The key to better health is always to be creating a lifestyle based on moderation. It is critical to eat a balanced and nutrient rich diet, exercise and manage your daily stress.
Diabetes occurs in the body when cells that typically respond to insulin become insulin resistant. Insulin is a hormone that communicates with cells, telling them to allow glucose (blood sugar) to enter. If glucose cannot enter the cells, it builds up in the blood stream and begins to damage tissues and organs throughout the entire body. This type of damage leads to cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, vision damage, nerve damage, amputation and neuropathy.
Insulin can either be used by the body for energy, or it can become stored as fat for later use. What is amazing about the chemistry in your body is that it reflects and mimics your daily habits. This is the key to understanding that living a sedentary life creates a sedentary environment in which your body is trying to function. If you are unable to manage stress, neither can your body. It begins to produce excess levels of cortisol to help your body manage the effects of stress. Cortisol causes your body to store extra amounts of fat for energy during these times of distress. This is the fat that is found in the belly, the most dangerous kind of fat you can carry. This type of belly fat is directly related to heart disease.
You can reverse your Type 2 diabetes diagnosis!! In as little as one week, you can make the lifestyle changes necessary to promote the pancreas to start working efficiently, to begin to normalize your blood sugars, and to increase your body’s cells to become more insulin sensitive.
Weight Loss: Losing just 5 to 10 percent of body weight can drastically lower blood sugar levels while improving insulin resistance. Losing weight also lessens the risk of developing complications related to diabetes including cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and neuropathy. If you have a family history of diabetes is it critical that you manage your weight. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 70-90%!
Exercise: This is one of the very best things you can do for diabetes. Exercise encourages your muscles and liver to take in glucose, lowering the blood sugar levels in your body. Exercise will decrease insulin resistance, regulate your blood pressure, reduce stress and help you sleep! Find something you love to do! Go for a brisk walk, ride your bike, put on a fun DVD workout dance video. Get excited about building muscle and becoming fit! You have the power to change your body! Get moving today!
Manage Stress: Stress hormones increase blood sugar levels. This is the time to mediate, breathe, try yoga, and get out in the garden, read a book, or exercise. Take time in your day to unwind and do something just for you. Feed your soul! You can also take herbs like Ashwagandha or Holy Basil that act as adaptogens and help protect your body from the the harmful side effects of stress while lowering levels of cortisol.
Nutrition-Eat More High Quality Food
All calories are not equal. Diets equal in total caloric content will not produce identical changes in weight. What you have been taught about nutrition the majority of you life is simply not true and is NOT backed by science. Theromogenesis is the extra heat you generate during a meal due to digestion or metabolism. The biological system, the laws of thermodynamics, and numerous studies have shown that protein and healthy fats (think coconut oil, avocado, nuts) increase thermogenesis and the efficiency and rate at which you burn fat significantly greater than carbohydrates. Diets low in carbohydrates consistently prove to be substantially more effective at lowering body fat, increasing lean muscle mass, reducing visceral fat, lowering cholesterol, reducing triglycerides and regulating blood sugar levels than diets low in fat.
Gunnars, K., BSc. (2013). 23 Studies on Low-Carb and Low-Fat Diets - Time to Retire The Fad. Retrieved April 08, 2016, from https://authoritynutrition.com/23-studies-on-low-carb-and-low-fat-diets/
This following list is not exhaustive. Looks for diets and foods lists that are low glycemic and high in protein and healthy fats. The Paleo/Caveman Diet is a great base but make sure you get a lot of servings of vegetables and watch for calorie heavy desserts.
