May 4, 2020

Keeping diabetes at bay

Healthy mind and body

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is rich in antioxidants, as we have seen in previous articles, thanks to its content in polyphenols, Vitamin E, chlorophyll and carotenoids. All these nutrients boost the immune system. EVOO also contains monounsaturated fats, which can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.


What is canine diabetes?

Canine diabetes is a fairly common endocrine disease in dogs, characterised by increased blood glucose levels. In most cases, it’s a permanent state, i.e. a chronic disease. However, in some specific cases it may be a passing phenomenon that you can stop if the vet finds the cause in time.

Whichever the case, diabetes in dogs triggers an important metabolic disorder that makes veterinary monitoring essential and involves a lot of effort on your part.

Insulin is the hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood and allows it to enter the cells so that it can be used by the body to get energy.

The most frequent canine diabetes is the so-called Type 1 or “insulin-dependent”, in which the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin. This makes it essential to administer insulin to the dog.

We can also find the less frequent Type 2 diabetes, in which insulin production is insufficient or the body is unable to use it. This particular type is caused by obesity, being more common in humans and cats than in dogs. If a dog or cat is considered to be 10-15% overweight, it is clinically overweight and at risk of obesity. And as vets will always warn, obesity can cause numerous illnesses.


First signs of diabetes

You should know about the first signs that couldraise suspicions. If you have the slightest doubt, don’t think twice and call your vet.

  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss


How to help with diet

Diet is a key factor in controlling all types of diabetes. It should be a balanced diet with plenty of high quality proteins. What’s more, olive oil helps control glucose levels in diabetic patients.

Numerous studies have found that eating diets high in monounsaturated fats, such as the Mediterranean diet, improves insulin sensitivity and reduces inflammation harmful to blood vessels. In fact, in humans and laboratory animals it has been shown that supplementing the diet with virgin olive oil improves the ability to prevent heart attacks or strokes associated with diabetes. This is probably due to a selective effect of the Omega-3 fatty acids included in its composition.

What’s more, monounsaturated fats break fat down into fat cells, so extra virgin olive oil can help with weight loss.

Two cases are possible:

  • If your four-legged friend is obese, you’ll need to provide a high fibre diet and ensure moderate levels of exercise. This will decrease the absorption of intestinal glucose, foster weight loss and help control blood glucose.
  • If your pet is underweight, you’ll need to provide a very palatable diet that is easy to digest, with some added energy to help the dog reach its ideal weight.

Whichever the case, a lifestyle based on the Mediterranean diet not only provides a balanced diet free of ultra-processed and additive-laden foods, but also includes daily exercise and the socialisation of both the owner and their dog, with all the benefits that this entails.

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