Lois has over ten years' experience in the home/herbal remedy field. She seeks to inform her readers and help them to save money.
Types of Diabetes
At epidemic proportions, over 20 million people are diagnosed with pre-diabetes and Type I and Type II diabetes. There are many more that have these illnesses but have not been diagnosed with it yet. Currently classified as the seventh leading cause of death, diabetes is slowing increasing in mortality rate as more and more people get diagnosed. However, by eating a healthy diet, getting exercise, following the doctor's advice, taking your medications and following some home remedies, you will be able to control your blood sugar and even reverse the signs and symptoms of diabetes.
Type of Diabetes
Type I Diabetes is more commonly known as juvenile diabetes since it is detected in children at a young age. In this type of diabetes, the body produces no insulin. When you eat food that contains sugar or starches, the body plays a role in breaking down these into glucose which your body uses for energy. "Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body" (diabetes). Without any insulin in your body, the glucose remains in the bloodstream.
The more common form of Diabetes is Type II Diabetes. While your body has insulin, it does not use insulin properly. Your body is insulin resistant where "at first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it isn't able to keep up and can't make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels (diabetes). The cells in the pancreas at first function normally. However, over time they become damaged and destroyed and this leads to build up of sugar in the blood or high blood sugar. That is the reason many people who get this type of diabetes are diagnosed with it later on in life.
Pre-diabetes refers to individuals who have a higher blood count than they normally should have. However, it is not counted as being high enough to be considered diabetes. This can turn into diabetes if the individual does not change his eating habits, get exercise or take advice from their doctors. When an individual who has been diagnosed as being pre-diabetic makes healthy lifestyle changes, his blood sugar may return to normal and may not need to take any medications.
Why Are There So many People with Type II Diabetes?
There are many factors that cause the cells in the pancreas to break down and lead to Type II Diabetes. With more and more people grabbing food at the local fast food restaurant and gulping down sugary sodas and stopping at the local Dunkin Donuts, it does not take a rocket scientist to predict that many of them will develop this disease later on in life.
Then there is the lack of exercise. How many people come home from work or school and go right on the computer. It is understandable, that some computer use has to deal with work or school assignments. However, many people go on sites such as Netflix, FaceBook, Pogo and YouTube to watch videos and play games. When individuals do this, and not get exercise, they run the risk of getting diabetes.
Another risk factor is weight gain. Not eating healthy and not getting the required amount of exercise can lead to weight gain. “Almost 90% of people living with type 2 diabetes are overweight or have obesity” (Obesity).
Heredity is another risk factor. If you have a parent who has diabetes, you have the risk of getting it later on in life. Making changes to your eating habits, maintaining a healthy weight and getting exercise may reduce that risk.
Complications of Diabetes
There are many complications of Diabetes, especially if the disease is not diagnosed or an individual does not make any healthy lifestyle changes. These include:
- Eyes Disorders-Glaucoma, cataracts, corneal disease, changes in vision, blindness
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Disease
- Kidney Disorders
- Nerve Damage-Numbness, pain and sensitivity in hands and feet
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While the above can be upsetting, there are many things you can do to get and keep your blood sugar under control. Even if you are not diabetic, following the advice may prevent you from getting this devastating disease.
Healthy Food Choices
According to the American Diabetes Association, you should limit the amount of sugar and carbohydrates in your daily diet. Doing this plays a role in stabilizing your blood sugar. They go on to say that increasing your protein and fiber intake (20-20 grams of fiber a day) and eating 5-6 small meals a day will help control your blood sugar.
A half of cup of beans a day is an excellent source of fiber. Not only will they help control your blood sugar, they also will help lower your cholesterol as well. The best ones to use are:
- Soy Beans
- White Beans
- Pinto Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Black Beans
- Navy Beans
- Garbanzo Beans
- Lima Beans
- Baked Beans
Nuts are also a major source of fiber, protein, good cholesterol and many minerals such as magnesium and calcium which are beneficial to diabetics. The best ones include
- Black Walnuts
Not only for boosting your immune system, foods that are high in Vitamin C help protect your body from diabetes. Since this vitamin is not produced by your body, you need to eat foods that contain this or take a supplement. Most fruits contain this vitamin eespecially:
Also many fruit juices contain Vitamin C. However, make sure when you purchase juice, look at the label before you buy it. Some juices only contain a small amount of juice. It is best to purchase 100% juice.
