Diabetes Mellitus is a disease that can cause damage to the blood vessels, nerves and organs due to high blood sugar. Controlling blood sugar is key to avoiding long term damage and amputations.
Due to the seriousness of the condition, all efforts must be made to lower blood sugar, lower A1C and keep the hormones in the body balanced. Below are some traditional and alternative ways to help yourself avoid ketoacidosis, atherosclerosis, diabetes complications and even death.
- Eat low glycemic index foods. Glycemic index is a ranking of foods according to how high they will raise your blood sugar. On the low glycemic index are foods like sweet potatoes, meat, seafood, cruciferous vegetables. On the high end (foods you want to avoid or eat very small portions) are bread, sweets, potatoes, starchy foods.
- Get plenty of sleep. Insufficient sleep causes stress hormones to increase, which causes the body to store fat and have difficulty processing sugar appropriately. And 7-8 hours of quality sleep is important as well, if you suffer from sleep apnea, get it treated.
- Exercise regularly. Good exercise makes you breathe a little heavier and your heart pump a little faster. Your muscles will use the sugar in the blood which will decrease your blood sugar naturally.
- Increase your fiber. Fiber helps the body process many foods in the digestive tract and feeds the beneficial flora in the gut. Soluble fiber slows down the processing of carbohydrates which makes the sugar enter the blood stream more slowly. This type of fiber is found in nuts, seeds, some fruits and vegetables.
- Lose some weight. One very simple step is to stop drinking your calories (except healthy smoothies). But, cola, energy drinks, fancy coffees, and all bottles beverages have too much sugar in them to be healthy.
- Increase metabolism. Replace those unhealthy drinks with green tea which has been shown to improve health and increase metabolism. Also, cayenne pepper and ginseng are good for helping boost the metabolism.
- Drink plenty of water. It is tempting to limit water intake but this is the only way the body utilizes to dispose of certain waste products, so you need water. Usually recommended at 1/2 ounce per pound of body weight.
- Use cinnamon. Cinnamon has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity which reduces the insulin resistance. And you don’t need a lot, just 1-2 teaspoons daily.
- Make sure you are getting enough Chromium, magnesium and manganese. The best sources of Chromium are broccoli, garlic, basil, and grapes. Magnesium is found in large amounts in spinach, chard, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, and almonds which are all good on the glycemic index as well. The best sources for manganese (that are low glycemic as well) are amaranth, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, chickpeas, and buckwheat. There are others, but they are much higher on the glycemic index.
- Reduce stress. If you are very stressed you will make cortisol, one of the stress hormones that causes the body to store fat and have difficulty processing sugar appropriately. Get exercise, or do a hobby or get some “me” time, whatever you have to do to blow off stress, just do it! If you have problems with this step, we have ways to help calm the stress hormones. Just call the office.
- Take your blood sugar as often as needed to monitor and test which foods might be spiking your blood sugar. Those foods that spike your sugar about 60 – 120 minutes after eating may need to be greatly reduced in order to help balance your hormones effectively.
- Avoid grains. The latest research shows the starch in all grains are broken down into sugar very quickly and will lead to a spike in the blood sugar about 60 minutes after eating them. Is this a gluten thing? Maybe, maybe not. It does cause inflammation in the intestines which can imbalance the hormones, and lead to even more cortisol being produced in the body. But, it is unclear why that occurs. It is better to avoid grains and replace them with healthier vegetables.
- Take fish oil. Fish oil is anti-inflammatory and can help lower triglycerides and apo-proteins. And as a bonus fish oil will increase HDL cholesterol which helps clean the blood vessels of bad cholesterol.
- Stop eating a low fat diet. If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, fat is not your enemy. Healthy fats found in grass fed meat, free-roaming poultry, wild-caught fish, nuts (walnuts are best), seeds (flaxseeds, chia seeds, sunflower, etc) and avocados, eggs, coconut oil, almond oil, avocado oil, and dark chocolate will help you fight the diabetes and still feel full. Just avoid bad fats like “deep-fried anything” and grease, these should be eaten sparingly.
- Last, but not least – Get some help. There are other choices and supplements that will help you if you are overwhelmed by making all these changes. Functional Medicine can help support you while you make them, and you don’t have to jump in with both feet and stress yourself. We can help. Call the office today to schedule 407-716-6553