Naturally sourced foods provide considerable protection against many of the leading chronic diseases that take the lives of millions worldwide each year. Researchers are able to demonstrate the influence of food on our genes as a single unhealthy meal can negatively impact hundreds of individual genes. Processed foods packed with sugar, refined carbohydrates and hydrogenated fats lead to a continual state of inflammation throughout our body.
Metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer`s disease are all fueled by the release of dangerous chemical messengers that are the result of inflammation. Small changes in diet over a short period of time have been shown to significantly lower the risk of disease and improve quality of life.
Combination of Natural Foods Shown to Boost Health Biomarkers
The results of a study performed at Lund University in Sweden underscore the importance of healthy food combinations and reduced disease risk. The research focused on forty-four adults aged 50 to 75 who were fed a diet that included high antioxidant, low glycemic sources including oily fish, barley, soy protein, blueberries, almonds, cinnamon, vinegar and a high fiber wholegrain bread for a period of 4 weeks.
Amazing Improvements in Health After 30 Days
Blood samples taken at the end of the test period showed that diet exerted a powerful effect on all key biomarkers associated with inflammation, blood sugar and blood clotting. Oxidized LDL cholesterol was reduced by 33%, blood pressure dropped 8%, total blood lipids improved 14%, and the blood clotting marker fibrinogen dropped 26%. Systemic inflammation was greatly reduced and memory and cognitive function were improved. The study authors found the results to be exceptional, as there have been no other studies to examine the benefits of proper diet on such a broad range of health functions.
Paleo Diet May Hold Be Key to Diabetes and Heart Disease Prevention
Extensive research shows that eating a diet that was consumed during the course of human evolution is the best way to prevent and treat diabetes and heart disease. During our 2.5 million year evolution humans ate natural foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, lean meat and fish. These food sources regulate blood sugar and insulin response as they are low in fast-releasing carbohydrates.
The results of research provided by a second Lund University study demonstrate that following a Paleo inspired diet for 12 weeks caused a 26% improvement in blood sugar levels, even when compared to the popular Mediterranean style meal. The absence of any grain-based foods provides the critical health benefits of the Paleo diet.
The importance of proper diet and reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease and dementia cannot be overstated. Researchers consistently show that a diet of unprocessed foods can provide protection from disease and reverse the progression of serious illness. Take advantage of this information to dramatically improve your biomarker profile and extend your natural lifespan.
Diabetes is a tough disease that can damage the kidneys, lead to numbness in the extremities, and boost the odds of heart disease…and it ages you twice as fast.
But now it seems poorly controlled diabetes can also double the odds you’ll develop other age-related problems. These problems could be cognitive impairment, incontinence, falls, dizziness, vision problems and pain. And they can affect you as early as in your 50s!
The best way to control diabetes—and avoid getting old before your time—is by taking a natural approach.
Whether you need medication to help regulate your blood sugar levels or not, I recommend a 3-pronged approach to managing diabetes:
• watch your diet
• keep a healthy body weight
• take targeted supplements
Watch What You Eat
Junk food is bad news for everybody, but especially for those with diabetes. But there is good news. Nature has provided healthy and flavorful foods to prevent and treat diabetes.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will help satisfy the body’s nutritional needs while providing a tasty alternative to junk food. But what about carbohydrates?
You can enjoy carbs if they are complex. Simple carbohydrates like white flour and white sugar cause your blood sugar to spike. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are digested more slowly and help keep your blood sugar on a more even keel.
Also, adding more protein to your diet is another good strategy. People who don’t have a handle on their diabetes may have increased protein requirements. Lean meats, poultry, fish and egg whites are terrific sources of protein and should be included in every meal.
It’s also smart to limit sweets and consume alcohol in moderation. Plus, while it may mean changing your eating habits, try to eat smaller meals daily during the day rather than large meals. This should to help regulate your blood sugar and prevent spikes and dips.
Watch your Weight Maintaining a healthy weight improves the cells’ response to insulin. A National Institutes of Health study found a combination of diet and exercise cuts the risk of developing diabetes by 58%. Just don’t cut calories too severely and never skip meals. Your best bet is to work with a nutritionist to make sure you maintain healthy blood sugar levels while dropping the weight.
It’s also important to develop a regime of exercise that you can fit into your schedule without totally disrupting your life. Walking whenever you can is highly recommended. Try to exercise at least three times for the week. If you are not in the habit of exercising, try to develop it, it will become easier as the habit becomes engrained. Read up about PACE on the internet. Remember exercise is not to kill you but to keep you healthy and there is a lot of stuff out there, some not so reliable on how to exercise and how to get the best out of it. PACE seems to offer an enlightened approach to exercise. Ideally if you can make exercise into something you enjoy doing, that is half your battle e.g. consider taking up some type of sporting activity, bowling, walking, biking, table tennis, exercise classes at your local gym or YMCA etc. The secret is “You’ve got to move one way or the other, the more enjoyable the better”.
Just be aware that different types of exercise affect blood sugar differently. For example, aerobic exercise lowers blood sugar immediately. Weight lifting, however, may affect your blood sugar many hours later. As long as you stick to a sensible eating plan as mentioned earlier i.e. small meals spread out over the day, (but not too late in the evening) this shouldn’t become a problem.
