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Natural Management of Diabetes

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, there are things you can do


Foods to cut out

It is obviously essential to avoid sugar-laden and starchy foods if you are diabetic. These include all forms of refined sugar including sweets, syrups, glucose, jam, molasses, fruit sugar, ice cream, cakes, pastries, sweet biscuits, chocolates, soft drinks, condensed milk. Substitute honey and other natural sugars like palm sugar, dates - although these should be used only in moderation - they are still sugars. The natural sweetener, Stevia, is far safer than chemically engineered alternatives such as aspartame or sucralose. Refined starch and other high glycemic index foods such as white flour, white pasta, white rice, breakfast cereals, potatoes, sweet potatoes etc. should also be reduced drastically. If in doubt - read the food label!


Foods to limit

You also need to reduce intake of oils and fats, because your fat metabolism will be impaired as a diabetic. So, cut down on fried foods, butter, cream and cheese, pastries, fatty animal foods such as untrimmed meat, pates, corned beef, bacon and so on.. Of course, you must TOTALLY avoid trans fats such as hydrogenated vegetable oil - these may well have caused the problem in the first place. In general avoid or cut down to a minimum all processed foods - they tend to contain contain hidden sugar, trans fats, harmful preservatives and high levels of salt.

Keep salt consumption to a minimum - excreting excess salt puts a strain on the kidneys. Reduce caffeine intake - the general advice is to drink no more than 2 cups of tea or coffee a day. Try to replace these with green tea or herbal teas. Likewise, try to limit alcohol intake, especially on an empty stomach. Alcohol can cause low blood glucose or hypoglycemia.


Foods that are reasonably safe

Foods that can be consumed in moderation are the staples of ‘weight watchers’ - wholemeal bread and pasta, brown rice, nuts, beans and pulses, milk, low fat cheese and yoghurt, seafood and freshwater fish, coconut and other nuts, unsweetened juices, fruit, eggs and poultry. Use olive oil, palm oil, and cocoa butter for cooking.

Raw vegetables can be taken in almost any quantity, but some cooked vegetables tend to raise blood glucose more than when raw. Cooking also destroys many of the enzymes and vitamins.

Eat at least five fruits every day either as desert or as snacks or smoothes. Fruits like grapefruit, pomegranate, Indian blackberry, banana (in moderation), apples, figs, cranberries, blackberries, strawberries,kiwi fruits and citrus fruits are all highly nutritious and perfect for ‘smoothies’. Add some brewer’s yeast and sprouted alfalfa for an extra vitamin and enzyme boost.


Importance of fibre

The most important factor of all is to eat a high fiber diet which lowers the need for insulin. High fiber foods include crushed barley, oatmeal, bran cereals (watch out for added sugar!), whole grain breads, whole grains and nuts, almond meal, and most beans and pulses. Oatmeal is a particularly cheap and available source of fiber, in the form of ‘porridge’ for breakfast (a traditional Scottish repast), in home made oatmeal biscuits, or even added to savoury dishes. Insoluble fiber acts as an intestinal ‘scrubber’ by scouring the lower gastrointestinal tract and preventing putrefaction of ‘stuck’ food.

It has also been found that diabetes decreases and may even disappear in people who regularly eat a high fiber or whole food diet. In addition to dietary fiber, a high fiber diet contains more chromium, a mineral essential for insulin metabolism. Also try to eat plenty of potassium-rich foods like raw peanuts, tomatoes, melons, peas, potatoes (with skins), and wheat, but do not take potassium supplements.

Soy products such as tofu, tempeh, soymilk, soya powder, soy bean sprouts, nuggets etc are also very good for reducing neurological complications in diabetes. You can make bread out of any of the whole grains. Buttermilk and yoghurt are also very beneficial.


Helpful herbs and vegetables

1. Bitter Gourd (Karela): Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) or bitter melon juice contains plant insulin and about 50 grams (2 ounces) should be taken 2 times daily on an empty stomach. It has been found to be very effective for diabetes. Alternatively it can be cooked as any vegetable and added to a meal. Bitter melon powder can be obtained from some health food shops. Take I teaspoon daily on an empty stomach.

2. Taking half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day may help prevent the onset of diabetes and appears helpful in managing the condition. Cinnamon sticks can be infused in green tea to make a pleasant and beneficial drink.

3. Fenugreek. 30 grams of fenugreek seed can be soaked in a glass of water at night. After 12 hours grind the seeds into a paste with the soaked water and drink it on an empty stomach. Alternatively, 2 teaspoons of powdered seeds can be taken with water or milk or added to anything you cook.

4. Grapefruit. Eating up to 3 grapefruits a day has been reported as helpful. Fresh grapefruit juice would presumably have similar effects.

5. Amla or Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis). Soak 1 tablespoon in a cup of water for 12 hours, remove the seeds and mix the liquid with a cup of bitter gourd juice. Take daily for 2 months in a empty stomach.

6. Gymnema sylvestre a traditional ayurvedic herb. Take up to 4 grams of dried leaf per day.

7. Indian blackberry (Eugenia jambolana) or Jamun seed powder (Syzygium cumini) are reported as useful for controlling diabetes. Take a gram or so with a teaspoon honey for 50 days.

8. Garlic (allium sp.) Eating freshly crushed raw garlic 3-4 grams a day lowers blood sugar. You can wash it down with a glass of water. Eating parsley will reduce but not eliminate ‘garlic breath’.

9. Neem. Take a pinch of ground seed 2 times daily, or a gram or so of neem leaf daily.

10. Bael (Aegle marmelos).: The leaves of the bael tree when chewed are very useful in helping to manage diabetes. The pulp can be dried and taken in doses of 5 to 10 grams a day.

11. Turmeric. Add a pinch of pure turmeric powder to amla juice (Indian gooseberry) and drink daily on an empty stomach. The mixture seems to stimulate the pancreatic cells to produce more insulin.

12. Cumin. Add about 30 grams of wild jeerakam cumin seeds (black colored) to 1/2 liter of water and boil for several minutes (a coffee percolator is ideal). Strain and drink this infusion morning and evening.

14. Bhrahmi/bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) Grind the plant in water and drink once or twice a day

15. Salacia oblangata. Follow the link for more information.

Vitamins and minerals that help

Ideally all required vitamins and minerals should be in natural form but in practice some supplementation will be necessary.

Vitamin C: General antioxidant and immune system supporter. At least 500 mg is recommended as a supplement.

Vitamin E: This vitamin is very valuable for diabetics. A daily supplement of 200 i.u. is recommended, with breaks.

Vitamin A: Supplement with 15,000 i.u. on alternate days.

Vitamin B: Necessary, but avoid large dosages of vitamin B because this vitamin interferes with the absorption of insulin by cells.

Magnesium: Supplementation has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and levels will need artificially supplementing by 500 mg or so per day.

Chromium: Essential for proper insulin metabolism. Whole grains, seeds, mushrooms, corn oil and brewer’s yeast are the best good sources of biologically valuable chromium, but a supplement will ensure enough is ingested.

Zinc, selenium and vanadium: All are depleted by excess insulin and require supplementing. Make sure your multi-vitamin tablet contains these, plus chromium.














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