Health Articles

Find out more about your health here from our health professionals!

What is N-acetylcysteine

N-acetylcysteine, also known as Acetylcysteine, NAC or N-acetyl-cysteine, is a derivative of an amino acid called cysteine which is important in the production of glutathione, a potent antioxidant in human body.

Benefits of N-acetylcysteine

  1. Antioxidative function

When consumed, N-acetylcysteine gets converted into L-cysteine, an amino acid that is the direct precursor to glutathione in human body. Glutathione is a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals and thus protect your body cells and tissues from oxidative damage.1 Therefore, N-acetylcysteine acts as an antioxidant by replenishing the glutathione pool in body cells that becomes depleted with increased level of inflammation and oxidative stress in human body.2 This antioxidant property can help improve illnesses caused by oxidative stress, such as heart disease and infertility as well as help maintaining healthy function of immune system.3, 4, 5

2. Liver-protective function

N-acetylcysteine has been used for long as the mainstay treatment and antidote for paracetamol overdose to prevent or reduce liver damage.6 When given intravenously within 8 hours after the ingestion of paracetamol, the treatment is highly effective.6 N-acetylcysteine is also found to improve liver function in patients with non-paracetamol induced liver failure and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease thanks to its antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effect.7, 8

3. Helps relieve symptoms of respiratory condition

N-acetylcysteine is also commonly used to reduce phlegm in respiratory system. It achieves this effect by acting as mucolytic agent that reduces mucus viscosity and as a muco-regulatory agent which reduces airway mucus secretion.2 These effects, along with the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of N-acetylcysteine helps to improve breathing and lung function in lung disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis and many others.2, 9

4. Kidney-protective function

N-acetylcysteine has been speculated to be able to slow down the progress of chronic kidney disease by reducing serum creatinine and improving the structure of some of the cells in kidneys.10, 11

5. May improve mental health condition and substance use disorder

In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the use of N-acetylcysteine in helping to manage mental health conditions and substance use disorder. N-acetylcysteine has been discovered to be able to regulate the level of glutamate, an important neurotransmitter in human brain. 12 While glutamate is needed for normal brain activity, excess glutamate in brain has been found to be associated with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or depression. 13, 14 When used in patient with substance use disorders, especially to treat young individuals addicted to cocaine and cannabis, N-acetylcysteine is effective in reducing the craving for the substances and can help abstinent individuals to prevent relapsing.13 There are also promising evidence for the use of N-acetylcysteine in treating obsessive-compulsive disorders and mood disorders, but better designed studies are required to further investigate its clinical effectiveness. 13

6. May improve fertility

N-acetylcysteine has been yielding positive results in studies that look into fertility improvement in recent years. It was found that N-acetylcysteine can be helpful in polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS)-related and unexplained female infertility, especially in women with high BMI, insulin resistance, and oxidative stress15 N-acetylcysteine is also discovered to have ovulation induction properties and thus can be an effective adjuvant to improves pregnancy rate in patients receiving intrauterine insemination.16 However, more well-controlled studies still need to be done to further confirm and establish the findings.

Risks and side effects of N-acetylcysteine

N-acetylcysteine on its own has very good tolerability and safety profile even at high dose.8, 13, 14 The most common side effects that are associated with it are mainly gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea, gastric reflux, bloating. 14, 17

However, N-acetylcysteine can potentiate the vasodilation effect of Nitroglycerin, an antianginal medication which can lead to higher incidence of side effects such as headache and severe hypotension.18, 19

People who are taking blood thinning medication, have bleeding disorders or for those who are about to undergo major surgery also need to be cautious with the use of N-acetylcysteine because N-acetylcysteine has anticoagulant and platelet-inhibiting properties, thus can increase bleeding risk.20

