Pre-diabetes and Diabetes

This will be a bit of a long post today as I’m combining information about 2 conditions. The first one is a possible step before the second one, but hopefully with the info provided here you can avoid one or both of them- EVEN if Diabetes runs in your family history. 

If you have been diagnosed as prediabetic, choosing the right foods can help stave off diabetes as long as possible or reverse your chances of developing it. When you are prediabetic, it is important to eat plenty of lean protein and low glycemic index vegetables and fruits. You’ll need to avoid high glycemic index foods, particularly starchy carbohydrates, which will elevate your blood sugar. (this is a good source for gylcemic index foods: http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm)

Protein

Your protein selections should be lean, organic and grass fed if at all possible, and you should choose white meat and fish more frequently than red meat. Avoid fatty cuts of meat, and preparation methods that involve adding extra fat. Prepare meat by roasting, broiling or grilling. Lentils and chickpeas are also good low fat sources of protein. Fish can help provide essential fatty acids. Eggs are inexpensive sources of protein and should be orgnaic and from free range chickens if at all possible, but if cholesterol or triglycerides are a concern, your doctor may recommend that you limit your intake to fewer eggs or egg whites only.

Vegetables

Choose healthy low glycemic index vegetables, including leafy greens, mushrooms, broccoli, onions, peppers and tomatoes. Avoid starchy vegetables like corn and white potatoes.

Fruits

Choose healthy low glycemic index fruits, including cherries, apples and blueberries. Avoid starchy fruits like bananas. Avoid fruit juices, choosing whole fruits instead.

Other Carbohydrates

Choose whole grains and whole grain products, like steel cut oatmeal and 100 percent whole wheat bread and limit your consumption. Avoid white bread and products made with white flour. Avoid products made from enriched flour. Avoid products that contain or are made with sugar. Choose products that are naturally sweet. Avoid artificial sweeteners.

Fats

Choose a limited amount of heart healthy fats, like olive oil and coconut oil. Avoid saturated fats and trans fats.

Dairy

Low fat and fat free dairy products, including skim milk and sugar-free yogurt are often full of sugar or artificial sweeteners to make up for the lack of fat, avoid these. Avoid full fat dairy products like premium ice cream or whole milk. Consider choosing dairy alternatives like Almond milk, or Rice milk. Avoid Soy unless it is Certified Organic (otherwise it will be GMO soy).

Supplements

If fish is not a regular part of your diet, talk with your doctor about supplements that contain essential fatty acids, chromium, biotin, magnesium and a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Some herbs, such as cinnamon, may help increase insulin sensitivity; talk to your doctor about whether these types of herbal supplements are appropriate for you. Make sure you are buying the best quality supplements from whole food sources otherwise you’re wasting your money as your body won’t be able to process them.

Other Considerations

Regular exercise is part of any healthy diet or eating plan, especially for prediabetics. Regular exercise may make your body’s cells more sensitive to the insulin your body produces, relieving the burden on an overworked pancreas.  Choose reasonable portion sizes and avoid skipping meals. Keeping blood sugar balanced with regular small meals (5-6 per day) is much more effective for avoiding insulin resistance and prediabetes and diabetes.

DIABETES:

New studies show that diabetics, in addition to coping with the effects of their disease, also have nearly double the risk of cancer compared to the rest of the population.

Although much of the mainstream media continues to focus on the latest Big Pharma proposed “magic bullet” drug to cure diabetes increasing evidence shows that the disease can be prevented, curbed, or even cured by choosing the right foods.

“Nature is the best chemist” states University of Rhode Island researcher Navindra Seeram whose team studied the health benefits of maple syrup. Their findings, presented at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, showed that the substance derived from the sap of maple trees can protect against both diabetes and cancer.

This natural sweetener offers abundant anti-oxidants. It also contains a newly identified substance called Quebecol, formed when the sap is boiled. This study is particularly interesting since the old-fashioned medical advice to diabetics was to steer clear of anything sweet.

Ayurvedic healers have long used natural herbs and spices to treat a variety of conditions, including diabetes. Two spices familiar to those who consume Indian food offer some protection against diabetes. The yellowy-orange powder turmeric, made from the rhizomes of a plant native to South Asia.

Research in the past decade has shown that turmeric not only aids against diabetes but also helps cleanse the liver; offers natural anti-inflammatory properties; protects against breast and prostate cancers; counteracts depression; and slows the advance of Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin is the key substance in turmeric which researchers identify as the source of its multitude of healing powers.

Another substance used to spice Indian food, fenugreek, also offers protection against diabetes. Fenugreek has the added benefit of boosting male sex drive, enhancing liver function, and helping to lower cholesterol.

A recent study involving the Yup’ik people of Alaska indicates that consuming the type of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acid can protect against diabetes. This study is particularly interesting because it suggests that the link between obesity and diabetes may be more complex than originally thought.

Although 70% of the Yup’ik population is classified as obese, only 3.3% of them have diabetes. Fish which contain omega-3 fatty acids include mackerel, salmon, lake trout, herring, tuna and salmon. (Be aware of the dangers of mercury in fish, especially tuna).

A 2006 Italian study found that dark chocolate reduces the risk of insulin resistance. Only with raw, unprocessed cocoa without any refined sugars added offers the protective benefits.

