For diabetic patients, knowing what is safe to eat and what they can’t touch is a constant battle and a constant chore. Checking everything before you consume is highly important to make sure that you do this in order to maintain a healthy blood sugar level and prevent yourself from damaging your internal organs and nerves any more than necessary.
Unfortunately this sometimes means that we can’t eat things that would otherwise be highly healthy and this may include stinging nettles which are used for many perceived benefits (though the evidence for these effects is not always forthcoming). Stinging nettle can be consumed in order to help with urinary tract infections, inflammation, kidney stones, allergies, hay fever, osteoarthritis, internal bleeding, uterine bleeding, nosebleeds, anemia, poor circulation, an enlarged spleen and more.
Stinging Nettles and Diabetes
Interestingly the studies on the use of stinging nettles for diabetes are actually currently inconclusive and in fact are contradictory in many cases. Some studies suggest for instance that the consumption of stinging nettles might increase blood sugar level and this would mean that it could be dangerous. As anyone suffering with diabetes is no doubt aware, the condition causes insulin to stop being produced or to stop functioning as effectively and this then results in more sugar free in the blood (insulin is used by the body in order to convert the sugar into energy). This extra sugar then results in damage to the internal organs and nerves over time which can result in tingling sensations, lack of vision and potentially diabetic shock. By elevating your blood sugar level with stinging nettles then you can worsen symptoms and this of course is something that is best avoided.
That said, other studies have suggested that stinging nettles could in fact decrease blood sugar and this would then make it useful for diabetics. In fact some studies warn against the potential dangers of using stinging nettles alongside other diabetic medicine in case it causes too sudden a drop in blood sugar which could also be very bad.
Using Stinging Nettles as a Diabetic Patient
The uncertain nature of stinging nettles makes it hard to recommend their use as you cannot easily defend against the effects. However if you are determined to use stinging nettles then the simple advice is to make sure to monitor your blood sugar levels closely using a blood sugar level monitor while you use them. Once you have established a pattern for how they affect you then you can integrate them into your diet – and if they lower blood sugar you might even find that they are very useful.
Bear in mind too though that not all extracts of stinging nettles have been shown to effect blood sugar – it’s just the above ground parts. It should meanwhile then be safe to use root extracts which also have many benefits. For instance it can be used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia and some extracts are used by bodybuilders as a testosterone booster.
Whatever you decide to do, be cautious, inform your doctor and closely monitor your blood sugar levels. A scientific approach should mean you stay safe and get the most from the nettle.
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