References

  1. Ershad M, Naji A, Vearrie D. National Center for Biotechnology Information [Internet]. N Acetylcysteine. National Library of Medicine; 2023 [cited 2023Apr22]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537183/
  2. Sadowska AM. N-Acetylcysteine mucolysis in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Therapeutic Advances in Respiratory Disease. 2012;6(3):127-135. 
  3. Shackebaei D, King N, Shukla B, Suleiman MS. Mechanisms underlying the cardioprotective effect of L-cysteine. Mol Cell Biochem. 2005;277(1-2):27-31.
  4. Adeoye O, Olawumi J, Opeyemi A, Christiania O. Review on the role of glutathione on oxidative stress and infertility. JBRA Assist Reprod. 2018;22(1):61-66.
  5. Dröge W, Breitkreutz R. Glutathione and immune function. Proc Nutr Soc. 2000;59(4):595-600.
  6. Daly, F. F., Fountain, J. S., Murray, L., Graudins, A., & Buckley, N. A. (2008). Guidelines for the management of paracetamol poisoning in Australia and New Zealand-explanation and elaboration. Medical journal of Australia188(5), 296.
  7. Dludla PV, Nkambule BB, Mazibuko-Mbeje SE, et al. N-Acetyl Cysteine Targets Hepatic Lipid Accumulation to Curb Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in NAFLD: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Literature. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020;9(12):1283. Published 2020 Dec 16.
  8. Nabi T, Nabi S, Rafiq N, Shah A. Role of N-acetylcysteine treatment in non-acetaminophen-induced acute liver failure: A prospective study. Saudi J Gastroenterol. 2017;23(3):169-175.
  9. Cazzola M, Calzetta L, Page C, et al. Influence of N-acetylcysteine on chronic bronchitis or COPD exacerbations: a meta-analysis. Eur Respir Rev. 2015;24(137):451-461.
  10. Tian N, Rose R, Jordan S, Dwyer TM, Hughson MD, Manning RD Jr. N-acetylcysteine improves renal dysfunction, ameliorates kidney damage and decreases blood pressure in salt-sensitive hypertension. J Hypertens. 2006;24:2263–2270.
  11. Ye M, Lin W, Zheng J, Lin S. N-acetylcysteine for chronic kidney disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Transl Res. 2021;13(4):2472-2485.
  12. Purves D, Augustine GJ, Fitzpatrick D, et al., editors. Neuroscience. 2nd edition. Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates; 2001. Glutamate. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10807/
  13. McQueen G, Lally J, Collier T, et al. Effects of N-acetylcysteine on brain glutamate levels and resting perfusion in schizophrenia. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2018;235(10):3045-3054. doi:10.1007/s00213-018-4997-2
  14. Onaolapo AY, Onaolapo OJ. Glutamate and depression: Reflecting a deepening knowledge of the gut and brain effects of a ubiquitous molecule. World J Psychiatry. 2021;11(7):297-315.
  15. Devi N, Boya C, Chhabra M, Bansal D. N-acetyl-cysteine as adjuvant therapy in female infertility: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2020;32(5):899-910.
  16. Bedaiwy, M.A., RezkH. Al Inany, A. and Falcone, T. (2004) “N-acetyl Cystein improves pregnancy rate in long standing unexplained infertility: A novel mechanism of ovulation induction,” Fertility and Sterility, 82.
  17. Calverley P, Rogliani P, Papi A. Safety of N-Acetylcysteine at High Doses in Chronic Respiratory Diseases: A Review. Drug Saf. 2021;44(3):273-290.
  18. Horowitz JD, Henry CA, Syrjanen ML, et al. Nitroglycerine/N-acetylcysteine in the management of unstable angina pectoris. Eur Heart J. 1988;9 Suppl A:95-100.
  19. Ardissino D, Merlini PA, Savonitto S, et al. Effect of transdermal nitroglycerin or N-acetylcysteine, or both, in the long-term treatment of unstable angina pectoris. J Am Coll Cardiol. 1997;29(5):941-947.
  20. Niemi TT, Munsterhjelm E, Pöyhiä R, Hynninen MS, Salmenperä MT. The effect of N-acetylcysteine on blood coagulation and platelet function in patients undergoing open repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm. Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis. 2006;17(1):29-34.


Hair Loss

It’s normal to lose between 50- 100 hairs a day. You may experience losing more hair than is normal if you notice a large amount of hair in the drain after washing your hair or clumps of hair in your brush.
If you notice that you are losing more hair than usual, you should discuss the problem with doctor or pharmacist. They can suggest appropriate treatment plan.

What causes hair loss?

  1. Hormonal Changes
    • Pregnancy
    • Childbirth
    • Menopause
  2. Medical Conditions
    • Thyroid disease
    • Scalp infections like ringworm
    • Medication used to treat cancer
  3. Stress
  4. Family history (heredity)
  5. Nutrition Deficiency
  6. Effect of certain hair styles (wearing tight ponytail and braids)

In men, the typical pattern of hair loss is a receding hair line with loss of hair from the top and front of the head, often in a classic M-shaped pattern. In women, the usual pattern of hair loss is thinning at the crown of the head, with the frontal hairline over the forehead remaining.
Androgenetic Alopecia is caused by both genetic and hormonal factors. This form of hair loss is related to hormones called androgens, particularly an androgen called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Increased levels of androgens such as DHT in hair follicles can lead to a shorter cycle of hair growth and the growth of shorter and thinner strands of hair. Follicles can also stay in the resting phase for longer periods of time.