Organic Fats & Oils: Avocado, Grass Fed Butter, Coconut Oil, Ghee, Macadamia Nut Oil, Olive Oil
Proteins: Grass Fed Beef, Organic Eggs, Organic Chicken, Clams, Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon, Scallops, Tuna, Organic Turkey, Wild Caught Fish
Organic Vegetables: Asparagus, Leafy Green Vegetables, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumbers, Kale, Mushrooms, Olives, Radishes, Spinach, Snow Peas, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Turnips
Organic Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Hazelnuts, Macadamia Nuts, Pecans, Walnuts, Peanuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Flax, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds
Organic Fruits: Blueberries, Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries
Sweeteners: Stevia, Erythritol, Xylitold (from Birch Trees) Lo Han Guo, Monk Fruit
Foods to Avoid:
Always avoid GMO corn, soy and canola as they are now scientifically linked to kidney and liver disease and may encourage type 2 diabetes. Absolutely no hydrogenated oils-vegetable oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, and canola oil.
Refined Sugar: Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Glucose Syrup, and Crystalline Fructose. Even raw honey and maple sugar will spike your blood sugar. Absolutely no agave. Agave is 90% fructose and although it is low glycemic it interferes with the production of hunger hormones like leptin and ghrelin.
Grains: Foods that contain grains, especially gluten, are broken down quickly into sugar. Your mouth secretes enzymes that begin breaking down carbohydrates the second you start eating them. You should avoid all grains, even whole grains, for at least 12 weeks as you begin to reverse type 2 diabetes.
Dairy: Watch for natural and hidden sugars in all forms of dairy. Always purchase dairy that is from Organic and Grass Fed Cows.
Alcohol: Most alcohol quickly increase blood sugar levels. Beer and sweet liquors are high in sugar.
Alpha Lipoic Acid: ALA is an antioxidant that protects the body from organ damage caused by free radicals. It uniquely can act in both water-soluble and fat-soluble regions in cells and tissues making it easily absorbed by the body and transported to organs and the nervous system. This characteristic also helps it boost the work of other antioxidants working in the body. ALA works with B vitamins to turn carbohydrates, proteins and fats into stored energy. There is abundant evidence showing that ALA is critical for maintaining blood sugar levels. ALA is a warrior that fights multiple components of metabolic syndrome that include reducing blood pressure, insulin resistance and weight. A recent study revealed that after only four weeks of supplementation ALA greatly improved insulin sensitivity in overweight adults with type 2 diabetes. Because of its exceptional ability to kill free radicals it helps lessen the pain, burning, itching, tingling and numbness in the arms and legs caused by nerve damage from diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Studies have also shown taking 800 mg of ALA reduces the risk and symptoms of diabetic related autonomic neuropathy in which the nerves supporting internal organs are damaged.
Ehrlich, S. D., NMD. (2014, June 26). Alpha-lipoic acid. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/alphalipoic-acid
H. (2007, October). Lipoic Acid. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2007/10/nu_lipoic_acid/page-01
Berberine: Long used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine, berberine is an alkaloid found in herbs like goldenseal, barberry, and Oregon grape. Berberine is incredibly effective at increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This is important as new research shows that having more of these beneficial bacteria strains improves metabolic health and supports normal blood sugar control. Studies have shown taking 500 mg of berberine to be more effective than metformin at regulating blood sugar levels and lipid metabolism. Another study on 116 diabetic patients taking 1 gram of berberine per day saw fasting blood sugars lowered by 20% to normal levels, out of diabetic range. Researchers have described it as a “potent oral hypoglycemic agent” for its ability to significantly improve insulin sensitivity. Berberine works on a molecular level in cells to increase glycolysis, the breaking down of sugar in cells. Berberine is one of the few compounds that can activate adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase or AMPK. AMPK is found in the cells of the brain, muscle, kidney, heart, and liver. This enzyme is called the “metabolic master switch” for its crucial role in regulating metabolism as when activated it boosts fat burning in the mitochondria, which helps to support weight loss and reduces body fat. It can also inhibit the growth of fat cells at the molecular level. Berberine appears to improve the function of fat regulating hormones like adiponectin and leptin. Berberine decreases sugar production in the liver.
