The 2017 National Diabetes Statistics Report states that more than 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. That’s equivalent to almost 10% of U.S. population! Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of mortality rate in the U.S. alone, with over 250,000 deaths in 2015.
We’ve got some good news for you. Did you know that it is possible to prevent or reverse diabetes so that you can lead a more normal life? Whether you are prediabetic or currently grappling with it, you now have the option to take steps to reverse diabetes and its epidemic. Here’s how:
- Holistic Long-Term Approach
One of the main reasons for an increased incidence of acquiring diabetes is an inactive lifestyle. A holistic, long-term approach combined with a modified diet and physical activity could help prevent or reverse this condition. In fact, a study found that test subjects who acquired type II diabetes underwent intensive lifestyle-based weight loss intervention or ILI had the higher chance of making partial diabetes remission as compared to test subjects who just got diabetes education thrice a year. The individuals who underwent ILI programs made the following changes:
- Increased physical activity
- Reduced total fat intake in general
- Cut the calorie intake for up to 1800 kcal per day
- Glucose Control Diet
Finding a suitable diet is the key to a better glucose control in persons with diabetes and prediabetes. To avoid blood sugar level fluctuations, keep lipid levels in the right condition and to lose weight, you can try to follow these dietary approaches:
- A Kapha-Balancing Ayurvedic Diet
Studies showed that the Ayurvedic principle helps improve the major symptoms of diabetes. People who use this approach has shown an incredible result in their diet and lifestyle modification. Examples of foods that contain Kapha-balancing Ayurvedic diet includes barley, bitter gourd, green gram, pointed gourd and cooked vegetables. Aside from these foods, you can also try to incorporate the following into your daily diet:
- Bitter melon
- Hot ginger tea
- Foods rich in protein
- Millet, corn or rye
- Diabetes Superfoods
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests foods that help for a better glycemic control. These superfoods include the following:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Fatty fish
- Sweet potatoes
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Low Fat Vegan Diet
Did you know that cardiovascular problems are one of the leading causes of mortality among people with diabetes? Studies show that a low-fat vegan diet is beneficial to those who have cardiovascular problems as well as those who have higher lipid and glycemic control. To go for a low-vegan diet, here are simple rules to follow:
- Cut any form of poultry, meat, fish, and dairy
- Consume protein from plant-based and non-dairy sources such as nuts, beans, tofu, and seeds
- Avoid refined carbohydrates and those that can raise triglyceride levels like foods rich in white flour or even processed foods
- Fiber-rich foods and low-glycemic index foods such as legumes, fresh vegetables, fruits, and beans. These can also help improved lipid control.
- Homeopathic Remedies
Homeopathic medicine is the use of small amounts of natural substances like minerals and plants to help stimulate the healing process of the body. This type of remedy is especially recommended for people who have type II diabetes and is also found to be very useful for treating particular problems a diabetic person has to deal with. Here are some of the specific problems and its homeopathic remedy:
- Plumbum (lead) – helps lessen numbness and hypersensitivity
- Calendula (marigold) – for infected ulcers. Can be applied as a lotion or taken internally
- Hemlock or conium – helps lessen numbness due to nerve damage
- Sulfur, lycopodium or muriaticum (salt) – helps improve renal function and any severe kidney damage
Have you already implemented lifestyle or food modifications to reverse diabetes? Share your story with us. Write your comments below.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes has 3 main types: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational diabetes.
- Type 1 diabetes – persons who have type 1 diabetes means their body does not make insulin. Insulin is needed every day for a person to live. You need insulin to take the glucose or sugar from the foods you eat. This sugar will later turn into energy which your body needs for day to day work.
- Type 2 diabetes – this is the most common type of diabetes. People who have type 2 diabetes means their body does not make or use enough insulin to support their body. People who acquire this type of diabetes take pills or insulin to control their diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes – Pregnant women usually get this type of diabetes. Diabetes may go away after the baby is born. However, they may have greater chances of acquiring diabetes later in their lives even if it goes away after giving birth.
Managing diabetes requires total awareness. It’s important to know what makes your blood sugar fall and rise and learn how to control several factors that affect your diabetes. Here are some of the actions you can take to manage your diabetes.