Traction Alopecia is a type of hair loss caused by constant pulling. The commonest cause is tight hairstyles such as braids or a ponytail. It can also occur from using chemical relaxers or even hair extensions. Traction Alopecia is not usually permanent, especially if it is diagnosed early. Often, recognizing the problem and avoiding putting strain on the hair will allow full regrowth. If Traction Alopecia is diagnosed too late, the hair follicles may have been destroyed and hair will not regrow.

Management of Hair Loss

MEDICATION

  • Finasteride (Propecia) is used in male-pattern hair loss in a pill form, taken 1 milligram per day. It is not indicated for women and pregnant women.
  • Minoxidil (Rogaine or Regro) is available OTC and applied twice daily to the scalp, eyebrows, and beard.
  • Dutasteride is another oral medication that works similarly to finasteride.

MULTIVITAMIN FOR HAIR LOSS

  • Vitamins A, B, E
    All are important to the hair growth and retention processes.
  • Biotin
    Studies suggest that including biotin-rich food in your diet or taking biotin supplement may slow hair loss such as nuts, sweet potatoes, eggs, onions and oats in your diet.
  • Iron, Folic Acid, Zinc
    Healthy hair needs these to keep growing thick and strong.

HAIR CARE

  • Anti-thinning shampoo
    Shampoo for hair loss contain vitamins and amino acids that provide healthier scalp to generate more hair over time. You can also ask your doctor/pharmacist about the right selection of shampoo.
  • Scalp massage
    When you wash your hair, gently apply pressure with your fingertips (not finger nails) around your scalp to increase blood flow, resulting in hair re-growth.
  • Gentle styling
    Skip tight braids or ponytails that may pull on hair at the root and lead to hair loss. Must always dry your hair before styling to avoid irritating scalp.
  • Avoid constant heating and drying
    Heat weakens hair proteins, and constant heating and drying can lead to weakness and fragility that causes hair loss.
  • Keep away from chemicals
    Harsh chemicals and permanent hair colour products could be damaging for hair health.

NATURAL REMEDIES

  • Onion juice
    Onion juice helps in blood circulation and promoting hair growth. Apply the juice to your scalp and hair and leave in for at least 15 minutes or leave it overnight and wash it normally. Do it regularly for a week and you will see noticeable result.
  • Coconut oil 
    Coconut oil contains fatty acids that penetrate inside the hair shaft and reduce protein loss from hair. Coconut oil can be used either before or after you wash your hair depending on your hair type. If your hair tends to be oily, you can do a leave-in treatment overnight or for a few hours before you wash it. Massage it into your scalp and all of your hair. If your hair is dry, you can also use it as a leave-in treatment.

If you want to improve your hair, come up with a plan and stay consistent. Remember that the treatments may take a few months to yield noticeable results.
It’s important that you take time each day to focus on nourishing your hair to get the luscious locks you want. Taking this step and practicing self-care will be extra beneficial if your hair loss is related to any emotional or stress-related issue.
Stay positive and do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle that will complement your hair treatment plan.

Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the nasal passages, sinuses, ears, and throat. It occurs when the immune system overreacts to the allergens in the surroundings.
There are two types of allergic rhinitis. Seasonal allergy sufferers develop symptoms during spring, fall, or both seasons when they become exposed to airborne pollen and outdoor mold spores. Perennial allergic rhinitis, which is year-around, is caused by indoor allergens such as house dust, pet dander, dust mites, and indoor molds.

DIFFERENCES OF ALLERGIC RHINITIS, COLD, FLU AND COVID

                           


Allergic Rhinitis is always triggered by breathing in the tiny particles of allergens. The common allergens that causes are pollens, dust, smoke, moulds and flakes of animal skins.

SYMPTOMS OF ALLERGIC RHINITIS


The common symptoms of having Allergic Rhinitis includes sneezing, stuffy or runny nose. Sometimes, the eyes also get red, itchy and watery. Swelling of eyes also happen occasionally.

TREATMENT OF ALLERGIC RHINITIS

You can treat your allergic rhinitis in several ways. These include medications, as well as home remedies and possibly alternative medicines.