Any food that contains chromium is excellent for controlling blood sugar. This mineral “helps to move blood sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream into the cells to be used as energy and to turn fats, carbohydrates, and proteins into energy” (webmd). This is a mineral that you can purchase as a supplement. However, many food contains this including:
- Brewer’s Yeast
- Sweet Potatoes
- Whole Grain Food
This mineral, which helps your body metabolize starches that you consume, can be used for both types of diabetes. However, it may cause some side effects including:
- Loss of Appetite
Since your body only needs a small amount of chromium, it is not necessary to take this as a supplement. You can get most of what you need in eating the above food.
Magnesium is a mineral that is helpful in regulating your blood sugar. You can find it in food such as whole grains, seeds and green leafy vegetables. Talk to your doctor about the correct amount to take. If you do not take enough of this mineral a day, it may not help your diabetes. On the other hand, if you take too much you may experience nausea, diarrhea and loss of appetite.
Cell damage plays a major role in producing high levels of blood sugar. You get cell damage from free radicals. These are cells that are already damaged for a wide variety of reasons. These damaged cells travel throughout the body, attacking the healthy cells, thus creating more damaged cells. This is also known as oxidative stress. By preventing these free radicals from causing an onslaught in your body, you may be able to prevent high blood sugar. To do this, you need to include food that contains anti-oxidants in your diet. These help fight off the free radicals that cause cell damage. One powerful antioxidant is Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) and can be found in food such as broccoli, spinach and liver and other cuts of lean red meat. This acid plays a role in reducing insulin resistance, enhancing insulin function and speeding up the process in removing glucose from the bloodstream. This also can be purchased as a supplement. Make sure to read the bottle for the correct dosage.
Another powerful antioxidant is Coenzyme Q10 (COQ10). It is necessary for our bodies to have this substance for them to function properly. This is one of the dietary supplements that is used the most often because of its health benefits. Our body can naturally produce COQ10. However, there are times when we do not produce enough of this substance where we need to take it with as a supplement. One of the reasons the levels are lower than it should be is age. They tend to decrease as we age. Also certain conditions causes the levels of COQ10 in the cells, tissues and blood to be lower. To make sure you get enough COQ10 in your daily diet-which is between 100 to 200 milligrams-you can take a daily supplement or include beef, poultry and fish in your diet.
You need zinc in your daily diet to maintain a healthy body. If you have diabetes, it is important to make sure you are getting enough to help with your eyesight and to prevent free radical damage. This mineral also helps produce and store insulin. There are many foods that are high in zinc. These include:
- Egg Yolk
- Beef Liver
- Lima Beans
- Split Peas
- Rye Bread
If you take zinc supplements, make sure you take the recommended dosage, because taking too much zinc may cause you to have headaches and upset stomachs. Always talk to your doctor before you start taking zinc supplements because zinc may interact with other medications or supplements that you may be already taking. He also may recommend diet changes so that you are getting enough zinc in your daily diet.
It is best to limit the amount of carbohydrates you consume each day to 50 grams or less. The reason why so many Americans are getting this disease is because on average they are consuming between 400 and 600 grams on a daily basis. The reason why this disease was not so popular generations ago is because such food as Twinkies, donuts, granola bars and fast food were not readily available as they are today. It is a good idea to go through your refrigerator and kitchen cabinets and get rid of all the food that is high in refined carbohydrates. Replace what you throw out with fruits, vegetables, whole grain, eggs, fish, meat and cheese.
When you add healthy foods, fruits and vegetables to your daily diet, you are on the road to stabilizing your blood sugar. You may be able to reverse your diabetes where you may not have to take medications or insulin.
Treatment for Diabetes in your Kitchen cabinet
Did you know that there are common food items that can help control and stablize your blood sugar and prevent the complications of this disease? Just look in your kitchen cabinet. There are many things in it that can treat and reverse your diabetes.
