The Dietary Way to Avoid, or Reverse, Type 2 Diabetes

July 27, 2011

It is estimated that by 2050 as much of thirty percent of the American population could suffer with diabetes and usually where they lead we in the UK do tend to follow. As new studies show that diabetics also have nearly double the risk of cancer compared to the rest of the population it seems only sensible to be proactive and diet is the first and simplest step on that road.

All of the following have been shown to help prevent diabetes so stock up your larder and add them to your regular shopping list:

• It may seem odd that a sweet substance is on the list, but maple syrup can protect against both diabetes and cancer and contains a newly identified substance called Quebecol, formed when the sap is boiled, and is full of antioxidants.

• Ayurvedic medicine has long suggested the use of spices that offer some protection against diabetes: turmeric, curcumin and fenugreek. All are found in Indian cooking so makek a weekly date with your favourite restaurant or take away.

• The link between obesity and diabetes has been challenged by a recent study involving the Yup’ik people of Alaska where 70% are classified as obese, but only 3.3% of them have diabetes. The key may be in consuming indicates that consuming the type of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as mackerel, salmon, lake trout, herring, tuna and salmon.

• A 2006 Italian study found that dark chocolate reduces the risk of insulin resistance, but the best comes from raw, unprocessed cocoa without any refined sugars added so minimal processing and maximum cocoa content is the key here with cocoa powder and baking chocolate containing the highest levels of the protective flavonoids.

• Coffee, in moderation, increases blood levels of testosterone and oestrogen. These hormones have long been thought to play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.

• Polyphenols, the natural chemicals found in red grape skin and red wine, help the body regulate glucose levels, preventing potentially dangerous plunges and surges in blood sugar levels – same advice as for chocolate – in moderation!

• Phytochemicals – naturally occurring antioxidants – found in blueberries, cranberries and strawberries can also reduce your risk of diabetes, with the added benefit of helping you lose belly fat, according to a 2009 University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study.

• Cherries are abundant in natural chemicals called anthocyanins, which increased insulin production in animal pancreatic cells by 50% in laboratory trials. Other sources include strawberries, red grapes and blueberries.

• Red and black beans can help regulate blood glucose and insulin levels so can help prevent diabetes, or minimize its effects if you are already diagnosed.

• Coconut oil has smaller, easily absorbed medium chain molecules that supply the cells with essential fatty acids without glucose and without inhibiting insulin production.

• Almonds and walnuts prevent diabetes by regulating blood glucose, particularly if eaten before a meal as that can help regulate blood sugar levels, and regular consumption did improve insulin levels in a 2009 study.

• Buckwheat helps control blood sugar levels and in an animal trial t heir glucose levels went down by twelve to nineteen percent. Easier to find as Japanese soba noodles in the supermarket.

• Cinnamon provides antioxidants and the powdered bark is also effective against diabetes. It improves blood sugar regulation by significantly increasing your glucose metabolism and has insulin-like effects in the body. Proanthocyanidin, a bioflavonoid found in cinnamon, changes the insulin-signalling activity of your fat cells.

• Tea: Green tea lowers blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics and reduces associated complications such as cataracts and cardiovascular disease Black tea contains polysaccharides, a type of carbohydrate that includes starch and cellulose, that may benefit people with diabetes by slowing glucose absorption. A Scottish study found that natural chemicals found in black tea may protect against diabetes by mimicking the effects of insulin in the body.

• Seaweed, in the form wakame, helps promote fat-burning protein and promotes the synthesis in the liver of DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), a fatty acid also found in fish oil. It is also said to help prevent prostate cancer, support thyroid function, and assist in blocking the growth of breast cancer tumours.

Some of these changes are easy, others may be harder, but if you vary your diet and expand your culinary horizons you will definitely reap the benefit. Eating out from India to Japan and China won’t be too hard will it?


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