Even though we live in a pill-popping, drug-oriented culture, more and more people are starting to realize that food is really our best medicine. In 90% of all chronic and degenerative diseases, poor diet is either the direct cause or a significant factor.
This is especially true for Type 2 diabetes. There is no stage of Type 2 that can’t be helped by making some smart dietary changes. And the earlier they are made, the more dramatic the health improvements will be.
The “Prescription” is Simple
A few simple changes in a patient’s eating habits can actually reverse Type 2 so that all metabolic functions, including the body’s insulin production, return to normal.
Here’s the shorthand version…
- Quit consuming the foods and beverages that spike your blood sugar and trigger the insulin response (sweets, sodas, juices, refined carbs, baked goods, chips, and highly processed grain-based commercial foods, like breakfast cereals). Over-consuming these can cause Type 2, and even small amounts will make it worse.
- Start eating more of the foods that heal the damage that insulin-resistance and diabetes have done to your body. Do this by turning your diet into an anti-inflamatory diet as inflammation is one of the root causes of diabetes (beware: inflammation destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas). In this diet try to include plenty of the following “diabetes-healing superfoods.” Here are the top 5…
1. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
If you have diabetes or prediabetes, controlling blood sugar has a huge impact on how you feel — and this marvelous monounsaturated oil can really help. A 2006 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine put people on either a low-fat diet, a Mediterranean diet emphasizing EVOO, or a Mediterranean diet emphasizing nuts. Those getting more olive oil and nuts had significantly lower blood sugar levels than those on the low-fat diet.
Thanks to the powerful antioxidant, oleocanthal (responsible for the strong, peppery “bite” freshly-pressed olive oil produces when consumed) EVOO also reduces inflammation, one of the root causes of diabetes.
Getting inflammation under control is essential for healing — and reversing — Type 2 and prediabetes. The study mentioned above also found that the olive oil diet lowers C-reactive protein, an indicator of systemic inflammation.
Unfortunately, the olive oil in your supermarket may not be strong enough. EVOO’s inflammation-fighting properties begin to fade after pressing. The longer it sits around, the weaker it gets. (Most supermarket olive oil can be a year old — or older.)
Worse, the olive oil industry is rife with scandals. Because of the premium price it commands, many companies are tempted to fluff up their products with cheaper oils, such as soybean and rapeseed, to their products to maximize profits. Try to find freshly pressed olive oil from a local farm or at your local health food stop.
See also: Reversing diabetes Type-2
Onions are one of the top food sources for the trace mineral chromium, which produces a powerful benefit on blood glucose levels. Research shows that chromium helps your body use insulin more efficiently, maintains steady blood sugar levels, and reduces the need for diabetes drugs.
Chromium deficiency and diabetes often accompany each other, according to a study published in Diabetes Care. This isn’t surprising when you realize that the symptoms of chromium deficiency (such as out-of-control levels of glucose, insulin, triglycerides, and high cholesterol) resemble those of prediabetes.
A recent study published in Biochemistry shows that chromium is an insulin potentiator, meaning that it makes your insulin more effective. For people with insulin resistance or full-blown diabetes, this is a big benefit because chromium lessens your need for your body’s own insulin (or your insulin dose) to normalize your blood sugar levels.
One cup of raw onion (about ½ cup cooked onion) gives you 24mcg of the government’s “adequate intake” recommendation of 25 — 35mcg of chromium. So sauté up a big batch of onions, add some garlic and herbs, and throw them on salads, toss them in soups and fritattas, and use them to smother a juicy, grass-fed burger.
Chances are you have cinnamon in your spice cupboard. And chances are you never thought of cinnamon as medicine. However, cinnamon has been used medicinally since ancient times.
This popular spice was used in ancient Egypt, China, and India for culinary and medicinal purposes. Cinnamon has been shown to help lower blood glucose levels in people with Type 2 diabetes and even increase the amount of insulin produced in the body.
A study published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2003 looked at 60 men and women with Type 2 diabetes who were taking diabetes pills. The participants took either 1, 3, or 6 grams of cassia cinnamon or a placebo, in capsule form, for 40 days. After this time, blood glucose levels dropped between 18% and 29% in all three groups that received cinnamon.
Also, the participants who had taken the smallest amount of cinnamon (1 gram) continued to have improved blood glucose levels 20 days after they stopped taking it.
4. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Dark green leafy vegetables are very low in calories and carbohydrates and contain a good amount of vitamin C, insoluble fiber, magnesium and lots of calcium. All these nutrients are helpful for diabetics as they have virtually no impact on your blood sugar level.
Studies show that leafy veggies lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes. To prevent or help manage diabetes, be sure to eat two servings of dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, chard, collard greens, mustard greens and other leafy greens daily.
These little diabetes-busters are bursting with healthy fats, vitamins, and lots of minerals. If you’re prediabetic, or want to avoid Type 2, eating nuts will cut down your risk. If you already have diabetes, nuts help you manage your blood sugar and weight.
Almonds are particularly beneficial because they’re high in protein and antioxidants, and have a low glycemic index (GI). According to a study published in Metabolism, eating almonds with a meal reduces the GI load of the entire meal!
Nuts contain monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which reverse insulin resistance. And remember the diabetes-heart disease connection? Nuts are another weapon in your heart-healthy arsenal, as studies show that daily consumption of nuts cuts the risk of heart attack by 35%.
In another study, women who ate peanut butter more than five times a week were 20% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. BONUS: None of the women who ate nuts had any significant change in their weight. In fact, those who ate the most nuts tended to weigh a little less!
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that those who ate almonds as part of a low-calorie diet for 6 months reduced their need for diabetes medication.
Try a small handful of unsalted nuts as a midday snack. Just be conservative. Author Tim Ferris in his new book, The Four-Hour Body, describes nuts as a “domino food” because eating a few easily leads to munching a bunch of these high-calories treats.
Read more: chlorella and diabetes
Another option: Spread almond or peanut butter on raw celery sticks or apple slices for a hunger-quashing snack.
The absolute best way to eat nuts is after they have been soaked over night to release their enzyme inhibitors. All you do is take a hand full of nuts and place them in a bowl of water, leave them to sit over night and in the morning discard the water and the nuts are ready to eat.