Natural Help for Diabetics
When it comes to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, there are many options available. In the case of diabetes, blood sugar levels should be monitored closely, and patients should remain under the care of a physician. However, that does not mean that a person with diabetes is doomed to a life of medical appointments and prescriptions.
There are some substances you can purchase at your local food store that may be helpful to a diabetic, without the unwanted side effects or price tags of pharmaceutical medications. The following is a list of possibilities that you might discuss with your doctor if you have diabetes, and are looking for natural ways to keep it under control.
1. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar may be helpful in maintaining healthy glucose levels. According to WebMD, “one 2007 study of 11 people with type 2 diabetes found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4% – 6%.”
2. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse which can be particularly advantageous to diabetics because of their blood sugar stabilizing abilities. According to David J. Foreman, RPh, ND, “The gel that chia forms can slow digestion and help balance blood sugar levels.
When chia seeds are mixed with water or stomach juices, a gel forms that creates a physical barrier between the carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down.
The carbohydrates are digested eventually, but at a slow and uniform rate. There is no insulin surge or spike needed to lower the blood sugar level after eating chia. By achieving this, you will have fewer energy drops and cravings for refined foods. This balancing of blood sugar levels is also critical for those with both hyper (high) and hypo (low) blood sugar.”
3. Olive leaf extract
Studies with animals have demonstrated the hypoglycemic activity of olive leaf’s active compound oleuropein. One such study, involving rabbits, was published in Life Science in 2006.
Here is an excerpt from the abstract of that study: “Oleuropein, the active constituent of olive leaf (Olea europaea), has been endowed with many beneficial and health promoting properties mostly linked to its antioxidant activity.
During 16 weeks of treatment of diabetic rabbits with 20 mg/kg body weight of oleuropein, the levels of MDA, along with blood glucose and most of the enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants, were significantly restored to establish values that were not different from normal control rabbits.
Untreated diabetic rabbits, on the other hand, demonstrated persistent alterations in the oxidative stress marker MDA, blood glucose, and the antioxidant parameters.
These results demonstrate that oleuropein may be of advantage in inhibiting hyperglycemia and oxidative stress induced by diabetes, and suggest that the administration of oleuropein may be helpful in the prevention of diabetic complications associated with oxidative stress.”
It has long been rumored that turmeric lowers blood sugar and increases glucose metabolism. In February of 2011, the results of a study regarding turmeric and diabetes were published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.
In the study, rats that were induced with diabetes were given curcumin, the active compound in turmeric.
“The results showed that curcumin improved insulin sensitivity, lowered blood glucose levels and lowered fatty acids in the blood.
The authors concluded that curcumin seems to work like the prescription anti-diabetic drug Avandia (rosiglitazone), and suggested that it could be used in type 2 diabetics in combination with other treatment options.”
5. Green tea
We have all heard that green tea aids in weight loss, but that may not be its most impressive benefit. In 2004, BMC Pharmacology published a study whose goal was to “provide evidence of improvement in glucose metabolism in diabetic mice and healthy humans upon green tea consumption.”
Here is the conclusion of that study: “The present study provides evidence that green tea has an antidiabetic effect.
Although we could not find simple reversed effect of green tea on the diabetes-induced modifications of the levels of several serum proteins, we found that the 4211 (4212) Da protein level that was decreased in the diabetic state was further decreased after green tea administration.
This is the first report demonstrating that a certain serum protein may be involved in the antihyperglycemic effect of green tea.”
Cinnamon tastes delicious, but sprinkling it on your food can do more than add extra flavor. According to Ryan Bradley, ND, from Seattle, Washington, “At least three clinical studies have been performed to test the blood sugar lowering and insulin-sensitizing affects of cinnamon.
In one of these studies, different doses (1,3, or 6 grams) of cinnamon were given in capsules to people with diabetes for 40 days; this study demonstrated improvements in both fasting blood sugar and in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol at all doses.”
Diabetes is a serious condition which should not be taken lightly. Before making any changes to your medication or supplement regimen, you should consult a medical professional. However, it is important to do your research so that you know what your options are. No matter how helpful your doctor is, ultimately your health is in your own hands, so arm yourself with knowledge and fight for the healthy life that you deserve!