The short of if is that I finally had physical symptoms that drove me to the doctor’s office. I had a persistent carbuncle under one arm that got a bit scary. A few tests were done, the results a blood sugar level of over 240. I was asked by my doctor if I could make some basic lifestyle changes while a decision was made about being treated with medication. Stop smoking immediately, reduce or remove sugar from my diet, lower my consumption of highly processed carbohydrates, eat more fruits and vegetables. Sounds easy enough? Not at all, I did manage to do all, but not without major discomfort. The great thing is that my health did improve.
Thus began my quest to learn, not only more about the diabetes and its effects on health, but ways, traditional and complimentary to improve one’s health in general. I created this blog to share some of the discoveries that have led me to believe that better health is within the grasps of all.
This first post looks at plants known traditionally and otherwise to lower blood sugar and improve the absorption of sugars by the body. The list is meant as an introduction, in following posts I shall provide more information on various traditional plants, remedies and alternative treatments for a number of common ailments. you will also find a number of healthy, tasty recipes, so please check back often and don’t forget to leave your comments.
Note: the following is provided as general information. If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic please consult a health care professional before any unfamiliar treatment.
Barley ( Hordeum vulgare)
Research shows that the high content of Beta-glucan soluble fiber in barley helps to slow the absorption of glucose into the blood stream. Barley, unlike many grains which contain fiber only in the outer bran layer (wheat, rice, etc), barley contains fiber throughout the entire kernel. Making it a cereal that can be prepared in many healthy and tasty recipes, while maintaining its blood sugar reducing value. Barley contains – Fiber (soluble and insoluble), is cholesterol free, low in fat, contains the vitamins B1 (thiamine), B3 (niacin), the elements selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and copper. it is also high in antioxidents and phyto nutrients. (source:National Barley Foods Council).
Bitter melon (Momordica Charantia)
Bitter melon has a long history of use in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean as a remedy for fighting diabetes. It is a cucumber like plant with a highly textured fruit that is very bitter. The fruit is cooked in some parts of the Caribbean. Preparations include drying the fruit or leaves and steeping as a tea, liquid and powder extracts.
Cinnamon(Cinnamomum Verum/Cinnamomum Cassia)
Has been used as a spice form more than 4000 years. A great deal of research show that cinnamon lowers blood sugar. Cinnamon may have an insulin-like effect, causing glucose to be stored in the form of glycogen. Although it does not stimulate the release of insulin it helps insulin work more effectively.Usually available as an extract, but can be added to your favourite drinks and confectioneries.
Fenugreek ( Trigonella foenum-graecum)
This spice has been used for centuries inIndia and Arab countries as a treatment for diabetes.Seed were soaked in water as a food for diabetic patients. Overall, clinical studies have produced positive results relating to fenugreek as a blood sugar controlling agent. Usually taken as an extract, in pill form or can be added in small amount (it tends to be bitter) to food.
Guava (Psidium guajava)
Used in Chinese medic ine to treat diabetes for a very long time, and traditionally in Latin America and the Caribbean for the treatment of diarrhea and blood pressure.Recent studies compliment its blood controlling proprieties. Prepared as a tea, 10-12 young leaves and 1 half ripe peeled fruit boiled in 16 ounces of water for 5 minutes.
TOP 10 DIABETES SUPER FOOD
DIABETES SUPER FOOD NUMBER 1 : OAT
Oat help to keep our blood sugar level stable through the day. The best oat choice are those highest in fibre like oat bran – the rougher outer layer of the grain add more fibre. For diabetic we have to eat as much as fibre as we can to help balance our blood sugar. The fibre will slow-release the carbohydrates we eat but it also helps to decrease cholesterol. The other good point with fibre is that it make you feel full really quickly after a meal, which mean you eat less and it could help you loss weight.
DIABETES SUPER FOOD NUMBER 2 : RYE FLOUR
Rye bran has been shown in some study as decreasing glycemic load better than oat bran. It means that wholegrain rye bread could be good as a snack if combined with protein to keep you full. Pumpernickel bread (German bread) is a good choice from the supermarket but be careful some of them contains wheat which add sugar. So prefer wheat free bread.
DIABETES SUPER FOOD NUMBER 3 : BARLEY
Barley is another good grain to use and it is also cheap to by in the supermarket. You can use pearl barley as brown rice by boiling them in water. It contains lots of fibre too which means that it stay in the stomach for a longer period of time compared to foods low in fibre. It improves the satiety and lead to a feeling of fullness.
DIABETES SUPER FOOD NUMBER 4 : LINSEEDS, PUMPKIN SEEDS AND CHIA SEEDS
Chia seeds are a rich source of omega-3 fats which restore our essential fat intake back towards more omega-3 than omega-6. Some bread brands contains chia seeds which makes these bread really healthy for us. The best brand of bread for diabetic in New Zealand will be Vogel bread or also Freyas bread which has a low carb range of bread.
So as Chia seeds are expensive here you can buy pumpkin seeds or linseeds. It is really cheap to buy from any supermarket. They are high in fibre as well as omega-3 which is good against bad cholesterol too. You can eat them as is or sprinkle them on the top of appetizers.
DIABETES SUPER FOOD NUMBER 5: GO NUTS : ALMONDS & WALNUTS
Almonds and walnuts are really good substitute to wheat flour. Ground them to create your own meal and use it in any baking recipe or even on fried chicken. An almond crust bring less carb than wheat and bring good fat in your diet.
DIABETES SUPER FOOD NUMBER 6 :SPRINKLE CINNAMON
Take a spoonful of cinnamon a day really does help decrease blood cholesterol and fat level and also blood pressure. It is an inexpensive aromatic spice which contains an active ingredient, MCHP, mimics the action of the hormone insulin which removes excess sugar from the bloodstream. Studies shown that you have to eat at least 3g a day to see the benefits of cinnamon on diabete.
DIABETES SUPER FOOD NUMBER 7: BERRIES : BLUEBERRY, BLACKBERRY & RASPBERRY
The principal sugar in most berries is xylose making these fruits especially slow-releasing. The bluer the berries the better, so blackcurrant, blueberries, blackberries, are all super food for diabetics.
DIABETES SUPER FOOD NUMBER 8: LOTS OF LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES
Spinach, kale, lettuce are loaded with vitamins such as folate minerals and insoluble fibre which means they have almost no impact on your blood sugar. The fibre in leafy vegetables will slow the absorbtion of carbohydrates added by bread, potatoes etc. They are the perfect pair vegetables should always been eaten with low GI carbohydrates like wholegrain pasta, brown rice, quinoa.
DIABETES SUPER FOOD NUMBER 9: LENTILS & QUINOA
Lentils contains a good amount of starch which make you feel full quickly but also contain lots of fibre that will slow the release of carb in your bloodstream. Quinoa is a superfood for both diabetes and cholesterol. Quinoa is a wholegrain germ and contains non-animals protein. It ha a really low impact on blood sugar level. It is a perfect substitute to rice or pasta.
DIABETES SUPER FOOD NUMBER 10: THE RIGHT FRUITS : PLUMS, APPLE & PEARS
Plums are a great fruit snack together with some almonds or pumpkin seeds to add protein. Apple and pears are also the best fruits to choose with a low glycemic index. The harder and less sweet have the lowest GI.