Get Some Supplemental Help There are many herbs that can also help you control your blood sugar and boost insulin sensitivity. Here are some I’ve found to be especially effective:
Alpha Lipoic Acid - Used for nerve pain – Dosage: 600-800 mg/day – In one trial, ALA improved insulin sensitivity 27%. Other studies show a decrease in nerve pain, numbness, and burning.(3)
Bilberry – Used to protect eyes and nerves – Dosage: 80 to 120 mg twice daily – Bilberries help prevent damage to tiny blood vessels that can result in nerve pain and retinopathy (damage to the eye’s retina).
Chromium – Used for lowering blood sugar – Dosage: 200 mcg daily – This trace mineral enhances insulin and may help normalize blood sugar.
Ginseng – Used for lowering blood sugar – Dosage: 1,000-3,000 mg. Daily – Slows carbohydrate absorption, increases cells’ ability to use glucose and increases insulin secretion from the pancreas.
Gymnema Sylvestre – Used for lowering blood sugar – Dosage: 200-250 mg twice a day – Known as the “sugar destroyer,” this herb boosts the enzymes that help cells use glucose while reducing cravings for sweets.
Magnesium – Used for lowering blood sugar – Dosage: 250-350 mg daily – Enhances insulin secretion and helps insulin transfer glucose into cells. Without sufficient magnesium, glucose and insulin build up in the blood, causing various types of tissue damage.
Adopting this 3-pronged approach not only helps regulate your blood sugar levels on a daily basis, it just might help prevent growing old before your time.
A humble everyday food is amazingly good at helping to control diabetes and prevent the complications of this deadly disease—yet many diabetes patients ban it from their diets.
I’m talking about legumes—beans, chickpeas, lentils—which truly are close to magical when it comes to their health effects, particularly for folks with type 2 diabetes.
So if you’re among the crowd that I call the “bean holdouts,” I’m hoping to convince you to give beans and other legumes a place of honor in your daily diet.
Your life could depend on it! Here’s why…
BEANS AND YOUR BLOOD SUGAR
For diabetes patients, keeping blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible is crucial…but controlling those fluctuating levels can be a real challenge. Many patients take antihyperglycemic drugs for this purpose, yet diet remains a major factor in diabetes management.
A lot of people with diabetes focus on high-fiber foods such as whole grains to help avoid problems like heart disease. And fiber does help (though the exact mechanism is unknown). But now a new Canadian study shows that beans and other legumes do the job even better.
The secret behind legumes’ awesome power lies in their low glycemic index (GI) status. The GI is a scale from 0 to 100 that ranks foods based on their immediate effects on blood glucose levels. The lower its GI, the less of a blood sugar spike a particular food causes.
BEANS BEST THE COMPETITION
The study included 12l men and women with type 2 diabetes. Participants were divided into two groups and assigned to follow one of two healthful diets that were fairly equal in total calories, fat, protein and carbohydrates consumed.
As part of their diet, the first group was told to consume about 190 grams (two half-cup servings) of beans or other legumes each day. The second group’s diet included an equal amount of whole grains, such as whole-wheat cereals and breads and brown rice. Each group also avoided the alternate food—in other words, the bean group avoided whole grains and the whole-grain group avoided beans.
After three months: The whole-grain group did benefit from their diet—but the bean-eaters benefited even more. Specifically…
Hemoglobin A1C values—indicated by a blood test that measures average blood glucose levels for the previous three-month period—dropped significantly more in the legume group than in the whole-grain group.
Using an equation that calculates risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), researchers found that the legume group’s CHD risk score fell from 10.7 to 9.6. This was largely the result of the legume eaters’ decrease in systolic blood pressure (the top number of a blood pressure reading) from 122 to 118. In contrast, in the whole-grain group, neither the CHD risk score nor blood pressure decreased significantly. Also: In the legume group, the average weight loss and waist-size reduction slightly exceeded those of the high-fiber group.
GIVE A HIGH-FIVE FOR LOW GI
When I spoke with the study’s lead author, David Jenkins, MD, PhD, DSc, he told me that his team purposely chose study participants who already had reasonably good diets. “We wanted to see how people doing well could make further improvements,” he explained.
And in fact, both the legume group and the high-fiber group did improve. On the hemoglobin A1C test, for instance, both groups got their levels down below 7.0—a benchmark that often allows patients to eventually decrease their diabetes medication.
Still, the legumes came out ahead for several reasons. Unlike whole grains, beans are a very good source of protein—and protein does not cause blood sugar to fluctuate the way carbs can. Beans also provide plentiful potassium, which may reduce blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium. But the primary factor in beans’ favor, Dr. Jenkins said, is that they are among the lowest-GI foods because their complex carbohydrates are digested slowly.
WHO SHOULD GIVE A HILL OF BEANS
Legumes are particularly good for diabetes patients, but just about everyone can benefit from better blood sugar control. Are you hesitant because you don’t care for the taste or texture? There are many types of beans and other legumes to choose from—so keep experimenting until you find some you enjoy!
It’s easy to incorporate one cup of these potent orbs into your daily diet since they are so versatile. Tasty suggestions: Add white beans to vegetable soups and meat stews…use black or kidney beans plus tofu as the basis for chili…top salads with edamame (boiled green soy beans)…serve lentils as a side dish or salad…enjoy the many varieties of hummus, made from chickpeas…or purée any type of bean to make dip, adding what tastes good to you—olive oil, pepper and/or other spices you love.
And don’t worry about gas. Despite the “musical” reputation of beans, the study participants registered few complaints in this department. However, if you are concerned about bloating or flatulence, Dr. Jenkins advised starting with just one-half cup per day and increasing gradually over several weeks to give your digestive system time to adjust