What Is Diabetes?
A condition in which our body cannot produce enough insulin or does not use the insulin it produced as efficiently as it should, it is called as diabetes. It is believed that diabetes is not a curable disease by many. While, some believe it can be cured by changing your diet and lifestyle. We have found natural foods that can fight off diabetes. But before that, let us learn more about diabetes.
Insulin is a hormone produced by pancreas and its main function is to let the glucose from the food we consume reach the cells by passing through the bloodstream. When the glucose reaches the cells, they produce energy for the body to function. If the insulin produced is not utilized by the body or the pancreas fail to produce insulin, the glucose levels in the blood shoot up causing diabetes.
Types Of Diabetes
There are three types of diabetes. They are:
Type 1 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces no insulin or negligible amount of insulin. Due to which, the people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin in the form of injections. This type of diabetes is more common among children and adolescents.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and amounts to about 90% of the cases. It is more common among adults. Changes in lifestyle and consuming more of natural foods can help fight this type of diabetes. Improving your diet and increased physical exercise is recommended if you suffer from type 2 diabetes. However, in the long run, you may be advised oral medication and (or) insulin to keep the blood glucose levels under control.
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and usually disappears later. It can sometimes be dangerous to both mother and the child and chances are that both mother and children are at a risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
How To Find Out If You Have Diabetes?
The answer is simple, by getting a test done. How do I know when to get a test done? When your body does not function as it should, it gives out signals in various forms. If you are diabetic, there are certain symptoms that you can notice in your body.
- Frequent urge to urinate at night
- Feel thirsty
- Feel Hungry
- Weight loss without trying
- Blurry Vision
- Tired feeling
- Have sores that heal slowly
Foods That Can Help Fight Off Diabetes?
Foods that are naturally grown are always the best. Nothing can beat natural foods in helping fight off diabetes. Here are a few food types that you need to include in your diet to fight off diabetes. It is recommended to prefer naturally grown food over canned food. Worry not!! We have shortlisted 7 foods that can fight off diabetes for you.
1. Leafy Greens Help Manage Type-2 Diabetes
Leafy green vegetables are a rich source of vitamin c, which helps in managing diabetes in people with type-2 diabetes. They not only help you manage your blood sugar but also protect your eyes from damage caused due to diabetic complications. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are the best sources of vitamin c. Make sure they are fresh and washed well before cooking them. You can have leafy greens as much as you want without the fear of a spike in your blood sugar levels.
2. Non-Starchy Vegetables Have Essential Vitamin And Fiber
The best source of fiber and essential vitamins and minerals are non-starchy vegetables. Choose fresh vegetables as they do not contain a trace of salt or preservatives like the canned ones. These vegetables can be the source of required amount of fiber in your body. These vegetables are not only healthy but also fill up your stomach and do not make you feel hungry. Hence helps you avoid eating processed or junk food. Cabbage, cucumber, broccoli, avocado, tomatoes, onions, cauliflower and zucchini are some of the many non-starchy foods you can choose from.
3. Strawberries Have Antioxidant Properties
Strawberries contain polyphenols, which are plant compounds with antioxidant properties. Antioxidants known as anthocyanins, that give them red color are present in abundance in strawberries. Polyphenols are known to increase insulin sensitivity among obese people who do not have diabetes. Since low insulin sensitivity causes a spike in blood sugar levels, consuming polyphenols is very important if you are pre-diabetic or diabetic.
4. Fatty Fish Helps Regulate Blood Sugar
Fatty fish contains DHA and EPA, which in turn protects the cells that line our blood vessels and change the way artery’s function. Presence of DHA and EPA in fish also helps reduce heart attacks and strokes. People who have diabetes are at an increased risk of getting a heart attack or a stroke. Consumption of fatty fish is very important for people with diabetes. They also contain omega 3 fatty acids which have similar benefits.
5. Lingzhi Mushrooms Reduce Glucose Output By The Liver
Lingzhi mushrooms can be a game-changer in treatment of diabetes. A lot of research is underway to prove the benefits of Lingzi mushrooms. Though there is no solid evidence yet, it is believed that Lingzi mushrooms can reduce the amount of sugar in the blood by increasing insulin hormone levels which in turn decrease the sugar level. Another study conducted on laboratory mice showed that Lingzi mushrooms not only reduce glucose levels in the blood but also use it as an energy source for cells instead of storing them in the liver as it normally happens.
6. Turmeric Is A Powerful Tool To Control Diabetes
Spices play an important role when it comes to fighting diabetes. Turmeric needs to be incorporated in your daily diet to reap its benefits. Turmeric is also a natural anti-oxidant and also has anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps lower blood sugar levels and lowers the risk of heart diseases. Apart from diabetes and heart diseases, turmeric is helpful in curing other diseases as well. Either mix turmeric with black pepper while cooking your food or just add a pinch of it to lukewarm milk and drink before going to bed.
7. Dark Chocolates Help Reduce Insulin Resistance
A small piece of dark chocolate contains components that are good for you. These components are antioxidants and are called flavonoids. These antioxidants make the use of insulin more efficient to control blood sugar and decreases insulin resistance which is common in people with type-2 diabetes. For instance, in a randomized trial, it was found that participants who ate about one ounce of dark chocolate each day for 8 weeks showed better results when tested for fasting blood sugar and A1c levels, while those who ate white chocolate did not.
How Can I Keep My Blood Sugar Levels Under Control?
It is essential to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Maintaining a healthy diet is not just eating right type of food, but also eating right portions at the right time and frequency.
People suffering with diabetes should maintain the right portion size per meal and each meal should consist of right amount of carbohydrate, protein and fat. Your daily food intake should me equally divided among 3 major meals throughout the day i.e., breakfast, lunch and dinner. Between the 3 meals, it is important to have 3 healthy snacks to satisfy your hunger. The portion size of the snacks should not be equal to that of your meal size.
What Foods To Avoid If You Have Diabetes?
While the above-mentioned foods are a must-have for people suffering with diabetes, there are some types of food that are to be avoided. Food like carbonated and sugar-sweetened drinks, foods that contain trans-fat, deep-fried foods, processed foods and packaged food snacks among others. Consumption of these type of foods not only spike the blood sugar levels but also causes weight gain and other diseases.