MEDICATION

Antihistamine

You can take antihistamines to treat allergies. They work by stopping your body from making histamine.

Examples of antihistamine:
– Chlorpheniramine (Piriton)
– Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
– Loratadine (Clarityne)
– Fexofenadine (Telfast)
– Desloratadine (Aerius)
– Levocetirizine (Xyzal)

Nasal Decongestant Spray (Iliadin, Afrin, Oxy-Nase)

This medication is used for temporary relief of congestion in the nose. It works by narrowing the blood vessels in the nose area, reducing swelling and nose blockage.
Do not use more often, use more sprays, or use longer than directed because doing so may increase the risk of side effects. Also, DO NOT use this medication for more than 10 days. If you use it for longer than the recommended period of time, your congestion/nose blocking may get worsen.

Instructions to use Nasal Spray

ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE

Saline Nasal Irrigation

You can do this by using a solution made with sachets bought from a pharmacy such as Neilmed, EMS, Marimer, Sterimar etc.
Nasal irrigation can be carried out as often as necessary, but a fresh solution should be made each time.

Eucalyptus or Menthol Steam Inhalation

Eucalyptus oil extracted from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree, has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Using steam to open the passages in the nose can help to relieve sinus pressure. Steam inhalation is easy to do at home. Boil water, pour it into a large bowl, add in some eucalyptus oil or menthol and lean over, so the face is directly above the water. Cover the head with a towel, and breathe through the nose.

Probiotics & Prebiotics

Probiotics are microorganisms that might offer health benefits by helping the body maintain a healthful balance of gut bacteria.
Probiotics may boost a person’s immune system, which can help the body fight off allergies.
Probiotics also increase good bacteria in your gut, which is thought to help regulate allergy cells throughout the body.
Prebiotics are non-digestible oligosaccharides that encourage the growth of probiotic bacteria.

Vitamin C

Increasing your intake of vitamin C can help alleviate your symptoms because this antioxidant counteracts histamine, the substance that can contribute to inflammation, runny nose, sneezing, and other related symptoms.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Because omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats with anti-inflammatory properties, increasing the consumption of these healthy fats can reduce immune dysfunction and help alleviate allergy-related conditions.

Acne Management


By Ms Lew Hui Li & Ms Chong Hui Ying

Acne or acne vulgaris is a skin condition that occurs when a pore get clogged with dead skin cells, oils and a type of bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). Acne is triggered by many factors:

  • Hormones
  • Stress
  • Poor hygiene
  • Wrong skin care products
  • Sun
  • Unhealthy diet


Non Inflammatory Acne Types (Less severe)

Usually do not cause swelling and are not painful.
Examples: Whiteheads/Close comedones; Blackheads/Open comedones

Inflammatory Acne Types (More severe)

It is more likely to cause complications such as scarring or pitting.
Examples: Papules; Pustules; Nodules; Cysts

Treatment- Mild Acne

Mild acne can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as gels, soaps, pads, creams, and lotions, that are applied to the skin. OTC acne remedies may contain the following active ingredients:

  • Resorcinol: helps break down blackheads and whiteheads
  • Benzoyl peroxide: kills bacteria, accelerates the replacement of skin, and slows the production of sebum
  • Salicylic acid: assists the breakdown of blackheads and whiteheads and helps reduce inflammation and swelling.
  • Retin-A: helps unblock pores through cell turnover
  • Azelaic acid: strengthens cells that line the follicles, stops sebum eruptions, and reduce bacteria growth.

Treatment- Moderate Acne

A skin specialist, or dermatologist, can treat more severe cases.

  • Corticosteroid injection: help prevent scarring, reduce inflammation, and speed up healing.
  • Oral antibiotics: combat the growth of bacteria and reduce inflammation, erythromycin and tetracycline are commonly prescribed for acne
  • Oral contraceptives: help control acne in women by suppressing the overactive gland.
  • Topical antimicrobials:  reduce P. acnes  (example: clindamycin)
  • Retinoic acid derivatives: unclog pores and prevent whitehead and blackhead from developing (example: adapalene, tretinoin)

Prevention and Management Tips

DO

STAY HYDRATED
This doesn’t just mean drink a lot of water. Must use a suitable moisturizer to keep skin hydrated.

KEEP GOOD HYGIENE
Wash your pillow cases and clean spectacles regularly as they collect sebum and skin residues. Also must wash hands before
touching your face.

