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7 Things to educate yourself on during Diabetes Month

Diabetes month

Diabetes is a serious health concern globally and it often goes underestimated despite its life-threatening implications if not properly managed. In fact, according to the Mediclinic Infohub, approximately 7% of the South African population aged between 21 and 79 (about 3.85 million people) is living with diabetes. This includes individuals we know, like grandparents, close friends or even ourselves, with the additional concern that many cases may go undiagnosed.

In the spirit of Diabetes Month, it’s crucial to educate ourselves about this condition.

What is diabetes?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease characterised by elevated blood glucose levels, leading to serious damage to vital organs over time. The most common type is type 2 diabetes, which typically occurs in adults. It is characterised by insulin resistance or insufficient insulin production.

Can you diagnose and treat diabetes on your own?


Diabetes requires professional medical diagnosis and treatment. While there is no cure, proper management can lead to diabetes remission.

What are the main interventions for treating diabetes?

Individualised treatment plans are necessary and should be determined by a healthcare professional.

What lifestyle changes are needed to help manage diabetes?

In addition to medical guidance and regular blood sugar monitoring, maintaining a balanced diet rich in fiber from whole grains, vegetables and mushrooms is crucial. Regular exercise is also essential.

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How can mushrooms help with blood sugar?

Mushrooms, particularly those rich in beta-glucans – a form of soluble fiber – have proven to assist in regulating blood sugar, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Various mushroom varietals, including Agaricus bisporus commonly found in South African supermarkets, contribute to lowering blood glucose levels.

Do mushrooms have specific anti-diabetes properties?

Preliminary research suggests that the polysaccharides in mushrooms may lower blood sugar. Additionally, mushrooms have a low glycemic load and are nutrient-rich, providing potential benefits beyond glucose control.

Mushrooms and diabetes

How do you include mushrooms in your diet?

Despite being fungi, mushrooms are often considered vegetables in cooking. Adding mushrooms to recipes enhances flavour without excess sodium or fat. They are versatile and can be sautéed, stewed, stuffed or included in various dishes throughout the day.

Understanding the role of mushrooms in diabetes management highlights the potential for incorporating these nutritious fungi into a balanced and flavourful diet. Find some delicious diabetic-friendly recipes incorporating mushrooms here.

Image credits: SAMFA and 

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