds of these plants such as flavonoids, terpenoids, alkaloids and polysaccharides have been shown to promote antidiabetic activity. Flavonoids for instance have been shown to promote the conversion of glucose to glycogen (glucose storage form), promote glucose uptake in certain organs and tissues, as well as prevent damage to pancreatic cells, while improving insulin secretion. Flavonoids have also been shown to protect against diabetes related complications.

If you have not been keen on herbs and spices, this is a good time to include them in your meals. The more the variety the better for you and your family, since different herbs offer different properties.

If you are already diabetic, continue taking your pills or using insulin, regularly check and keep track of your sugar.  And if you have any concerns, call your doctors.

Remember to wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and sanitize.


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Christine Nderitu

As a licensed Nutritionist and Public Health Practitioner, Christine, helps people lead healthy lifestyles through education and behaviour change practices that are simple and practical. Her area of expertise lies not just in nutrition management but in health education and promotion in HIV/AIDS, Adolescent Health, Maternal and Child Health as well as Non-Communicable Diseases, which she has engaged in for a decade. She is also a columnist in a leading local Daily. Christine has a keen interest in Non-Communicable Diseases prevention and control. She feels that the world needs more stories that celebrate and normalize desired (good) behaviour, and humanity. “We have many preventable and often manmade public health issues today.”