Whether you have just been diagnosed with diabetes or you have had it for a while, you may be thinking about what you can do to help better manage your overall health and improve the risks of going too high or low throughout the day and night. Medications can have side effects and more a widespread impact on physical and mental well being, so it may feel like time to consider some more natural alternatives.

Diabetes at a glance

There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 refers to those who suffer from an autoimmune disease that sees the individual’s immune system attacking the cells of the pancreas, limiting insulin production. It is an extremely serious condition and those diagnosed will need to utilise an outside source of insulin, typically in the form of injections, to survive. With a Type 2 diagnosis, the individual’s body struggles to direct insulin to the correct areas of the body and can result in resistance or impact insulin production. This is typically not characterised by disease, but by environmental and genetic factors. In either instance, there are serious potential health risks if the condition is left untreated or poorly maintained.

Correct management of diabetes via a healthy lifestyle

As diabetes is a chronic medical condition and there is no cure, the best approach is going to be managing your overall lifestyle to minimise the impact on your health. This can include eating healthier, losing weight, avoiding emotional stressors and getting enough sleep. One of the biggest things you can do is reduce your carb intake to ensure blood sugar levels stay within a healthy range. There is also another solution for managing diabetes, with olive oil – and this is becoming more and more popular as the benefits become better known. It can be worthwhile to select extra virgin olive oil, as this has even more advantageous ingredients that can help the body fight the detrimental effects of this disease.

Can extra virgin olive oil be a worthwhile addition to diabetic diets?

As it contains a host of natural, worthwhile ingredients, olive oil will actually make a great addition to any diet, not just for those managing diabetes. With just 119 calories, 0 carbohydrates or protein, 13 grams of fat and vitamins E and K in one teaspoon of standard olive oil, extra virgin also contains the added benefits of minerals, monounsaturated fats,  oleic acid and phenolic compounds that work to minimise cell damage to fight heart disease, cancer and of course diabetes. In general, studies suggest that it can help to lower blood glucose and even minimise cholesterol levels which can contribute to the health risks of this illness when left untreated.

How to consume more extra virgin olive oil?

The great news is that adding it to your diet can have a worthwhile impact and is simple to do, so it can be low effort to start enjoying the health benefits right away.

For example, you can use it as a salad dressing (or make your own vinaigrette), substitute it for butter or regular cooking oil when baking, or even use it to shallow fry or roast foods. It can even replace the oil you currently use for deep frying too, with little change in cooking times or flavour. Two surprising ways to eat more olive oil are to use it on tuna instead of mayonnaise or on jacket potatoes instead of butter and cheese.

For an even easier way to add it to your diet, why not try using it as a finishing oil and swirl it into creamy soups (like tomato or root vegetable), mix it into hummus, use it as as a dipping oil for warm, fresh bread, or mix into savoury grain bowls at breakfast. Some people like to infuse their extra virgin olive oil when using it in this way, so consider adding garlic, rosemary, chili peppers, or lemon peel to the bottle and let it do its magic.

Be sure to select one with high phenolic compounds for maximum benefits for diabetes, don’t exceed 2 tablespoons a day and always store it in a cool, dark place to minimise loss of nutrients. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before making changes to your diet.

Making the right selection

Olive oil brands that are high in phenolic compounds and prioritise nothing but 100% natural extra virgin olive oil will be the best choice for those who want to get the most out of their diet and minimise the health risks associated with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Look out for a reputable seller with credentials when buying online, to ensure that you’re buying the product you really want.