- Be active
One of the most important parts of diabetes management plan is physical activity. Regular physical activities help the body use insulin more efficiently. Exercising uses muscles to release glucose for energy. Insulin and physical activities work together to help lower the blood sugar level. Light activities at home such as gardening and household chores help improve blood sugar. Here are the steps to better manage your diabetes through exercise:
- Talk to your doctor about your exercise plan
- Stick to your exercise schedule
- Check your blood sugar levels before exercising
- Always stay hydrated
- Adjust your diabetes treatment plan if needed
- Eat Well
- Choose foods that are low in saturated fats, calories, trans fat, salt, and sugar.
- Foods rich in fiber such as pieces of bread, cereals, rice, pasta, or whole grain are also proven to help.
- Drink water instead of soda or juice.
- Know what to do every day
- Always take your medications even when you feel good.
- Ask your doctor if you need to take aspirin to prevent stroke or heart attack.
- Always check your feet if there are red spots, blisters, cuts or welling. If there is, call your healthcare team immediately.
- Keep your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy by brushing and flossing at least twice every day.
- Stop or better yet, do not smoke.
- Always check your blood sugar level. Check it at least twice each day.
Coping with Diabetes
Stress is one main factor that can raise your blood sugar. To lower stress, try some simple and effective activities such as gardening, deep breathing, meditating, taking a walk, listening to your favorite song or working on your own hobby.
If in case you’re feeling down, it is never wrong to seek professional help. You may ask advice from mental health counselor, a close friend or a family member who will always listen to you to help make you feel better.
Managing Diabetes is quite a challenge especially when holidays and special occasions such as Thanksgiving comes. With all the palatable and delicious foods that have the ability to tempt you and ruin your usual diabetic diet, it isn’t easy to say no when they are just everywhere. People with Diabetes believe that they cannot eat the foods that they want during this occasion. This is not true. You can still indulge, but there are things that you need to remember in order to enjoy the holiday and keep your blood sugar level at bay all at the same time.
Don’t skip meals before going to a Thanksgiving feast.
Skipping meals to save up for a Thanksgiving lunch or dinner will make it harder for you to resist the temptation of eating more and more. This may result to overindulging and overeating.
Opt for healthier foods and cut back on carbs.
It isn’t easy to stick to your meal plan when foods are all around the corner, waiting to be devoured. You can manage this by opting for healthier meals instead of giving in to heavy foods that ae loaded with carbs. Start with vegetables or fruits to prevent your appetite from stimulating.
Practice portion control when eating your favorite foods.
You can expect a variety of foods around the table during a holiday but remember that it is good to just stick to your favorite foods and indulge in small servings. For example, if your favorite food Spaghetti is served, choose it instead of including pecan pie, cranberry, mashed potatoes, and several other foods on your plate.
Keep your focus on your family and friends.
Thanksgiving is a time to reunite and bond with your family and friends. Remember that this occasion is not entirely just about foods, so it is important to keep yourself focused mainly on your loved ones. Have fun, play games with them, and spend time talking about things with them. This will give your mind an opportunity to stay pre-occupied away from eating.
Go back to your dietary plan when you accidentally overindulge.
Mistakes happen especially when you just can’t resist the foods that are being served. When this instance happens, forgive yourself and give yourself a chance to start all over again. Don’t let overeating cause you to get discouraged and just let a new unhealthy diet take place. Get back to your usual dietary plan and start motivating yourself to maintain it.
Limit your alcohol intake.
While there are lots of foods during Thanksgiving, there are also plenty of wines and beers that are difficult to say no to. You can actually drink during this occasion. Just make sure that you are not exceeding the limit. Keep your alcohol amount in check. Do not drink while your stomach is empty. Alcohol is known to interact Diabetes medications so it’s better to keep it at a minimum.
Keep an active lifestyle.
Holidays should never be a reason for you to forget your exercise routine. Thanksgiving is the time of the year where you should remain active because of the extra calories that you consume. Spend time with your family walking after the dinner. This way, you can shed off those unnecessary calories, make up for your eating, and get to control your blood sugar level, too. After Thanksgiving, spend more time walking in order to get back to your usual active lifestyle.
Get Yourself Enough Sleep
Thanksgiving and any other occasions tend to keep you awake most of the time because of the activities that you take part to. Remember that not sleeping enough makes it harder to control your blood sugar level. It also makes you crave more foods that are high in carbs and fats, so be sure to get yourself enough sleep—at least eight hours per night, once Thanksgiving is over.
