How mindfulness can lower the risk of diabetes

A study has just been published in the journal Obesity which suggests that the art of mindfulness could help reduce blood sugar levels.

Mindfulness can help menopause symptoms

This research has been warmly welcomed by Miss Tania Adib, consultant gynaecologist and a menopause expert. The menopause is a time when many women find their weight levels creep up.

Miss Adib, who teaches women mindful techniques alongside more conventional therapies to help reduce menopause symptoms says she's not surprised at the findings, as she has observed a positive effect on her patients' wellbeing after introducing mindfulness alongside more conventional therapies.

Miss Adib comments: "Of course, exercising and a good diet will make stress less acutely felt - and this will have a positive effect on your health.

"Simply focusing on your breathing for five minutes can have a positive effect on how you feel. Just slow down and be present in yourself. Mindfulness, yoga, breathing all help give a sense of objectivity so physical symptoms, like hot flushes, aren't so keenly felt."

Mindfulness decreases stress

In the Obesity study, 86 women randomly assigned to 8 weeks of mindfulness-based stress reduction or health education

The mindfulness group reported increased mindfulness and decreased stress compared with health education.

It also appeared it had a positive effect on their health, as their fasting blood sugar levels decreased.

The women who had the health education did not report these benefits.

Blood sugar levels lowered

After this they were tracked for four months. While the mindful group significantly reduced stress and tests revealed beneficial effects on blood sugar levels, there were no significant changes in blood pressure, weight, or insulin resistance.

Dr.Nazia Raja-Khan reported: "Our study suggests that mindfulness-based stress reduction lowers perceived stress and blood sugar in women with overweight or obesity. This research has wider implications regarding the potential role of MBSR in the prevention and treatment of diabetes in patients with obesity."

Harness the power of mindfulness

So, what are the practical ways we can harness mindfulness into our lives?

  • Make sure your day begins mindfully. Set an intention to be mindful as you wake each morning. Check into your body, how does it feel? Are there any aches? Observe them. Do not judge them or attach emotion, but notice them and move on.
  • When you're preparing a meal and eating, put your full attention on to each task. From measuring out the ingredients, to cooking, to putting each forkful of food in your mouth. What does the texture feel like? The taste: focus on it. Can you distinguish each individual flavour.
  • Out walking? Take a deep breath, and simply place one foot in front of the other, but open your eyes and view the world. Feel the breeze on your cheek, the sensation of your foot planting its self on the pavement one step at a time.
  • Do worries invade your thoughts? Don't try and stop them, or fret about them. …Each time you become aware of an anxiety-provoking thought, or a feeling, turning your attention towards it, acknowledge it, give it a label and simply accept it.
Has a sudden onset. Full medical glossary
A fluid that transports oxygen and other substances through the body, made up of blood cells suspended in a liquid. Full medical glossary
The pressure of blood within the arteries. Full medical glossary
A disorder caused by insufficient or absent production of the hormone insulin by the pancreas, or because the tissues are resistant to the effects. Full medical glossary
A viral infection affecting the respiratory system. Full medical glossary
A hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas that acts to lower blood glucose levels. Full medical glossary

The time of a woman’s life when her ovaries stop releasing an egg (ovum) on a monthly cycle, and her periods cease

Full medical glossary
Excess accumulation of fat in the body. Full medical glossary
The ability of a microbe, such as a type of bacteria, to resist the effects of antibiotics or other drugs. Full medical glossary
Relating to injury or concern. Full medical glossary