Diabetes is a group of disorders which affect the blood sugar levels, either through an auto-immune dysfunction where the immune cells attack the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin, thus leading to higher blood sugar levels (type 1); or when the body is not able to correctly use insulin or produce enough of it to deal with the diet (type 2).
Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common affecting 90-95% of the diabetics in America . Fortunately there are a number of foods which can be beneficial in the case of type 2 diabetes, helping to lower blood sugar levels and bring about better blood sugar control.
1. Green Tea
One of the best, natural anti-diabetic treatments is green tea. Green tea has long been used in Asia for its medicinal benefits but now scientific tests have also been done to prove the benefit of green tea in diabetes. In one of these studies researchers looked at both the effect of green tea on diabetic mice as well as its effects in humans and found that green tea helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, promotes glucose metabolism and in the diabetic mice it produced an anti-hyperglycemic effect .
2. Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds have been found to not only be beneficial with type 2 diabetes but also with type 1 diabetes. A scientific study was done by Sharma, RD et al, to determine the effects of fenugreek seeds on the blood glucose levels and serum lipids in type 1 diabetics after it had already been found useful in animals and in type 2 diabetics. In this test they found that taking fenugreek seeds significantly reduced fasting blood sugar and improved the glucose tolerance test . Their main concern was for the poor population in India who were not able to afford expensive diabetic medicines in order to control their blood sugar levels but could take these seeds.
Another herb which is beneficial in the treatment of non-insulin dependent diabetes is ginseng. In a study done to investigate the effects of ginseng on newly diagnosed non-insulin dependent diabetics a number of benefits were discovered. Not only did ginseng lower their blood glucose levels but it also improved their mood, helped them to lose weight and increase physical activity .
The reason broccoli is suggested as a possible food to improve blood sugar levels is due to its high chromium content. A number of benefits have been linked with chromium for diabetes including beneficial effects on HbA1c levels, glucose, insulin and cholesterol levels .
By the second half of the 20th century an oatmeal diet was a regular part of the clinical routine in the treatment of diabetics, however this went out of fashion. Lately, however, a number of tests have been done to determine the effectiveness of an oatmeal diet on type 2 diabetics. A pilot study done by A Lammert et al, showed that two days of oatmeal treatment decreased blood glucose level, which in turn decreased the need for insulin . After four weeks out of hospital these benefits remained.
Nuts, and peanuts, hold a number of benefits according to scientific studies. They have been found to protect people from Coronary Heart Disease, lower bad cholesterol levels (possibly raising the good cholesterol levels), and they have also been found to be inversely associated with risk of type 2 diabetes . Nuts are also often recommended as a snack for diabetics so try adding some to your diet if you aren’t already. Diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, has reached epidemic proportions but there are things that we can do about it and changes in diet and lifestyle can go a long way to reducing the risk and improving our quality of life.