Axe, J., MD. (2015). Berberine Treats Diabetes & Digestive Problems - Dr. Axe. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://draxe.com/berberine/
Gunnars, K., BSc. (2015). Berberine - The World's Most Powerful Supplement? Retrieved April 07, 2016, from https://authoritynutrition.com/berberine-powerful-supplement/
Chromium: Chromium is an essential mineral that is critical to the metabolic process that regulates blood sugar. Chromium and insulin move glucose into cells to be used as energy. To properly metabolize carbohydrates, fats and protein you need adequate levels of chromium. Low chromium levels increase blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol putting you at risk for type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that 90% of Americans have a diet low in chromium. People who regularly eat sugary foods are also more likely to be chromium deficient. Foods that contain chromium include Brewer’s yeast, organ meats, mushrooms, broccoli, prunes, romaine lettuce, ripe tomatoes, raw onion, nuts and asparagus. Over the counter or prescription antacids reduce chromium absorption.
Ehrlich, S. D. (2014, June 26). Chromium. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/chromium
Weil, A., MD, & Becker, B., MD. (2012, September 27). Chromium. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02868/chromium.html
Gymnema: Gymnema sylvestre is a tropical woody climbing plant that grows in India. When you chew the leaves gymnemic acids are released that interfere with your ability to taste sweetness. This implies it can work as an appetite suppressant. Gymnema helps signal the pancreas to make and secrete insulin, improving the amount of glucose that is absorbed into cells. Gymnema promotes the regeneration of islet cells helping to keep the pancreas healthy. Gymnemic acids may also reduce the amount of sugar that is absorbed from the intestine as they have a structure similar to glucose. When gymnemic acids lock into intestinal receptors they block out glucose. Gymnema can prevent adrenal hormones from signaling the liver to produce more glucose. Gymnema has also been shown to LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Studies on gymnemic acids suggest that drinking gymnema tea before meals can promote weight loss treating obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Group, E., DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM. (2015, October 21). The Weight Loss Benefits of Gymnema. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/weight-loss-benefits-of-gymnema/
Kanetkar, P., Singhal, R., & Kamat, M. (2007, August 29). Gymnema sylvestre: A Memoir. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2170951/
Bitter Melon: This antioxidant rich tropical fruit has compounds that are similar to those of insulin and have hypoglycemic activities that are beneficial to both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. Studies out of India show that bitter melon is one of the most import Ayurvedic plants for lowing blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Bitter melon helps stimulate skeletal muscles to use glucose more efficiently. Bitter melon prevents glucose absorption in the small intestine. It helps protect and regenerate islets of Langerhans cells in the pancreas that detect high rising blood sugar levels and release insulin accordingly. Studies have shown that extracts of bitter melon inhibit the activities of fructose, and that it slows down cataracts formed as a result of diabetes.
Joseph, B., & Jini, D. (2013, April). Antidiabetic effects of Momordica charantia (bitter melon) and its medicinal potency. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4027280/
Fenugreek: Fenugreek seeds are high in soluble fiber and help to slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, preventing a spike in blood sugar. Studies have shown that taking fenugreek before meals prevents a rise in blood sugar following the meal, and over the long term improves insulin function in those with type 2 diabetes. Fenugreek contains steroidal saponins that inhibit the absorption of cholesterol. Fenugreek is high in amino acid 4-hydroxy isoleucine which has been shown to protect the liver and stimulate the production of insulin.
Kassaian, N., Azadbakht, L., Forghani, B., & Amini, M. (2009, January). Effect of fenugreek seeds on blood glucose and lipid profiles in type 2 diabetic patients. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19839001
Marks, M. (2014, January 19). Fenugreek lowers blood sugar and cholesterol. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.naturalhealth365.com/fenugreek.html/
Cinnamon: Studies on cinnamon have shown that taking as low as 1 gram per day can lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance. A study published in Diabetes Care showed that people given 1g, 3g, or 6 grams of cinnamon over 40 days saw a reduction in their fasting serum glucose levels by 18-29%. Cinnamon also lowered levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Cinnamon slows the emptying of your stomach, which prevents your blood sugar from spiking. Cinnamon contains polyphenols, antioxidants that supports insulin sensitivity. Tuttle, D. (2005, December). Controlling Blood Sugar with Cinnamon and Coffee Fruit. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2005/12/report_cinnamon/page-01