Most people who get diabetes get it because of what types of food they eat, especially food that contains a lot of sugar. Even if you change your eating habits by making smart food choices and watching your weight, you may at times have a craving for something sweet. One thing to keep in your kitchen cabinet when you are hit with theses cravings is some dark chocolate. Just eating one ounce of this can help your body fight against insulin resistance. You may not like the bitter taste of this type of chocolate and wonder about using milk chocolate instead. You may ask yourself, "Wouldn't this sweeter chocolate help my diabetes just as well?" The question would be no. Dark chocolate contains chemicals called flavonoids which help with controlling your blood sugar, as well as satisfying your sweet tooth. These are powerful antioxidants which help protect your body from free radicals. The benefits of these chemicals are significantly reduced during the process of making milk chocolate.
One of the most popular spices people use in cooking is cinnamon. This spice contains many health benefits including burning body fat, lowering the levels of bad cholesterol in your body and stabilizing blood sugar levels. People who are at risk of getting diabetes may reduce the chances of getting it if they include this spice in their daily diet. Adding a half to a full teaspoon of cinnamon to your tea gives you a healthy beverage.
To lose weight and to maintain a healthy body, it is recommended to drink 8 cups of water a day, which is just over two quarts. Water has no taste to it unless if you purchased the flavored water. For an inexpensive option, try making your own cinnamon water. Fill two quart glass jars with boiling water and add three tablespoons of cinnamon to each jar. Allow it to cool down for twenty minutes before drinking. You can store the jars in your refrigerator and drink it throughout the day. You can also purchase cinnamon capsules and take it as a daily supplement.
Flaxseed is an excellent source of fiber and helps metabolize blood sugar in both Type I and Type II Diabetes. Keeping a jar of ground flaxseed in your kitchen cabinet is a healthy way to tasten up your cereal, coffee, tea, milk and smoothies. All you need is a teaspoon a day.
Always talk to your doctor before you make any changes to your diet or before you use any herbs. Some herbs may interact with medications or supplements that you may be already taking.
The Best Herbs For Diabetes
As devastating as Diabetes can be, you can control and stabilize your blood sugar by including specific fruits, vegetables and spices in your diet. Herbs also play a major role. The following is a list of herbs that will be most beneficial for you. You can find many of them locally at your grocery or health food store. Other types of herbs you can purchase as a supplement.
Aloe is excellent if you want to control your blood sugar. Many grocery and health food stores sell aloe vera juice. These stores may also sell aloe plants where you extract the gel from the leaves. Since it has a bitter flavor, you can mix it with other beverages that you drink such a juice, tea or water. Just taking two to four tablespoons a day helps stimulate insulin production. Since aloe has laxative properties, do not take aloe if you have diarrhea.
Bitter melon slows down the absorption of glucose and helps regulate blood sugar levels. Also known as bitter gourd, this tropical fruit is shaped like a cucumber. Eating this Asian fruit, plays a role in increasing the beta cells, which are the insulin secreting cells in the pancreas, lowering blood sugar and increasing glucose tolerance. If you have an Asian market in your area, you may be able to find this fruit. You only need two ounces of this fruit each day. Since fresh bitter melon can be expensive to order online, you can purchase this as a tea or as supplements. Look for brands such as Puritan’s Pride and Buddha’s Teas. Do not use bitter melon if you have liver conditions such as cirrhosis or hepatitis. If you are already taking insulin for your diabetes, talk to your doctor because your blood sugar levels may fall below the normal level.
Asian ginseng is a very excellent feel good herb. Many people become moody and depressed when they are diagnosed with diabetes. This herb is excellent in improving your mood and well-being. However, taking a daily dosage of 200 milligrams helps stimulate insulin production and lower your blood sugar level.
Agimony has been used since the ancient times to treat a number of ailments including eye ailments, and to stop wounds from bleeding and to heal them and to treat insomnia. The herb normally comes as a loose tea. This herb is effective in stopping Type I and Type II diabetes from progressing. To make the tea, put on teaspoon of the herb in a tea ball. Place the tea ball in a cup of hot water and allow it to brew for at least fifteen minutes. You can drink up to three cups of this tea a day.
"Bromelain is a protein extract derived from the stems of pineapples, although it exists in all parts of the fresh plant and fruit" (Wikipedia). With diabetics, there sometimes is nerve damage where the food is not digested effectively. Bromelain is a protein ingesting enzyme sometimes called a proteolytic enzyme. This plays a role in aiding digestion and helps "fight off inflammation which may affect the tissues and organs in the body" (Natural News). While you get this substance from pineapples, it is easier to take this as a supplement before each meal. While it is recommended to take 250 to 500 milligrams three times a day, talk to your doctor for advice. If you are allergic to pineapples, avoid taking bromelain.
