Diabetes affects almost four million people in the UK, and 90 per cent of all cases are caused by type 2 diabetes.
The condition is caused by the pancreas not producing enough of the hormone insulin, or the body not reacting to insulin.
Making some small diet or lifestyle changes could help patients to maintain a normal blood sugar.
Diabetics should consider taking bitter melon supplements to reduce their symptoms, it’s been claimed.
Bitter melon supplements could help to reduce blood sugar in diabetes patients, said The Diabetes Council.
The plant, which looks a bit like a “warty cucumber”, has been used in a number of traditional diabetes medicines for a number of years.
It works by lowering blood sugar and lowering blood triglyceride levels, it said.
The supplements appear to be safe in clinical studies, and are a very promising herbal treatment for diabetes patients.
“Bitter melon is also known as karela, bitter gourd, balsam apple, African cucumber and ampalaya,” said The Diabetes Council.
“Analysis of bitter melon indicates that it is very high in antioxidants, a protein that seems to be active against tumour cells, enzymes and fatty acids.
“It also contains charantin, which appears to be responsible for its effects on blood sugar, vicine and a substance which appears to mimic insulin.
“At this point, the evidence is limited, but very promising because bitter melon appears to be safe in clinical studies and because of the long-term history of bitter melon as a food—and as a traditional medicine for diabetes.
“You can include bitter melon as a food, juice or in a smoothie. As a food, it can be lightly fried, boiled, steamed or roasted.”
But, there have only been a few human studies analysing bitter melon’s effect on diabetes, so there’s still plenty more evidence to uncover, it added.
If you decide to take bitter melon, you should know it may interact with your diabetes medication, the council warned.
Many people have diabetes without even realising it, because the symptoms may not necessarily make you feel unwell.
Common diabetes symptoms include feeling very thirsty, blurred vision, and passing more urine than normal – particularly at night.
Those most at risk are people over 40 years old, are overweight, or have a close relative with diabetes.
The earlier diabetes is diagnosed, the earlier treatment can be started.
Controlling blood sugar is crucial for diabetes patients, as they’re more likely to develop some life-threatening conditions, including heart disease and strokes.