(Health Secrets) The medical establishment would like us to believe that diabetes singles us out for no apparent reason, and cannot be reversed. The only way to treat skyrocketing blood sugar levels according to them is with insulin from the drugstore. But insulin can actually increase your rate of heart attack and death. Recently special compounds have been found to reverse the slide into diabetes, and you won’t find them at the pharmacy — they’re in your neighborhood grocery store. This is good news, because half of the 24 million people with diabetes don’t know they have it, and most of the 60 million people who are on the road to diabetes don’t even know it. If you are one of them, add these to your diet on a regular basis and never be the wiser.
Herbs, spices and foods that reverse the slide into diabetes
A report from Walter Willett M.D. and his colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health demonstrated that 81 percent of all Type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented through improvements in lifestyle and diet. Where to start? Right here:
Apples – Remember the old saying An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Apples normalize cholesterol levels, and reduce risk of stroke, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. A recent study showed that regular apple eaters had a significantly reduced risk of diabetes compared to those who didn’t eat apples. The determining factor was the high amount of antioxidant anthocyanins found in apples. Another study showed that apple eaters had a decreased likelihood of having metabolic syndrome when compared to those who didn’t eat apples. Metabolic syndrome (a precursor to a diagnosis of diabetes) was defined as having three or more of the associated symptoms related to cardiovascular risk, including elevated blood pressure, increased waist size, and elevated C-reactive protein levels.
Berries – These tiny powerhouses of nutrition protect the body against the effects of free radicals, which can damage cell membranes and DNA, resulting in diabetes and the other chronic diseases associated with the aging process. Along with antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and bilberries contain anthocyanins and phenolics that also have tremendous antioxidant properties. The oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of berries is among the highest found in the fruit and vegetable kingdom.
Studies have shown that less insulin is needed when berries are eaten as part of a meal. A study from Finland was particularly interesting because it studied the affects of eating berries with white bread, often a favorite of those who tend to be diabetic. Researchers found that the participants who ate white bread accompanied by berries needed less insulin to maintain normal glucose levels than those eating white bread alone. Strawberries, bilberries, and chokeberries were effective, as was a mixture of equal amounts of strawberries, bilberries, cranberries, and blackcurrants.
Salmon and other fatty fish – This is a double play because salmon and other fatty cold water fish provide both omega-3 fatty acids and iodine. Each is essential for fighting diabetes. Research has shown that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids can decrease insulin resistance, a condition in which the body needs extra insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Along with abnormal insulin secretion, it is a hallmark for diabetes. Iodine is a key element in stopping diabetes, as it is an essential component of thyroid hormone, which in turn strengthens liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and spleen. While many know that diet, obesity, food allergies, viral infection and stress all contribute to diabetes, it is less widely known that these factors are often brought about by weakened organs.
Cinnamon – Three key proteins are highly important in insulin signaling, glucose transport, and inflammatory response, according to Richard Anderson, a researcher with the USDA. Cinnamon has insulin-like qualities that come from the release of these proteins. His and other studies have shown that just 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon a day can help lower the constellation of factors associated with metabolic syndrome — high blood cholesterol, triglyceride and glucose levels — by as much as 30 percent. Still another study has shown that cinnamon prevents insulin resistance even when high fructose corn syrup is a part of the diet.
Ginger – Here’s another one from the spice rack that substantially lowers fasting glucose levels. In fact, adding ginger to your diet may improve eight markers of diabetes including: glycated hemoglobin (a measure of damage caused by chronically elevated sugar), insulin, insulin resistance, triglycerides, total cholesterol, C-reactive protein and prostaglandin E2 (markers for inflammation). In other research 88 participants living with diabetes for at least 10 years were given either 3 daily one-gram capsules of ginger powder or 3 placebos in addition to their regular diabetes drugs. Those who took the ginger capsules saw a significant decrease in blood sugar after 8 weeks, while the others did not.
Apple cider vinegar – This has been a folk remedy for many illnesses, but there’s plenty of solid research behind it. Arizona State University found that two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before meals can cut sugar levels in prediabetics by 50 percent, and in those already diagnosed by 25 percent. In another study, researchers found that drinking apple cider vinegar after eating a high-carb breakfast lowered blood sugar levels by 34 percent in those with prediabetes, and by 19 percent in those already diagnosed. The lead researcher suggested that apple cider vinegar appears to have effects similar to some of the most popular medications for diabetes.
Berberine – This compound is a tradition in Chinese medicine and a dietary supplement that can lowered elevated blood glucose as effectively as the most popular diabetes drug. This means it can replace conventional medicine’s drugs, in part or in full, thereby reducing toxicity and side effects. A new study suggests berberine may overcome insulin resistance by modulating key molecules in the insulin signaling pathway, leading to increased glucose uptake in insulin resistant cells. Berberine is found in the roots of many medicinal plants, including goldenseal, bayberry and Oregan grape. It is a critical component of Tianqi,a collection of Chinese herbs known to lower blood glucose levels after meals. Berberine is commonly available as a supplement.
Chocolate – Have you decided to start adding these to your diet on a regular basis? If so, we have a surprise. Italian researchers, have found that the flavonoids in dark chocolate help counteract insulin insensitivity, the condition that prevents diabetics from using insulin effectively. Eating chocolate also reduces the risk of hypoglycemia, a condition that develops following an insulin spike. Eating 100 grams of dark chocolate a day can accelerate the body’s metabolism of glucose.
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Photo by Martin Cathrae