Researchers involved in the study suggest that in moderation, dark chocolate made with minimal processing are a healthier form of occasional indulgence than most other sweets. Cocoa powder and baking chocolate contain the highest levels of the flavonoids responsible for the positive health effects associated with chocolate. Dark chocolate provides fewer of these flavonoids while white chocolate has none.

The natural chemicals found in red grape skin and red wine known as polyphenols can help the body regulate glucose levels, preventing potentially dangerous plunges and surges in blood sugar levels. Health experts recommend that people consume wine in moderation and suggest that those already diagnosed with diabetes and/or those with weight concerns, take the calories in a glass of wine into account when considering whether or not to imbibe.

Consuming blueberries might help reduce your risk of diabetes, with the added benefit of helping you lose belly fat. A 2009 University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study found a blueberry-enriched diet significantly improved the health of laboratory rats.

Researchers believe that the high level of phytochemicals – naturally occurring antioxidants — in blueberries provides the health boost. Other sources of phytochemicals include cranberries and strawberries.

Due to the influence of food advertising, many people have bought into the idea that a healthy diet offers less taste or pleasure than consuming foods high in fat, salt and refined sugar. The truth is that a diabetes-prevention diet can literally be a bowl of cherries.  A 2004 study at Michigan State University in East Lansing found that chemicals called anthocyanins, which are abundant in cherries, increased insulin production in animal pancreatic cells by 50%. These plant pigments, responsible for food color, are also found in strawberries, red grapes and blueberries. However researchers say cherries provide the best source of anthocyanins.

Beans can help regulate blood glucose and insulin levels. They can help prevent diabetes, or minimize its effects in those diagnosed with the disease. They also help lower cholesterol levels and offer anti-oxidant properties. Red beans offer the highest anti-oxidant levels, followed by black beans.

Coconut oil has a unique molecular structure which makes it a superior health choice compared to most other oils. Olive, safflower and sunflower oil are all built from a long chain of fatty acids. These long chains are either deposited in blood vessels as cholesterol or stored as fat around the waist, thighs and buttocks. On the other hand, the coconut oil’s medium chain fatty acids immediately become available as energy. These smaller, easily absorbed medium chain molecules supply the cells with essential fatty acids without glucose and without inhibiting insulin production.

Coconut oil also has antimicrobial, antifungal, antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Most coconut oils do not impart a coconut flavor to food, so you can use them to replace other oils in most recipes. Try to buy only organic virgin coconut oil in order to obtain the maximum health benefits.

Almonds and walnuts prevent diabetes by regulating blood glucose. Eating almonds before a meal helps regulate blood sugar levels, say researchers who published their study in The Journal of Nutrition. This effect means the nuts help lower the risk of diabetes, as well as help control the disorder.

A 2009 European study found diabetics who included walnuts in their diet had improved their insulin levels. In addition to fighting diabetes, nuts deliver other health benefits. According to an article in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, regular consumption of nuts alters blood lipid chemistry, reducing the risk of coronary disease and heart attacks.

Buckwheat — which is technically a fruit rather than a grain — helps control blood sugar levels. Although holistic nutritionists have extolled the virtues of buckwheat for years, mainstream medical science — and the mainstream media — caught on to its benefits fairly recently. A 2003 Canadian study found that when extracts of buckwheat seed were fed to diabetic rats, the animals’ glucose levels went down by twelve to nineteen percent. You can find buckwheat products, including pancake mixes and Japanese soba noodles, at most health food stores.

You might think of cinnamon simply as a flavoring to sprinkle on a bowl of hot oatmeal, but this spice actually has a centuries-old tradition of healing. In addition to providing antioxidants and aiding against arthritis, urinary tract infections, sinus congestion, tooth decay and gum disease, the powdered bark of Cinnamomum trees is also effective against diabetes. It improves blood sugar regulation by significantly increasing your glucose metabolism. In addition, it has insulin-like effects in the body. Plus, proanthocyanidin, a bioflavonoid found in cinnamon, changes the insulin-signaling activity of your fat cells.

Green tea lowers blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics, reduces complications associated with diabetes such as cataracts and cardiovascular disease and promotes weight loss.

If you prefer black tea, your beverage choice can still help fight against diabetes. Researchers in China have found that polysaccharides, a type of carbohydrate that includes starch and cellulose, may benefit people with diabetes by slowing glucose absorption. Black tea contains more polysaccharides than either green or oolong teas. Additionally, a Scottish study found that natural chemicals found in black tea may protect against diabetes by mimicking the effects of insulin in the body.

If you have developed a taste for seaweed though visiting Asian restaurants, congratulations: you have one more ally in your crusade to lose weight and avoid diabetes. Wakame, brown seaweed used to flavor Asian soups and salads, helps promote fat-burning proteins. It also helps promote the synthesis in the liver of DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), a fatty acid also found in fish oil. In addition to its weight loss and anti-diabetes effects, this ocean plant also helps prevent prostate cancer, supports thyroid function, assists in blocking the growth of breast cancer tumors and can help fight radiation sickness. Researchers attribute wakame’s healing properties to a carotenoid it contains called fucoxanthin.

So there you have it, a lot of information I know, but much more natural and healthy ways of preventing or controlling diabetes (type 2), but please remember in NO way am I suggesting or recommending that you stop or change any medication you may be taking if you are diabetic!! Please consult with your primary care physician in regards to any changes with your medications. (or any medication you may be taking for any reason)

 

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