One of the symptoms of diabetes is nerve damage. It might start out as a tingling sensation, or a pins and needle feeling, in the hands and feet. However, if the diabetes is left untreated, the nerve damage can get bad enough where a limb may need to be amputated. Evening primrose oil, which comes from the seed of the primrose plant, helps with nerve damage brought on by this disease. This oil contains gamma-linolenic acid which “may relieve nerve pain and other symptoms associated with diabetes, a condition known as diabetic neuropathy” (livestrong). Many health food stores sell this as a supplement.
While fenugreek seeds are often used as a digestion aide, they are rich in polysaccharide galactomannan, which plays a role in lowering blood glucose levels. Just using one ounce in your daily cooking, these seeds slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream.
Eating two to three cloves of fresh garlic a day can help lower the risk of getting diabetes and may even slow down the progress if you have this disease. This herb contains flavonoids which make this an excellent preventative herb. However, since this herb is a natural blood thinner, talk to your doctor if you are already on blood thinners.
There are many advantages in using juniper berries to treat, control and prevent diabetes. These include:
- Relieving symptoms if hyperglycemia
- Enhancing cellular uptake of glucose
- Improving delayed wound healing
- Improving digestion
- Improving kidney function
- Maintaining safe blood pressure levels
- Protecting against cardiac disease
- Breaking down fat and initiating weight loss
Licorice has been used for many years among both the Chinese and Native Americans to treat many health conditions and ailments. It is high in nutrients and minerals such as:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin E
This herb helps preserve your eyesight and helps prevent cataracts as well as keeping your blood sugar at safe levels. However, while this is a natural blood thinner, licorice can cause spikes in your blood pressure. Therefore, if you have high blood pressure, do not take licorice.
Some people like to spend most of their time indoors, away from the sunlight. It might be they are afraid of getting too much sun and causing damage to the skin. They may be afraid of getting heat exhaustion if they are in direct sunlight, especially on a hot day. However, getting out in the sun may help keep your blood sugar levels lower.
There are many outdoor activities you can enjoy such as taking a walk in the park or going to a beach or a lake. However, now that you know how many vegetables and herbs are beneficial to you, you may want to consider planting a garden. When you work with your hands and watch your garden grow, you are keeping your attention away from the disease.
Gardening takes a lot of physical activity. You may not realize this, but gardening is a form of exercise. Most times you will build up a sweat. Sweating is an excellent way of moving blood sugar and other harmful toxins out of the body.
With your garden, whether it contains vegetables, herbs or both, you know what you are getting when you eat them. Many of the store-bought produce have added chemicals. Home grown is a healthier option.
Having just a flower garden is beneficial as well. It is said that the aromatic fragrances of flowers help gives your metabolism a boost. This is turn helps burn extra body fat and results in weight loss.
Getting outdoors, whether you take or walk or are working in your garden, increases the amount of oxygen you take in. This is an overall curing property. A breath of fresh air does wonder for your overall well-being.
Fighting Diabetes with Tea
Research is still new in the study of diabetes and tea treatment. However, with recent studies between both green and black tea using mice, it has been shown that tea may be an effective treatment for individuals who have Type II Diabetes. Even though more research is needed, these early results are very positive. Along with showing that tea helped stabilize blood sugar in diabetic mice, it also slowed down the growth of cataracts which is one of the complications of diabetes. (NCBI). Maybe you might want to swap your coffee with tea.
Green tea slows down the release of sugar from starchy food. This tea is a natural blood thinner and therefore helps prevent your blood from clogging up your arteries which in turn prevents your arteries from getting clogged. This tea also prevents you from getting diabetic retinopathy which is “caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina)” (mayoclinic). Green tea comes both as a supplement and in the form of a tea. If you take it as a supplement, follow the recommended dosage on the label. You can drink green tea throughout the day. However, since it can dilute medications you are already taking-making them less effective-do not drink the tea within an hour of taking your medication.
If you prefer black tea over green tea, you do not have to switch. This more popular beverage in the United States contains the same health benefits as green tea.