TAKE HIGH FIBER FOOD
Green leafy vegetables, nuts, fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids are helpful in acne.

USE SUNSCREEN
Sun, heat and humidity can cause oil glands to be overactive which lead to breakouts. Must choose oil free non-comedogenic
physical sunscreens.

CONSULT A DERMATOLOGIST OR PHARMACIST
Expertise of medical professionals can help to uncover source of acne and develop a treatment plan that best suitable for you.



DON’T

NEGLET YOUR HEALTH
Maintaining good mental and physical health always contribute to more healthier skin.

OVER CLEANSE
Wash your face not more than twice each day by using mild soap. Over-cleanse it or using facial cleanser with strong cleansing
effect will strip your face.

TAKE HIGH GLYCEMIC INDEX DIET
Food rich in sugar, carbohydrate and milk is known to increase acne.

PICK, POKE OR POP
This will increase the risk of infections, scarring and make your acne take longer to heal.

DITCH MEDICATION TOO SOON
It can takes up to 8 weeks before some prescribed medication has an effect on your acne. Therefore it’s important to resist the urge
of quit the medication too soon.

Constipation


Constipation is a very common problem people facing nowadays. So, what is constipation?
Medically speaking, constipation is when you have infrequent or hard to pass bowel movements (meaning they are painful and stools hard to pass) and have a feeling that you have not fully emptied your bowels. Infrequent in this case means less than three times per week. Most of the time, constipation can be treated but if there is ongoing pain with bowel movements or there is blood in stool, seek medical assistance instead.


What causes Constipation?

Common Lifestyle

  • Eating foods low in fiber can make the stools become hard and difficult to pass.
  • Changes in diet or daily routine especially when travelling along with inactivity
  • Dehydration can worsen constipation, making the stool dry or like small lumps.
  • Lack of exercise
  • Often ignoring the urge to go to toilet due to too busy or doesn’t want to use the public toilet and as the feeling goes off , constipation occur
  • Stress as when a person stressed, he/she is more likely to have an unhealthy diet, not getting enough exercise/sleep or forget to stay hydrated.

Medications and Health Condition

  • Medicine like pain medications (mainly opioids), high calcium antacid and iron pills can cause constipation.
  • Lazy Bowel Syndrome which the colon contracts poorly and restrains stool. ( due to excessive usage of stimulant laxative)
  • Pregnancy

Treatment of Constipation

Lifestyle changes to treat constipation

Diet

  • Eat a well-balanced diet with whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies. Aim for at least least 3 servings of vegetables and at least 2 servings of fruit per day. A serve is a portion equivalent in size of your own fist.
  • Eat fewer high fat foods such as meat, eggs, cheese and processed foods.
  • Add fiber supplements to your diet if needed. But remember to drink plenty of water because water help fiber work more efficiently.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.
  • Avoid caffeine-containing drinks and alcohol, which can cause dehydration.

Habit

  • Don’t ignore the urge to pass motion. The longer you wait, the harder your stool can become.
  • Check how you sit on the toilet. Raising your feet, leaning back or squatting may make having a bowel movement easier.
  • Exercise regularly to prevent or treat constipation by lowering the time it takes for food to move through large intestine. Hence less water will be absorbed from the stool into body.
  • Do not read, use your phone or other devices while trying to move your bowels.

Supplements

Probiotics

Probiotics can play a key role in helping to relieve constipation, but it can be confusing trying to choose the correct and most effective one. Here we aim to help you get the most out of your friendly bacteria.
Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus species are the majority bacteria found in our large intestine, hence probiotics with specific strains belonging to these species are regarded as the most suitable in helping to relieve constipation.
Megalive Floramax Pro, Megalive Flora 60 Plus, Bio-life A.B Junior Pre&Probiotics, Hexbio etc are probiotics supplements containing those strains which can be found in the market. Generally, probiotic food and supplements are thought to be safe for most people including during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist, choosing the most suitable probiotics for you and your family, turning unhappy tummies to happy ones.

Over-the-counter Option

There are a number of options to help treat constipation despite to the lifestyle changes. They can be found over-the-counter without a prescription and come in many forms like pills, powders (to mix with water), enemas or suppositories. Talk with your pharmacist to help you choose wisely.

Bulk-Forming Laxative

Bulk-forming laxatives work by absorb liquid in the intestine. This creates a bulky, more liquid like stool which in turn stimulates your bowel.
Bulk-forming laxatives often use as first line of treatment before start using stimulant laxative.

