Living With Type 2
Type 2 diabetes has become a global epidemic. But did you know that it’s not just preventable but also reversible? If you have Diabetes Type 2, we have for you a bunch of helpful tips on how to bring down blood sugar.
While some of us are genetically at a risk of diabetes Type 2, it is largely a lifestyle disorder today. By changing your lifestyle, you can learn how to lower blood sugar levels naturally — without the need for medication. Most diabetes medications are nothing more than a temporary-fix. They don’t address the underlying reason behind high blood sugar, which is driven by the environment. Diet and lifestyle changes can reverse diabetes, unlike medications which only treat the symptoms.
The key: Make a positive change to the way you eat, sleep, stay active, and manage stress. So, let’s learn how to bring down blood sugar through 15 easy, natural ways.
A diet high in processed carbs adds to the sugar load in your diet. This is because all carbs get broken down into sugars upon digestion. This leads to increased blood sugar and weight gain. Avoid all carbs with a high glycemic index. We recommend a Low Carb-High Fat or LCHF diet to reverse diabetes. Ideally, only 10% of your daily caloric intake should come from carbs. The right carbs for any diabetic are fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth and millets are some whole grains that work.
Afraid how will you survive when cutting back on the belly-filling carbs? This is where the good fats step in. Healthy fats that provide Omega 3 fatty acids are your friends. Not only will they keep you full for longer, they will also improve your heart health. They form a steady, slow burning source of fuel that your body can use in place of sugars. Think ghee, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, olive oil and oily fish, for example.
Intermittent fasting is one of the best ways to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels naturally. Today science has proven that it is not just what we eat that matters. How we eat and “when” we eat it is just as significant. Intermittent fasting is a simple strategy: Eat during a 12-hour window, and fast during the remaining 12 hours. For example, eat between 8 AM to 8 PM only. This effectively mimics the eating habits of our ancestors who lead a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Eating this way follows the natural body rhythms of the human body, giving the digestive system a much-needed rest for 12 hours. It also helps our cells get more sensitized to insulin during the ‘eating window’.
Eating a large meal puts a sugar load on your already struggling body. Overeating causes further damage to diabetics. An easy way to lower blood sugar levels naturally is to eat smaller portions. Don’t worry; we are not going to ask you to starve yourself! In fact, portion control comes naturally when you choose the right grains, proteins and fats. Strive to eat in moderation. To achieve satiety, eat slowly and chew your food, so your brain has a chance to let you know when you’re full. If you wolf down your food mindlessly, you eat a lot more than you need which stresses out the body.
A diet rich in fiber slows sugar absorption. As your body digests the fiber at a slower pace, it raises your blood sugar levels gradually. A high fiber diet makes blood sugar control a lot easier for you, and also aids in digestion. Get your daily dose of fiber from foods like fruits and vegetables eaten with the skin, beans, legumes, and whole-grains like barley, quinoa and oats.
Getting enough vitamins boosts immunity and supports your body’s ability to use insulin. This can help keep your blood sugar at healthy levels. Some of the best vitamins for diabetics include Vitamin B3, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K.
Probiotics have significant effects on reduction of glucose, HbA1c, insulin levels and insulin resistance in diabetics, according to research. Probiotics encourage a healthy gut microbiome, which improves glucose metabolism. This positively benefits lipid profile, glycemic control, inflammation and blood pressure in diabetes type 2 patients.
For those living with diabetes, studies have shown that a loss of 5-10% of body weight can improve fitness levels. Weight loss also helps in reducing HbA1c levels and improves cardiovascular health. It also decreases the use of diabetes, hypertension, and lipid-lowering medications. This is particularly important if you’re carrying excess weight around the abdomen. Eating fewer carbs and healthier fats, along with portion control, will help you lose weight.
Not just a great way to lose weight, exercising regularly also improves insulin sensitivity. Studies have found that resistance training coupled with aerobic training enhances glucose disposal in type 2 diabetics. The improved insulin sensitivity is related to loss of abdominal, subcutaneous and visceral fat and to increased muscle density.
Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. A single night of inadequate sleep makes our body react in a manner similar to insulin resistance. It can lead to raised blood sugar levels. A good night’s sleep can improve glucose metabolism. It will also keep you motivated to follow through with your diet and exercise routine.
Stress, whether physical, mental or emotional, has been proven to contribute towards changes in blood sugar levels. Don’t let work stress follow you home. Similarly, don’t let a stressful relationship worsen your diabetes symptoms. One of the best ways to manage stress is to practice yoga and meditation regularly.
You don’t have to stop living life only because you’re diabetic. But you should try to limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol contains added sugars and also dehydrates the body. Drink occasionally and in moderation; no more than one drink at a time.
As a diabetic, it’s important to quit smoking. Nicotine in cigarettes encourages insulin resistance. Not only does it make blood sugar control harder, it also increases the risk of heart diseases, kidney problems and more.
Naturopath doctors highly recommend bitter melon for diabetes, thanks to its amazing effect of lowering blood glucose levels. Bitter melon extract contains chemicals that act similar to insulin. A number of studies have found that bitter melon juice, fruit and dried powder have a moderate effect on lowering blood glucose.
Essential oils can be extremely beneficial for insulin sensitivity. Some essential oils may help relieve the severity of diabetes. And some oils can assist in weight loss, which keeps blood sugar levels more stable. Try cinnamon bark essential oil, coriander seed oil, and davana essential oil.
Some herbs and spices naturally lower blood sugar levels, making them a must-add to your diabetic diet. Both ginseng and fenugreek help lower blood sugar levels. Berberine and cinnamon also have a positive effect on the glycemic control.
The increase your intake of nutrients that support your body’s ability to use insulin and can help keep your blood sugar stable. Besides vitamins, herbs and spices that are good for diabetes, we also highly recommend Magnesium Citrate, CoQ10 supplementation, D-Chiro Inositol, Chromium, ALA, Green Tea Extract and Pomegranate Extract.
Long-term effects of a lifestyle intervention on weight and cardiovascular risk factors in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus: four-year results of the Look AHEAD trial – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20876408?access_num=20876408&link_type=MED&dopt=Abstract
Vitamin Supplement Use and Diabetes Mellitus Incidence among Adults in the United States – https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/153/9/892/124636/Vitamin-Supplement-Use-and-Diabetes-Mellitus
Effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on appetite, blood glucose levels, and insulin resistance in obese patients with type 2 diabetes – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15767618
Metabolic Effects of Dietary Fiber Consumption and Prevention of Diabetes – http://jn.nutrition.org/content/138/3/439.short
Effective Exercise Modality to Reduce Insulin Resistance in Women With Type 2 Diabetes – http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/11/2977.short
A Single Night of Partial Sleep Deprivation Induces Insulin Resistance in Multiple Metabolic Pathways in Healthy Subjects – http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/jc.2009-2430
Oxidative Stress and Diabetes-Associated Complications – http://journals.aace.com/doi/abs/10.4158/EP.12.S1.60
Nicotine and Insulin Resistance: When the Smoke Clears – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3501863/
Lower hypoglycemic but higher antiatherogenic effects of bitter melon than glibenclamide in type 2 diabetic patients – https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-14-13
Probiotic supplementation prevents high-fat, overfeeding-induced insulin resistance in human subjects – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25630516