TUESDAY, October 30, 2018 (HealthDay News) – Diabetes is a formidable adversary that can tax the bodies and minds of people who are diagnosed with blood sugar.

However, a herbal diet can help to improve the physical and mental health of unfortunate people with type 2 diabetes, a new evidence report reports.

Diabetics who switched to a herbal diet tended, according to the combined findings of eleven previous studies, to a significant improvement in their emotional well-being.

The researchers behind the review believe that this is because a herbal diet helped them better control their diabetes.

"They feel better in control of their health and thus improve their mood and overall well-being," said Anastasios Toumpanakis, lead author of the study. He is a PhD student at the University of London in England.

Diet is central to the fight against type 2 diabetes, which affects more than 30 million people in the United States.

Vegan diets exclude all animal products from your diet, including eggs and dairy products, said Rahaf Al Bochi, a registered dietitian and spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Toumpanakis and his colleagues collected data on 433 participants in eleven different clinical trials. Eight of these studies were full vegan diets while the remainder were vegetarian. The experiments lasted an average of 23 weeks.

People who consumed herbal diets experienced improved physical health and better control of diabetes.

"These studies showed that this eating behavior helped them to better control their glucose in the serum [blood sugar] "Toumpanakis said.

People who consumed herbal diets also experienced significant relief from their diabetes-related nerve pain. The findings suggest that such a diet plan could slow down diabetes-related progressive nerve damage, the researchers said.

In six of the studies, patients were able to reduce or discontinue the medications they were taking, either because of diabetes or because of diabetes symptoms.

The studies also found that people had improved mental well-being. The depression sank, while overall quality of life improved.

"We would say that people with Type 2 diabetes could be happier after a plant-based diet because, as the studies suggest, the majority thought they could better control their condition through this eating behavior," said Toumpanakis.

"If dieting allows them to improve their physical symptoms and their blood sugar levels and reduce or even stop some of their medications, it has a big impact on their quality of life," he added.

Toumpanakis said there is nothing to lose by switching to a herbal diet. He noted that both the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American College of Endocrinology promote vegetarian or vegan diets as the optimal nutritional plan for diabetics.

However, the study does not prove that a herbal diet improves the mental and physical health of patients, except that there is a connection.

And Al Bochi is not ready to accept the results of the review.

She noted that out of the eleven studies included in the report, only four tracked people's mental well-being.

"Considering that we are working with very small sample sizes," said Al Bochi.

Previous studies have shown that food can play a role in a person's mood, but she said, "Whether there is a precise mechanism with meat products and mood, I am not sure if there is an actual connection."

In addition, protein could increase the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that can help improve mood.

Al Bochi suggested that people can best control their mood through eating by making sure they are taking regular meals to prevent the "hard" feeling that can be caused by blood sugar fluctuations.

"There are many different nutrients that we know can help with mood, I am not sure if eliminating certain groups such as meat products can positively affect mood," said Al Bochi.

The review of the evidence was published online on October 30 in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care,

More information

The American Diabetes Association has more on vegetarian diets and diabetes.

SOURCES: Anastasios Toumpanakis, PhD student, University of London, England; Rahaf Al Bochi, RDN, registered nutritionist and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; October 30, 2018 BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Careon-line


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