Lowering Blood Sugar – More than 20 million Americans suffer from diabetes and the rate is growing fast.
When someone has diabetes it’s important to maintain a proper blood sugar level. It’s sometimes difficult, due to the typical western diet. Many of the foods we eat are highly processed or contain various amounts of sugar. Breakfast cereals, bread, canned soups and even some condiments, such as ketchup and mayonnaise contain high amounts of sugar.
Common Symptoms of High Blood Sugar:
- Blurry Vision
- Frequent Thirst
- Tingling in the hands and feet
Three Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar:
Diet and Nutrition
Better food choices will help you maintain a healthier lifestyle. One of the best breakfast foods is oatmeal. Steel cut oats are much better for you than the instant oats. When in doubt, check the nutrition label and look for the amount of dietary fiber. Most breakfast cereals contain less than 2% dietary fiber.
Dark green leaf vegetables also assist in lowering blood sugar. These include spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli, arugula, kale, green beans, collard greens and chicory. In addition to being high in fiber, they’re also a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
Some of the best fruits include apples, bananas, blackberries, peaches, strawberries, cantaloupe and oranges. Other less common fruits, such as mangos and pomegranates are also beneficial.
Diabetics require protein in their diet, and the American Diabetes Association recommends eating less saturated fat. This means reducing the amount of meats and whole milk dairy products, such as cheeses with a high fat content. Poultry and fish are good choices in this area. In addition, soy is often recommended, but I’ve seen conflicting studies on its benefits. Nuts are another good source of protein.
Some recommended spices include cinnamon, black pepper, ginger and garlic. Even the caffeine in tea and coffee has been reported to have a positive metabolic effect on the body.
It’s often challenging to change your diet, and many experts recommend food swaps. This is simply swapping healthy choice items, such as fresh fruit over a bowl of ice cream.
Physical activity is important to maintain good health. Walking 30 minutes a day is enough to help keep you in shape. In the beginning start out slow. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park the car at the end of the parking lot and force yourself to walk. You’re never too old to start. I got my black belt in Aikido at age 48. The goal is to work within your limitations. Three options for more sedentary folks include yoga, swimming and Tai Chi.
Many holistic approaches to lowering blood sugar include herbal supplements. Here are some of the most common:
Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) is a tropical and subtropical vegetable which has very bitter fruit. Traditional Asian medicine systems have utilized this vegetable for many years. Four bioactive compounds have been discovered in Bitter Melon, which active a protein called AMPK. This protein is responsible for assisting in glucose uptake, and regulation of fuel metabolism, which are challenges for diabetics.
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is a plant similar to wild clover that has been cultivated since 4000 BC. It is used as both a spice and an herb, frequently used in the preparation of pickles and curry powder. Several studies have indicated that fenugreek has anti-diabetic properties and help to improve metabolic symptoms in some types of diabetes.
Indian Kino (Pterocarpus marsupium) is a tree native to India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.
The heart wood of the tree has been used in the treatment of diabetes in traditional Ayurveda medicine. Studies have demonstrated that Indian Kino provides a blood sugar balancing benefit.
Gurmar (Gymnema sylvestre) is an herb native to India, and has been used for over two thousand years in traditional Indian medicine. The word Gur-mar literally means sugar destroyer in Hindi, due to its ability to lessen cravings for sweets. Gurmar has been shown to have an effect on lowering blood sugar levels when used for an extended period.
Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis), is also know as Orangeroot. It is a perennial herb, native to Canada and to the US in the northeast. Some Native American tribes used it extensively, and it’s considered a remedy for many disorders and diseases. This supplement is especially useful to diabetics because it helps in lowering blood sugar.
Panax Ginseng refers to a specific type of Ginseng, a perennial plant with fleshy aromatic forked roots that resemble small parsnips. Panix Ginseng is obtainable in two forms, white and red. Benefits include an increase in insulin secretions, direct blood sugar control, and more energy.
Herbal supplements are an important ingredient in a holistic approach to treatment, and have been used for over four millennium. Please consult your health care provider before using supplements, especially if you are pregnant or are taking any medications. Some supplements may best be taken under the direct supervision of a medical professional.