Both green and black tea can be purchased from a majority of grocery food stores either as tea bags or loose tea. These simple and inexpensive beverages come in a wide variety of flavors which means you will easily be able to find something that will be satisfying to your taste buds. It is a good idea to look for added flavors such as cinnamon and other herbs and spices that contain properties that lower blood sugar. Some other herbs and spices you can sprinkle into your tea include:
- Bay Leaf
- Dandelion Root
If you need to sweeten your tea, use a teaspoon of honey. This contains many health benefits as well.
Whether you drink it hot or cold, you are on the way to controlling your diabetes. However, drinking one cup of tea in a while will not bring your blood sugar down. You need to include this with your daily regimen with medications, proper diet and exercise.
While it can be a devastating disease, you do not have to let diabetes control your life. By moderating your diet by avoiding refined sugars and trans fats, limiting carbohydrates and including fruits and vegetables, herbs and whole grains you are on the healthy way to stable blood sugar. Make sure you get your exercise in each day and spend some of your time outdoors. You do not need to join a gym and get involved in a vigorous workout. All you need to do is walk around the block. Doing this not only will help control your diabetes, it can help lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of getting heart disease. While the above remedies may help control your diabetes, never stop taking your medications. This is a serious disease and only a competent doctor should tell you to cut down on your insulin and other medications you are already taking.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2018 Lois Ryan
Lois Ryan (author) from Binghamton NY on April 25, 2018:
My husband uses Activa which is lower in sugar than the other brands. Plus he uses a carb blocker called Phase 2 which helps with his A1C. He gets that at GNC.
Gregory DeVictor from Pittsburgh, PA on March 03, 2018:
Lois, one of the big reasons that stay on this regimen is because I never, ever want to end up with alzheimer’s. I have heard several television physicians mention that certain studies indicate that elevated blood sugar over a prolonged period can lead to the disease. My mother died from alzheimer’s and I have several friends locally whose parents died of it too. So, thanks for your encouragement.
OK, I do eat Yoplait light very vanilla yogurt which has 10 grams of sugar per cup. I bought 20 cups of it today at the supermarket because it was on sale. By the way, I have seen yogurt at the grocery store where I shop with as many as 30 grams of sugar per cup. That’s just too much.
I also drink lots of water that I flavor with lemon juice.
Lois Ryan (author) from Binghamton NY on March 03, 2018:
Gregory, if you keep that up you will probably never run into the risk of getting diabetes.
Gregory DeVictor from Pittsburgh, PA on March 03, 2018:
Thank you for a really great article. I learned a lot. I had a physical in December, 2017 and my glucose was around 80. I want to keep it there too. I maintain a diet free of white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, etc. I am also an athlete and get regular exercise everyday. Thanks for reminding me about COQ10. I didn’t realize how important it is.
Lois Ryan (author) from Binghamton NY on March 03, 2018:
My husband has Type II Diabetes and has been struggling with keeping his A1C down. He is allergic to fish and shellfish so eating fish is out. So we have been trying Phase2 Carb blocker which can be found at GNC and so far his blood reading are lower than they have been. Another thing that helps is drinking a glass of red wine a day. The only reason I didn't add that in the article is because I felt I would be promoting drinking.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on March 03, 2018:
Great article. I am pre-diabetic and try many of these things and so far so good. I will try the okra in water. I do eat it frozen but will buy fresh and try in water.
Thanks so much.
Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on March 03, 2018:
FlourishAnyway from USA on March 03, 2018:
My mother and other relatives have diabetes. An uncle even had part of his foot removed. It’s a widespread but daunting disease.
Lois Ryan (author) from Binghamton NY on January 16, 2018:
Yes you have permission to share. Thank you.
gotinfo on January 16, 2018:
Hello! Great article. I know as a nurse the importance of diet. I have talked with a many of patients about the benefits of their diet and giving them better control of sugars. I believe if we all ate like a diabetic with well-controlled blood sugars we will not only see a decline in obesity but a decline in many health concerns. I would like to refer this article to individuals.
Zsuzsy Bee from Ontario/Canada on January 14, 2018:
Great article, really well explained. I remember how overwhelming it was when I was diagnosed twelve or so years ago.
I drink all of the teas you recommend but also add Hibiscus and Mint to mine along with honey. (I make a blend of all the teas) It was hard to get used to some of the flavours but after drinking it for almost ten years its become my drink of "choice".
Thanks for sharing.