by Rae Patterson
Managing your diabetes with natural remedies is easier than you think! The most important factors in the health of a diabetic person are, just as for anyone else, a generally healthy diet and regular exercise. If you’re looking for extra (and natural) ways you can improve your diabetes condition, a great place to start is these two areas.
“Most of physical activity’s benefits on blood glucose are the result of acute and
long-term improvements in insulin action, accomplished with both aerobic exercise and resistance training.” In the same way, making adjustments to your every day diet can make a world of difference. “Practitioners agree that nutrition is the cornerstone of diabetes management, and that a range of nutrition intervention strategies can be used to meet the metabolic goals and individual preferences of the person with diabetes.”
Switching out meats for beans and grains as your protein is a powerful step you can take. Less than 1% of Americans consume the recommended intake of whole grains or beans.
“Research has demonstrated that consumption of wholegrains improves diet quality and is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.”
Beans and grains together provide all the essential amino acids and make for a perfect whole protein.
Here are a few suggestions for tasty dishes including both beans and whole
- Red beans and rice
- Black bean soup with whole grain rolls
- Corn chips and bean dip
- Quinoa and black bean casserole (Quinoa chips are amazing too, if you haven’t
- had them!)
- Rice salad with white beans
- Mexican Freekeh Chili with Beans
- Edamame and brown rice
Further nutritional support may be important for you because diabetes is a nutritionally wasting disease. Elevated glucose levels … cause substantial loss of nutrients in the urine. Therefore, people with type 2 diabetes are likely to be deficient in important water-soluble vitamins and minerals.” Try adding a daily multivitamin to your breakfast routine and see if you can feel the difference.
In addition many common herbs and spices are claimed to have blood sugarlowering properties. Plant-based therapies such as these are commonly used in
India and China:
CAUTION: “Certain herbs, vitamins and supplements may interact with diabetes medications (including insulin) and increase their hypoglycemic effects, … so, you must always discuss your plans with your doctor and diabetes healthcare team first to ensure they are safe for your condition and determine a suitable dose.” Just because a product is natural does not mean it is safe to use.
- Aloe Vera
- Bilberry extract
- Bitter melon
Aloe Vera is a succulent plant, and its leaves’ clear gel is widely used in lotions and dental care. Aloe water for rinsing and/or drinking can be found at most local health food stores, such as Family Health Market. Aloe has been linked with:
Decreased blood lipids (fats) in patients with abnormally high levels of
these molecules in the blood (e.g. some people with type 2 diabetes)
Decreased swelling and faster healing of wound injuries. Leg wounds and
ulcers are common complications of diabetes, and they typically take
longer time to heal than in healthy non-diabetic individuals.
These positive effects are thought to be due to the presence of compounds such as lectins, mannans and anthraquinones. Bilberry extract are a dark blue fruit, similar in appearance to blueberries but are smaller, softer and darker. They can be taken in supplement form, often as tablets or capsules. Bilberries can be eaten, in fresh or dried forms, or drank as bilberry tea or as a smoothie. Research studies indicate that a compound in bilberries, anthocyanosides:
Appear to promote blood vessel strength which could have protective
properties against forms of retinal damage in people with diabetes.
Improve circulation and prevent cell damage. These substances either
work individually or together to help reduce blood sugar levels.
Bitter Melon. It is the edible part of the plant Momordica Charantia. It can be used in the form of a decoction by boiling pieces of the melon in water. Alternatively,bitter melon extract can be bought as a herbal supplement. Bitter Melon:
Contains a lectin that reduces blood glucose concentrations by acting on
peripheral tissues and suppressing appetite - similar to the effects of
insulin in the brain
Results from a clinical study published in the Diabetes Care journal in 2003 suggest that cassia cinnamon (cinnamon bark) improves blood glucose and cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes ... A daily intake of just 1 - 6 grams was shown to reduce serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL or bad cholesterol after 40 days among 60 middle-aged diabetics.” Click here to find links to more studies on the positive affects of cinnamon.
While you must never take your medical care fully into your own hands, some ofthese natural, home treatments may help manage your condition. Each person’s body and diabetes is unique. Something new may work for you!