Monitor your blood glucose levels
It is important to keep track on your blood glucose level in order to help you understand how the foods you consume affect your sugar level. This will also help you get back to your healthy lifestyle and encourage you to maintain it.
Living with diabetes can turn a task as simple as grocery shopping into an overwhelming event. As a diabetic, eating healthy, balanced meals is key to controlling blood sugar levels, but with so many choices available it may be confusing at times to know which items can be added to your shopping cart.
One thing is for sure, you should definitely stray away from a western diet. Also known as the meat-sweet diet, the western diet has been strongly associated with the emergence of the diabetes epidemic. Diabetes has shown an upward trend as cultures continue to stray away from their native diet and become dependent on the convenience of processed foods.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), each year diabetes kills more Americans than AIDS and breast cancer combined. Despite such discouraging statistics, diabetes does not need to be a death sentence. By incorporating these 8 diabetes-friendly foods into your diet you can drastically reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications.
The ADA recommends including fiber-rich fruit like apples into a diabetes meal plan. Like any other fruit, apples should be eaten in moderation since their carbohydrate content is converted into glucose upon digestion. As a diabetic your body either does not produce enough insulin or your cells have become resistant to insulin.
An apple similar in size to a tennis ball or half of one large apple contains a sugar content of 15 grams. With this number in mind, you can decide the best time to add the apple to your mealtime so you stay within your daily carbohydrate target. Apples are high in fiber, low in calories, and contain phytonutrients that can help regulate blood sugar.
Beans, which are usually associated with their flatulence inducing properties, are a diabetic’s superfood. One cup of black beans contains 15 grams of fiber, which is more than half the recommended daily amount. As beans are digested, their complex carbohydrates and protein content are slowly broken, preventing blood sugar spikes.
Black beans also protect against heart disease with their molybdenum and folate content, while the flavonoids responsible for the deep, dark color repair damaged cells. Aim to add beans to your menu at least twice a week. When possible use dried beans instead of canned beans which tend to have a high sodium content. If using canned beans, be sure to rinse them thoroughly before use.
Studies have shown that cinnamon could regulate blood sugar by decreasing your body’s insulin resistance. Based on the results from one study, participants added at least 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to their diet for 40 days. Cholesterol levels declined by 18% and blood sugar levels by 24%. Cinnamon contains a mineral called chromium that may be responsible for the body’s increased insulin response.
Turmeric is another spice known to reduce the body’s resistance to insulin.
The active compound curcumin is responsible for turmeric’s yellow-orange color. Type 2 diabetes sufferers are prone to heart-related complications. Curcumin has been shown to prevent heart disease by hindering the deposit of fatty acids in the arteries.
5.) Bitter gourd
Bitter gourd is a vine-grown vegetable also known as bitter melon or bitter cucumber. According to Diabetes Health, bitter gourd contains vicine, polypeptide-P, momordin, and charantin, which are thought to have glucose-lowering properties.
Consuming the juice on a daily basis may also increase the body’s natural production of insulin. As the name implies, this vegetable has a very bitter taste. Adding bitter gourd to a stir-fry of your favorite vegetables is the best way to reap the benefits of this diabetes-friendly produce.
6.) Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes boast a high fiber content and low glycemic index. Dr. David J. Jenkins, a professor at the University of Toronto, developed the glycemic index system, which measures the effect of various carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. The lower the glycemic index, the less your blood sugar will spike. Food with a glycemic index of 55 and less is considered low; sweet potatoes have a glycemic index of 44.
Sweet potatoes come in many different colors, orange, yellow, and even purple! The color is caused by carotenoids, which can improve the body’s response to insulin.
Avocado is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which control blood cholesterol levels and slow digestion to prevent spikes in blood sugar. Avoid pairing avocado with high-carb foods like nachos or taco shells. Instead, try adding a few avocado slices to your next salad.
According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, consuming fish at least once a week can reduce the risk of diabetes-related heart disease by 40%. Fish provides an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can potentially decrease insulin resistance. Oily, cold-water fish like mackerel, salmon, and sardines contain the highest source of omega-3 fatty acids.