Take note:

  • It takes up to 2 to 3 days to works.
  • Increased water intake when taking bulk forming agent or else may back up and block your bowel.
  • Some people may experience mild stomach pain, bloating or gas.

Examples of agents: Psyllium husk, Bran, Isphagula husk (Fybrogel)

Osmotic Laxative

Osmotic laxatives draw water from the rest of the body into your bowel to soften poo and make it easier to pass.

Take note:

  • It takes up to 1 to 2 days to works.
  • The most common side effects are stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating or gas.
  • Cautious in elderly and people with heart or kidney failure. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking it.

Examples of agents: Lactulose (Lactul), Macrogol (Forlax)

Stimulant Laxative

Stimulant laxatives trigger the intestine to contract and push out the stool.

Take note:

  • It takes up to 6 to 8 hours to works.
  • Do not use stimulant laxative for more than a week as overuse it may cause lazy intestine.
  • Do not use for pregnant mother as it can cause contraction of uterus.

Examples of agents: Bisacodyl (Dulcolax), Senna (Senokot)

Stool Softener

Stool softener are used on short term basis to relieve constipation for people who should avoid straining during bowel movements such as hemorrhoids, heart disease, after surgery and other conditions.
They works by letting water into stool to soften it and make it easier to pass.

Examples of agents: Docusate NA

Diabetes – What should I eat?

 

Living with diabetes does not have to mean feeling deprived. People can learn to balance meals and make healthy food choices while still including the foods they enjoy. Both sugary and starchy carbohydrates can raise blood sugar levels, but people can choose to include these foods in the right portions as part of a balanced meal plan.

1. Green leafy vegetable

Green leafy vegetables are packed full of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. They also have minimal impact on blood sugar levels. They are also low in digestible carbs, or carbs absorbed by the body, so they will not significantly affect blood sugar levels.

Leafy greens, including spinach and kale, are a key plant-based source of potassium, vitamin A, and calcium. They also provide protein and fiber.

Some researchers say that eating green leafy vegetables is helpful for people with diabetes due to their high antioxidant content and starch-digesting enzymes.

2. Whole Grains


Whole grains contain high levels of fiber and more nutrients than refined white grains. Eating a diet high in fiber is important for people with diabetes because fiber slows down the digestion process. Slower absorption of nutrients helps keep blood sugar levels stable.

Whole wheat and whole grains are lower on the glycemic index (GI) scale than white bread and rice. This means that they have less of an impact on blood sugar.

Good examples of whole grains to include in the diet are:

  • brown rice
  • whole-grain bread
  • whole-grain pasta
  • buckwheat
  • quinoa

People can swap white bread or white pasta for whole-grain options.

According to a recent study, it is shown that consuming 4 servings of whole grains per day can reduce the risk of developing pre-diabetes by up to 30%. Meanwhile, other research shows that if people consume whole grains daily, they also experience less inflammation, in return lowering the odds of developing insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

3. Fatty Fish


Some people consider fatty fish to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

Salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, and mackerel are great sources of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which have major benefits for heart health.

Getting enough of these fats on a regular basis is especially important for people with diabetes, who have an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

DHA and EPA protect the cells that line your blood vessels, reduce markers of inflammation, and may help improve the way your arteries function

Research indicates that people who eat fatty fish regularly have a lower risk for acute coronary syndromes, like heart attacks, and are less likely to die from heart disease

Studies show that eating fatty fish may also help regulate your blood sugar.

A study in 68 adults with overweight and obesity found that participants who consumed fatty fish had significant improvements in post-meal blood sugar levels, compared with participants who consumed lean fish.

Fish is also a great source of high-quality protein, which helps you feel full and helps stabilize blood sugar levels. For the vegetarian option, people can eat seaweed, such as kelp and spirulina, as plant-based alternative sources of these fatty acids.

4. Beans

Beans are cheap, nutritious, and super healthy.

Beans are a type of legume-rich in B vitamins, beneficial minerals (calcium, potassium, and magnesium), and fiber.

They also have a low glycemic index, which is important for managing diabetes.

Also, beans may help people manage their blood sugar levels. They are a complex carbohydrate, so the body digests them slower than it does other carbohydrates.

Eating beans can also help with weight loss and could help regulate a person’s blood pressure and cholesterol.

In a study involving more than 3,000 participants at high risk for cardiovascular disease, those who had a higher consumption of legumes had a 35 percent reduced chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

5. Nuts